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-   -   Cardiff City Footballer Feared Missing after aircraft disappeared near Channel Island (https://www.pprune.org/accidents-close-calls/617514-cardiff-city-footballer-feared-missing-after-aircraft-disappeared-near-channel-island.html)

TRUTHSEEKER1 27th Jan 2019 01:11


Originally Posted by HarryMann (Post 10372011)
Could it be that D. Henderson flew the Saturday outbound client run and arranged (for whatever reason and at short notice) for D. Ibbotson to collect from Nantes Monday.

Hence the 'assurance ' text....

4.23pm -McKay: "He said that it is the same company."

David Ibbotson posted to his facebook page @ 1447hrs on Saturday 19th that he was at Nantes Airport so taking that the rumour is N264DB got airborne @ 1215hrs and he posted at 1447hrs means he covered an 'as the crow fly's distance' of 260nm in under 1hr 32mins ( assuming Facebook takes time of place of posting as timestamp? ) which is easily possible if the Malibu averaged 170kts as a groundspeed.

His facebook entry would imply he flew N264DB from Cardiff to Nantes direct but perhaps he dropped into Guernsey on the inbound flight to collect either DH or some documents as there are references to N264DB being flightplanned to Guernsey initially?

Everything points to David Ibbotson being the PIC for the departure from Cardiff & as the PIC for the departure from Nantes.
Where Dave Henderson fits into this all is a conundrum, it seems he is the organiser of both the chosen aircraft and chosen pilot, Willie McKay has admitted that he contracted Dave Henderson to sort out the logistics, the bit that seems sketchy is whether Dave Henderson was actually in Nantes in person or maybe some of his documents were there?

This looks like something that will be a long drawn out investigation where there are now so many names in the frame that the truth may never come to light.

The worrying bit is that Dave Henderson has now gone into hiding, Willie McKay has changed his story a few times ( if journo's are to be believed ) and so many things point to the Malibu possibly being loosely connected to the McKay's in some way.

All conjecture until the full facts come to light.

Cows getting bigger 27th Jan 2019 04:11

This isn't about wingly, cost sharing etc. For sure, there are people who use the cost sharing 'rules' such that Joe Public pays for all direct costs less £0.01; the pilot getting paid in hours for his logbook. Whilst Wingly etc may be entirely legal, one must question the ethics and the original intent of the legislation which presents far too many loopholes.

Those of us who have been kicking around for a while are completely aware of the cash-for-flights sub-culture, especially in the sporting venue/celebrity environment. The fact that this aircraft was an N reg, flown by a pilot whose qualifications are being questioned (no facts yet, just rumour) just adds a bit of spice to the discussion. In the helicopter world, the CAA tends to keep a very close eye on aircraft arriving at events such as Ascot, Cheltenham etc; they have not done so in the less well known and prevalent fixed wing environment.

For clarity, I don't know whether this particular flight was a cash-filled brown envelop transaction but it certainly bears all the hallmarks. The ambulance chasers will be salivating.

cncpc 27th Jan 2019 04:24


Originally Posted by lilflyboy262...2 (Post 10371985)
Sorry, I missed this reply CNCPC.

I perhaps should have been a little more eloquent in explaining that.

When I said "plan", I was meaning that at the point where he requested descent, surely he did not think that it was a good idea to continue on across the channel at 2300' in the current conditions.


You state that its perfectly fine to cross the channel at MSA, or at minimum VFR altitudes.

I'm sorry, but no. I have flown both piston and turbine singles in some of the most inhospitable places on earth and there is no way that this flight profile fits any form of flight safety given the conditions. You cannot compare flying a C310 at 1000' in what I am assuming was day VFR in good conditions to what transpired on this flight.


As a pilot carrying passengers, whether it be private or commercial, you have a duty of care for your passengers. Part of this, is always leaving yourself an out. Especially in a single engine aircraft.

The conditions that night made that flight profile beyond acceptable, the end result of which we have tragically witnessed.

The fact that he has requested descent and not a diversion to a nearby field is suggestive that he did not appreciate the danger that he was in at that point.

Looking at the situation that night, the pilot allowed the flight to continue into a situation where he had no alternatives.

I fear that he has been placed into a situation that he is not used to, and as murphy's law would have it, it was the worst possible night for it to happen. This pilot had just enough experience, and therefore confidence in his abilities, to get himself deeply into trouble.


Purely speculation here....

But the absence of Mode S may have made him think that higher altitudes were not available to him.

Commercial pressures that he has no experience with may have made him depart into unfavourable weather.

Night IMC and being unfamiliar in icing conditions may have lead him to push further into icing before realising that he had ice building up on the aircraft.

A fairly unfamiliar aircraft flying in conditions that he has most likely not experienced recently.

A somewhat cavalier approach to flying (As noted in his Facebook post) may have led to less than adequate preparation. Particularly in regards to weather.


There is also some change of some sort happening as per the text message exchange on the day of the flight. It was important enough to warrant a phone call. The reassuring text of "It is the same company" means (to me) either an aircraft change, or a pilot change. This may indicate why there is some confusion to the name of the pilot on the flight plan.

Has anyone confirmed that the Malibu was the actual aircraft that he flew to Nantes on? He requested leaving Cardiff at 1100 and the N264DB aircraft didn't leave until 1215 and was not direct as earlier inferred.


Whether this is an illegal commercial flight, or a private flight, is completely irrelevant in the cause of the crash. That is purely up to the lawyers and the validity of insurance cover. It will most likely come out that this was a legitimate private charter. I can only hope that this has put enough of a spotlight onto this type of charter and makes some passengers think twice before getting onto one.


I think that the assumption that they are anywhere but the channel islands is far fetched to say the least. Given that the UK is one of the worlds leading military super powers, I would be highly concerned if they couldn't pick up a malibu sized aircraft crossing the English channel at 2300', let alone it managing to fly all the way to Wales.



I never said it was "perfectly fine" to be crossing the channel at MSA or VFR minimums. Flying across that much water requires careful planning and measurement of the risks. This pilot could have planned to cross at MSA. It would have been a bad decision, and illegal without at least life vests, but that's it. He could have gone at 500 feet if that worked for him. He abandoned the idea of being able to glide to shore, so he was staking his and his passenger's life on the reliability of the engine. Same thing if its night and you go Vancouver to Pemberton or up to Williams Lake in a single, IFR or VFR. Unless you can glide to a lighted airport along the way, you are in great peril if the noise stops.


Putting aside all the "yeah, buts..." that this Wingly shite raises, this was for all intents an illegal flight. This pilot would have known that. So he was already engaged in something illegal and stupid. He may have had ice problems and deice not working or some bits of it not working, the autopilot might not have been working, he may have known all of that before the flight, and for whatever reasons drive a guy like that, he gave it a lash anyways. You are right, you or I would not plan to cross in those circumstances, but it isn't out of the question that someone who makes bad decisions would.


I am certainly not riding any dipped down low and headed for Cardiff horse. I think the odds are pretty good that this problem happened soon after the last transmission. However, I wouldn't discount he went farther idea based on beliefs in the capabilities of military primary radar on the south coast of England. I don't know what there is for primary radar heads on the south coast, but it would be Trumpian to think that the Brits are worried about an air attack from France. If there are military radars, they will be lobed up for jet attack aircraft at altitude. I doubt anybody is looking at low level light aircraft in the channel. I don't think a Malibu heading at the south coast would present much of a radar cross section. Shore based ship radar might pick up a low level aircraft.

malabo 27th Jan 2019 06:39

Flight should have been a doddle. Straight line 200nm, little more than an hour, low level. Easy altitude, lots of turn around or enroute alternates. We all fly in light icing, moderate needs some equipment, heavy you donít fly in. Lots of beef about single engine -who cares, it is only a statistical consideration. Lots of Malibu and other single-engine fly night IFR all over, if the fan quits youíre a deadman. In a twin if the engine quits then you play the stats against the coincidence of the second one quitting, and there is the same probability it will quit. Over water doesnít matter, outcome wonít be good but chances are a little better in daylight. Anyway, no indication of engine problems have surfaced, so for now it is simply a platform for the ďonly twins should be allowed to flyĒ chestbeaters. Nothing on pilot qualification or experience to indicate a boy was sent out to do a manís (or womanís) job. FAA PPL is an easy FLV for an EASA licenced pilot, and the licence (UK) it is based on could be up to an ATPL. All speculation.
One thing that we take for granted in all our aircraft these days is satellite tracking, usually 2.5 minute intervals. Unlimited tracking for a year costs less than an hour of fuel a year. Is this unheard of in EASAland? Seems Stone Age to be depending on radar pings in the 21st century. Always wonder if these unsuccessful searches would have been more successful if they could focus the assets on a few square miles.

Pittsextra 27th Jan 2019 07:27

SND when you asked your CAA ops inspector what did he say in respect of cost sharing flights?

Eutychus 27th Jan 2019 07:44


Originally Posted by mryan75 (Post 10372015)
COMMON purpose - the pilot not only has to have his own reason to be making that flight (an event, visiting family/friends, sightseeing, etc.), but it has to be COMMON between the pilot and the passengers. I as the pilot can't be going for lunch at the destination airport while my passenger goes to a meeting nearby

Thinking again about a flight I've been on, how would that apply in your jurisdiction to a flight in which the pilot had their own legitimate reason for flying from A to B but stopped only to pick up a passenger at C, C being an airport that can be reasonably said to be "on the way" from A to B?

[edited to correct alphabet blunder]

Eutychus 27th Jan 2019 07:50


Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford (Post 10372153)
I would suggest that on a route from A to C, C would form a very reasonable part of that route!

True. My question still stands despite my inability to formulate it (have now edited...)

Sam Rutherford 27th Jan 2019 07:53

I think that fails the commonality of purpose. Presumably your passenger at C is not going to B for the same reason as the pilot.

If, though, they're both going to the same lunch then you're okay (at least for the C to B part).

10 DME ARC 27th Jan 2019 07:59

I have been out of the UK over 10 years and as an ATCO and PPL holder I am shocked at the extent of this 'sub' regulated charter flying! Yes I have experienced 'cost' sharing between pilots but this!! I have witnessed the flying 'N' circus the riding industry used but they always seemed to be piloted by commercial pilots, well the ones I meet!?
I am also shocked that someone who earned more per week than the average person earns in a year would be happy to be flown around by these type pilots and aircraft and you cannot say they didn't know what was happening!!!

Eutychus 27th Jan 2019 08:00

Sam Rutherford thanks, yes, that's what I thought you'd say.

Another thing that's emerging for me is the huge disparity between my outbound and return flight on the occasion in question for a "service" which was essentially presented to me (as a third party passenger with arrangements made for me) as being the same thing.

(N-reg vs G-reg, safety harness, "taxi service" vs "hitching a lift"... and that's without even knowing what the paperwork was (or wasn't).).

Which again is a (slight) similarity between my experience and that of the hapless Sala, it would seem.

ChickenHouse 27th Jan 2019 08:02


Originally Posted by Eutychus (Post 10372152)
Thinking again about a flight I've been on, how would that apply in your jurisdiction to a flight in which the pilot had their own legitimate reason for flying from A to B but stopped only to pick up a passenger at C, C being an airport that can be reasonably said to be "on the way" from A to B?

A rather theoretical question, a PB answer will always fit - How could you possibly argue against the pilot precautionary pee landing or fighting the bee in cockpit at C? I would say landing at such C mentioned is a usual SOP, even on PPL private tracks.

Eutychus 27th Jan 2019 08:10


Originally Posted by 10 DME ARC (Post 10372163)
I am also shocked that someone who earned more per week than the average person earns in a year would be happy to be flown around by these type pilots and aircraft and you cannot say they didn't know what was happening!!!

I'm not earning anything like that, but I think the whole problem here is that unsuspecting passengers don't know what is happening.

For my part I am used to my clients making appropriate travel arrangements on my behalf, often together with other participants in meetings. The point has been made many times here that Sala most probably simply trusted his agent to sweat the details, and indeed that is what agents are supposed to be there for.

As far as non-commercial aviation transportation goes, in my case I've learned everything I know about the technicalities in terms of regulations and qualifications from this one thread and a few e-mails resulting from it.

The public perception is, as was said upthread, that an airport is like a building site: one assumes one is entering a well-regulated area. While I certainly realised I would not have the same overall assurances as flying commercial, I never imagined something I perceive to be widespread practice being carried out in this kind of regulatory void.

ChickenHouse 27th Jan 2019 08:43


Originally Posted by Eutychus (Post 10372169)
I'm not earning anything like that, but I think the whole problem here is that unsuspecting passengers don't know what is happening.

Key point, these 'passengers' are often not familiar with GA. Many times I have seen friends and relatives looking at an old steam gauge cockpit from the 60ies with mouth wide open. The f***ing news industry is their world and in that world an aircraft cockpit is full of screens as on the Enterprise-E bridge. Surprisingly they take movies showing steam gauge cockpits as fiction and glascockpits for norm now.
Do we now have evidence which plane took the guy to Nantes, was is the same or another from that 'flying circle'?

LCYFlyer 27th Jan 2019 08:58

A Couple of Points


Illegal Charters

Emotional reaction usually comes before a logical reaction and a few things mentioned in this thread come under the emotional bracket.

This incident is high profile , the media reports are not waning the damage to the small plane sector brand is complete ( small plane in what the general public would call it )

The ones whom wrongly and deliberately brake the rules may get a wake up call in that either a) the CAA will be closing in OR b) the illegal charter persons' may fear a fatal accident could happen to them


Foul Play?

I am sure the pilot(s) 'feelings' in days leading up to the crash will be careful examined

January is know as the most depressing month of the year for persons' in financial hardship. source:

Financial hardship has in the past and will continue in the future to be 1 of 5 factors leading to suic..e

Dr Jekyll 27th Jan 2019 09:07


Originally Posted by lilflyboy262...2 (Post 10371985)

Whether this is an illegal commercial flight, or a private flight, is completely irrelevant in the cause of the crash. That is purely up to the lawyers and the validity of insurance cover.

Well said. Once the cause of the crash is determined then we can talk about relevant deficiencies in regulation or enforcement.

Arkroyal 27th Jan 2019 09:13


Originally Posted by mryan75 (Post 10372015)

c) COMMON purpose - the pilot not only has to have his own reason to be making that flight (an event, visiting family/friends, sightseeing, etc.), but it has to be COMMON between the pilot and the passengers. I as the pilot can't be going for lunch at the destination airport while my passenger goes to a meeting nearby.

You guys don't have any of that? I am literally flabbergasted that the EASA allows this stuff to go on. It will kill people, there is no doubt.

Looks like it just did! And hopefully the bright interrogation lamp will shine into every murky corner and regulations will be tightened up. And more importantly - enforced.

DaveReidUK 27th Jan 2019 09:15


Originally Posted by malabo (Post 10372133)
Flight should have been a doddle. Straight line 200nm, little more than an hour, low level.

I make it 264 nm - where do you get 200 from ?

Daysleeper 27th Jan 2019 09:25


Originally Posted by rog747 (Post 10372189)
Is there no radar coverage either civil or military (including any RN ships in the area) that could have picked up any of the track of this aircraft>?
Or is that being assimilated as we speak?

I am not privy to the last radio transmission times - Is there any possibility the aircraft could be much further towards CWL rather than around the Channel Islands?

You can be assured that this has been thought about by the SAR and follow up investigators and there is a reasonably well trodden protocol for checking military and civil sources, feeding that data back into drift and tide models etc. However, it would be unusual for any further information of this sort will be released until (and if) the relevant authorities chose to do so. That said it tends to be a much slower process from here than the SAR response.

It does rather make me wonder what the private search is going to do that the State hasn't or won't. They has raised 300,000 euro, which is not an inconsiderable sum of money, (enough to run the Channel Islands Air Search for a couple of years) but is chickenfeed in underwater recovery terms. It says it's purpose is

through a specialized non-profit organization, is to help the family of Emiliano and pilot Dave Ibbotson continue the research
Does anyone know which "specialist non-profit" and what sort of search?

Airborne search? It's a lot of hours in a c172 , not quite as many in an S-92 with search fit. A sea search? While the UK/CI may have stopped the 'Search and Rescue' I haven't seen anything to suggest that the normal underwater search protocols won't carry on at the appropriate times and the Port of Jersey authority has the right boats, most of the right survey kit and local knowledge.

What the state won't do, without a really good reason, is underwater water recovery so maybe if it is close inshore in shallow waters then they may find a commercial dive team suitable. But if it's deep and needs a specialised DSV then I have news for them, they've funded about 2 days not including mobilisation charges.

Mach Tuck 27th Jan 2019 09:31


Originally Posted by mryan75 (Post 10372015)

Question on for my European counterparts: is cost-splitting the only reg you guys have dealing with this sort of "semi-commercial" op? In the colonies (ie the States), you have to:

a) share costs equally, to the penny. The pilot can't pay a cent less than his share.

b) only share DIRECT operating costs of the flight: aircraft rental, fuel, oil, etc. (no hangar fees, hourly kick-in for the engine overhaul, etc.)

and here is the bigly one:

c) COMMON purpose - the pilot not only has to have his own reason to be making that flight (an event, visiting family/friends, sightseeing, etc.), but it has to be COMMON between the pilot and the passengers. I as the pilot can't be going for lunch at the destination airport while my passenger goes to a meeting nearby.

The most illuminating post so far, given the registry and licensing circumstances here.

ChickenHouse 27th Jan 2019 09:39


Originally Posted by Daysleeper (Post 10372212)
What the state won't do, without a really good reason, is underwater water recovery so maybe if it is close inshore in shallow waters then they may find a commercial dive team suitable. But if it's deep and needs a specialised DSV then I have news for them, they've funded about 2 days not including mobilisation charges.

The waters there are not deep for sounding survey and the area has also been carefully charted, due to all the crap sitting down there. After WWII they dumped all kind of stuff and later charted it to get a grip where the most dangerous stuff is. Side-scan sounding could do the search in that quite small area in a matter of days, just think of the equipment used for the MH370 search. Maybe Putin already knows from his u-boats in the channel where the wreck is?


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