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Gamekeeper 'drove Land Rover' at Army helicopter

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Gamekeeper 'drove Land Rover' at Army helicopter

Old 18th Jul 2011, 20:31
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Gamekeeper 'drove Land Rover' at Army helicopter

From the BBC ;

BBC News - Gamekeeper 'drove Land Rover' at Army helicopter

Gamekeeper 'drove Land Rover' at Army helicopter

Malcolm Hughes is accused of driving his Land Rover at an Army helicopter
A gamekeeper could have killed two Army helicopter pilots when he drove his Land Rover straight at the low flying aircraft, a court has been told.
The pilot of a squirrel helicopter avoided disaster when he saw Malcolm Hughes' car driving towards him.
Lt Andrew Higgins was flying just 10ft above a field as he prepared to carry out a manoeuvre in Pewsey, Wiltshire.
Mr Hughes, 61, of Raffin Lane, Pewsey, denies acting in a manner likely to endanger aircraft. The case continues.
Lt Higgins was flying with trainee pilot Bombardier Henry Luck when he spotted Mr Hughes on 9 December 2009.
Prosecutor Justin Gau told jurors at Salisbury Crown Court: "They saw the defendant's Land Rover driving underneath the helicopter itself.
'Intentionally driven' "It remained there and then drove off a few yards and the defendant was seen gesticulating angrily and making signs that the vehicle should depart.
"It was clear and quite intentional the Land Rover had been driven at the helicopter."
Mr Gau added that had the helicopter been hit by the car "a fatal crash would have occurred".
The helicopter had taken off from Middle Wallop airbase in Hampshire on a route which was used by the Army Air Corps every three months.
Lt Higgins told the court he saw Mr Hughes' Land Rover beneath his helicopter
As the helicopter approached the field, Mr Gau said, Lt Higgins dropped to 20ft and then carried out safety checks before dropping to 5ft.
It was as the helicopter descended to 5ft that the Land Rover was driven towards them and they had to take evasive action, Mr Gau said.
Mr Hughes maintained he had not got closer than 300 metres and was only trying to get the aircraft's serial number.
"What we say he was doing was one step further than taking their details - he was telling them to get off his land."
Giving evidence, Lt Higgins said he was just about to descend to 5ft when his colleague raised the alarm.
Driver gesticulated "He suddenly said stop at about 10ft as we started to descend," the officer said.
"As soon as he said stop I looked to the direction he was looking and about half a second later I saw a Land Rover driving underneath the helicopter.
"It moved forward towards the other side of the field and stopped and the occupant gesticulated for us to depart."
But under cross-examination, Stewart Patterson, representing Hughes, suggested to Lt Higgins that he had not looked properly before descending.
He said: "If you had been keeping a proper look out before the last descent you would have seen it?"
Lt Hughes replied: "Yes, in those circumstances."



Last edited by coldair; 18th Jul 2011 at 20:43.
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Old 18th Jul 2011, 20:59
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reminiscent of a story from Yeovilton in the early days of the Sea Harrier. The tale was that a farmer on the downs somewhere around Cerne Abbas got fed up with the noise disturbing his lambing sheep and started taking potshots with a 12-bore. A passing Jungly with marines on board saw it happen, stopped off and "taught him a lesson". Never went to court, there was no need as the problem never repeated itself
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Old 18th Jul 2011, 21:03
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As it was a just Trabant, couldn't the Lt just have done a quick 360 and used the squirrel exhaust to melt it?

He was lucky it wasn't something like a L&nd Rov€r - that might have been serious...
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 07:03
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Inkpen Ridge Gliding Club some years ago and a shotgun carrying farmer fired a barrel at a Blanik being aerotowed out of the ridgetop field. Shot hit the elevator cable and left but a few strands to enable the pilot to land safely. The farmer got 2 years inside. Probably a lot more if the cable had been cut completely.

Would the gamekeeper have repeated his actions had he been in a shiny new Range Rover? Trabants need trashing don't they?

Last edited by aviate1138; 19th Jul 2011 at 07:04. Reason: typos
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 07:18
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Would be interesting if he tried it on an Apache and the ROE were a bit different.

Splash one Trabant, farmer and part of the field.

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Old 19th Jul 2011, 07:36
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Perhaps the accused was playing 'Orange Force' for the day hence the Trabant...in absence of a BMP?
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 07:37
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Early 90's - JFACTSU Hawk returned with a shot gun pellet in the leading edge tape of their Hawk after doing FAC training in the Peak District. The team on the ground had relayed that they thought someone was shooting at them.
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 09:03
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Not sure if it's an urban myth, but the best one I heard was the Police speed radar locking on to a Tornado, and the plane identifying the radar as hostile and engaging defence systems.. Wasn't there a complaint from the police, which drew a highly amusing retort from the RAF..??
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 09:15
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Another Gamekeeper who thinks Squirrels are Vermin
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 09:28
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Not sure if it's an urban myth...
snopes.com: Police Radar Prompts Missile
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 09:43
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A well known farmer living adjacent to a secret helicopter base in Shropshire was once silly enough to 'phone OC Ops to complain about night flying overflying his house.

I say "silly enough", because his rant included "... and if they don't stop I'll take my 12 bore to them!" or words to that effect.

Cue OC Ops 'phoning West Mercia's finest, who rapidly appear and relieve said farmer of weapons ...... and shred his firearms certificate.....

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Old 19th Jul 2011, 10:46
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I think that the truly silly thing is the PPRuNe habit of changing l a n d r o v e r to trabant.

Makes an absolute mockery of this story and this sort of childish behaviour ought to be stopped now. The management are quite fond of belting us posters around the ear when something is posted which displeases them. How about some reciprocity?
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 10:51
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"What we say he was doing was one step further than taking their details - he was telling them to get off his land."

So who actually owned the land? And who gave the clearance for the helo ops in that particular field?
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 10:57
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If the field is used regularly, as implied, the land owner would have given express permission to do so. These areas are notified as OOB when necessary. Then you're relying on the Duty Stude to get his briefing up-to-speed, and not be hung-over from the training session the night before.
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 11:26
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He hadn't landed. No permission required.

I was flying near Boulmer once and flew over a gameshoot that wasn't NOTAM'd (Believe me, I rechecked twice once I'd landed) and one of the shooters raised his shotgun to the ac. Once we landed for the refuel at Boulmer, which was only 5 mins away, we called the RAF Police who called Northumbria Police. After the local police had chatted with the gameshoot, the deal struck was that we wouldn't press charges if they didn't make a low-flying complaint. We had nothing to worry about on that front but we felt that the point had been made.

Last edited by MG; 19th Jul 2011 at 11:42.
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 11:28
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How to win friends and influence people indeed.

Does the military have the RIGHT to arbitrarily use ones private property as their own playing field. [no pun intended]
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 11:38
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Amazingly glad rag, although you own the land (and down to the centre of the Earth, should you be lucky enough to strike oil) you don't own the airspace above it!

While (I guess) this was meant to stop you charging Sqeezy Jet for overflight rights, as I understand it there's no minimum height. So legally (which is not necessarily sensibly), if properly authorised, and within an LFA, you can fly anywhere (ish), so long as you don't land.

That said, there is usually (and has to be for landing) an agreement between landowner and user. Which there normally is around rotary Stations, cos we couldn't function without them.

As I used to say in briefings:

1. Helicopters are not much use if they can only land at airfields.

2. MoD doesn't own much in the way of fields, cliffs and holes in woods!
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 11:53
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I sometimes wonder at the sense of those involved though. They almost seem to be asking for trouble.
Its not unusual to see Wokkas at lowish level over the east edge of Morecambe Bay - sometimes overflying the wildlife reserves (e.g. Leighton Moss) and they have a heck of an effect on the birds there. Its only a matter of time before someone gets a pinkfoot goose or other large bird through the cockpit
Its only the helicopters that cause the problem though - not even the Lancaster + two Spits in formation raise a scream from the birdlife.
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 12:08
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Thanks for the clarification teeter.
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Old 19th Jul 2011, 12:22
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I disagree with 'asking for trouble'. We all know where helos have to operate to stay safe and we all appreciate where they need to practise this. A Low flying chart is splurged in all manner of red markings - including nature reserves - that every helo operator knows he has to stay away from and by what margin. That's before a single notam has been checked and plotted, or a local area avoid as notified by those that live in heavily used areas, who are happy to have them there as long ad they stay away from certain places. When this process is all complete, what they have left to 'play' in is not a great deal of airspace. My experience of low flying in helicopters is that nearly all the people I've flown over are very happy to see us, unless a frantic wave of the hand is now a rather more rude gesture than I think ! Of course, understandably, it's not for everyone - some lodge a complaint (correct), some raise a shotgun or charge with a land rover (incorrect).
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