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A Walt in court...

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A Walt in court...

Old 3rd Mar 2017, 19:01
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A Walt in court...

Walt in court...



Wesley Tierney, 25 of Letchworth, was given an eight month prison sentence suspended for 14 months after earlier pleading guilty to five charges – including three counts of acting as flight crew of an aircraft without holding an appropriate licence and two counts of forgery with attempt to deceive.

The court heard he was charged on three specific three flights but had flown ‘numerous occasions’ over the course of four years.

In a real life version with similarities to the hit Hollywood film Catch Me If You Can, a 2002 American biographical crime movie directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walkern and Martin Sheen – based on the life of Frank Abagnale who posed as a Pan Am pilot – all in court listened intently to the incredible story.

It was heard Tierney flew planes from three RAF bases including Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire, as well as RAF Wittering and RAF Kirton for four years without a licence or training.

In 2008 Tierney joined a volunteer gliding squadron and obtained a military flying qualification.

However in 2010 as part of frequent checks and validations he claimed to hold a civil pilots licence.

His claim was accepted and he continued to claim he held the requisite licence which allowed him to fly civil registered aircraft – meaning that ‘on multiple occasions’ between August 2012 to August 2016 he flew airplanes completely unqualified.

Among the multiple flights on a number of different aircraft types he took over the course of the four year web of deceit he took his former partner and their four and five-year-old children into the air – along with family and friends and people ‘he wished to impress’.

He had no liability insurance cover – and if there had been a crash Recorder Sandeep Kanith told him ‘there was a substantial risk of harm which cannot be quantified.’

Judge Kanith who told prosecutor Alison Slater wryly Tierney’s case was an “interesting one”, added, “this is about competency and trust. He was never trained and never tested.

“You need requisite stamina and need to have been tested thoroughly. Flying a plane is not easy. I know because I have taken flying lessons myself. Flying an aeroplane is not an easy thing to do.”

Bespectacled, slightly-built and wiry Tierney, who represented himself, arrived in court wearing an expensive grey suit three piece suit holding an umbrella with a tortoiseshell crook handle.

He spoke in a loud, confident voice addressing the judge directly, attempting to explain why he flew on multiple occasions without a licence, saying: “I let my lies escalate. I let the situation get out of control.

“I was trying to fit in with others. I was trying to be able to fit into conversations.

“The only relief I have was the relief of finally being caught and having my cycle of lies broken. It was a relief not to have to pretend in the bar or the mess anymore.

“I was a can-do, cocksure individual – that was the person I was”, adding cryptically, “my guidance in my teens was a little misguided.”

The court heard Tierney now works in a London museum taking home 1,900 a month. He added: “Stability is not having a job you can brag about to people in a bar or in the mess.

“I’ve learned my lesson. I need to be punished.”

He involuntarily shrugged his shoulders when Judge Kanith asked him what he thought of the options of ‘immediate imprisonment’ or receiving a suspended sentence, replying in a well-spoken, confident voice “either of the punishments would be suitable but I feel I have already been sufficiently punished for what I have done.

“Being selfish I would like a suspended sentence.”

In summing up Judge Kanith told the court: “It is quite clear your offending took place over a number of years. You put lives at risk including your former partner. “But what puzzles me is this: You took very young children – aged four and five – into the air, knowing full well you did not hold the requisite qualification.

“Why take the risk?

“Why take the risk with young children who put their absolute trust in you?

“You simply cannot put peoples lives at risk.”

As the judge prepared to hand down his sentence Tierney gulped and his face flushed and he wobbled slightly as the judge told him: “I would not have blinked twice to send you to prison if you had not pleaded guilty.

“To fly a plane you need requisite stamina and training – which was not tested on you. You showed no concern for the welfare of your passengers including two young children.

“Thankfully you were duly caught from doing what you were doing – and the fact you have pleaded guilty means I am going to give you a suspended sentence.”

As the sentence was handed down Tierney nodded and exhaled in relief.

Tierney was given an eight month prison sentence suspended for 14 months. He was also ordered to pay 750 in costs and must undertake 140 hours of voluntary work.
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 19:19
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Bloody Hell
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 19:41
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What sort of gliders did he fly and at which VGS?
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 19:49
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Well in a way, when training and doing your solos people are also flying without qualifications bar some of the ground school.
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 20:13
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Ok NutLoose, I'll bite. Don't agree. You don't get sent off solo until your instructor is satisfied that you are safe, and you do not take passengers until you have completed the course (military or civil) and are properly rated.
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 20:14
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>What sort of gliders did he fly and at which VGS?<

If I remember rightly he was with one of the Syerston VGSs for a while and had some sort of minor staff post with ACCGS. There were various interesting rumours about why his services were no longer required...
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 20:17
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Originally Posted by ACW599 View Post
>
If I remember rightly he was with one of the Syerston VGSs for a while and had some sort of minor staff post with ACCGS. There were various interesting rumours about why his services were no longer required...
Oh go on, do tell why no one queried his qualifications, trustworthiness or integrity.
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 20:46
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Two minds over this.

One, how on earth did he get away with it in the first place?
Secondly, he looks like a t**t in that picture. Everyone knows how you should wear a chip poke.

















Well at least he never modelled a suicide vest....
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 21:15
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Had my first cadet glider flight with this guy. Obviously it was all safe but I realise that's not the point, although I seem to recall him making a point about a Venture that he flew as well which I assume he was flying with said fake license?
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 21:19
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Hmm...a bit more than just a Walt I think.
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Old 3rd Mar 2017, 23:56
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One article shows the fake CV with 1700 PIC hours and various types as well as a Flight Instructor Sailplanes (EASA).

The only legal flying evidence I can find is within the Air Cadets (Which haven't flown much anyway for some etime). I've certainly never heard of him within the BGA. Disgraceful case tarnishing the good work of everyone else in GA and the RAFVRT.
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Old 4th Mar 2017, 06:56
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On the other hadn't...

Since he didn't crash can he now retrospectively be awarded a licence?!

BV

(In case my humour is too subtle for some on here that was a joke).
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Old 4th Mar 2017, 07:00
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While I'm thinking about it didn't the Royal Navy have an imposter who got quite far through FJ training a while back? Or was it just an urban myth?

We had a guy on my EFT ground school who went through IOT as an engineering officer candidate. When we saw him on ground school he told us he had successfully changed to pilot. It wasn't until the end of ground school when his name wasn't on the list for any of the EFT schools we all realised he had just been pulling a fast one. He had wanted to be a pilot throughout UAS but had failed the hearing tests. He was hoping the system wouldn't notice.

6 weeks of ground school and no flying at the end of it. I can think of few worse punishments.

BV
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Old 4th Mar 2017, 08:22
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between August 2012 to August 2016 he flew airplanes completely unqualified.
The reporter appears to be confused about which side of the Atlantic we are!
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Old 4th Mar 2017, 08:25
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Don't forget that average VGS instructor gets a nose-bleed if they venture more than 10nm from the ATZ. They are taught to fly impeccable circuits and then pass that onto the Cadets. But their cross-country skills, R/T, knowledge of airspace and alike is not so good. That is why their flying time counts little towards the award of a PPL, unlike baby pilots that complete Elementary Flying Training (EFT) get effectively all of their flying time counted towards an NPPL.

What a plonker.
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Old 4th Mar 2017, 08:41
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Interesting that as I prepared to retire from the RAF, with a 'Excellent' flying assessment, flying VIPs, QFI etc etc, of the right age and with a valid medical, oh and 10,000 hrs of flying in fast jets, basic trainers etc etc, I was told I would have to go to HQ Air Cadets for full assessment. OK, one cannot be too careful, but in this case they system was not careful.
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Old 4th Mar 2017, 10:25
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I liked the umbrella with a tortoiseshell crook handle, a nice touch that.
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Old 4th Mar 2017, 13:15
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Here is a picture of him in the story run in the Daily Mirror. Walting around in his BBMF Pilot t-shirt...and possibly a black flying suit underneath?

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Old 4th Mar 2017, 13:21
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In fact it gets worse in the Mirror. There is also a picture of him in a BBMF flying suit with Glider Pilots' Wings on it!!

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Old 4th Mar 2017, 13:24
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Words fail me...

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