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Helicopter commander in court for allegedly breaking rules

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Helicopter commander in court for allegedly breaking rules

Old 2nd Jan 2011, 09:53
  #21 (permalink)  

Hovering AND talking
 
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and more so the non professional/commercial ones at that.
Really? You know what licence everyone here holds? Even those whose posts have been deleted subsequently?

Cheers

Whirls
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 09:56
  #22 (permalink)  
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
 
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When a person drinks and drives or exceeds the speed limit it is a deliberate act. Now we have to wait and see if this pilots actions were accidental or deliberate and not in any way influenced by safety issue that could override the standing laws.
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 13:40
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Parabellum - not so. The rule stated:

5 (1) The prohibitions to be observed are

(a) An aircraft shall comply with the low flying prohibitions set out in paragraph (2) subject to the low flying exemptions set out in paragraph (3).

Certain offences are "absolute". This means there is no "mens rea" requirement. So whether you intended to break the rule or not is not relevant and you have no defence here. As you can see, Rule 5 is such an "Absolute rule".

If you are closer than 500ft to a person, vessel, vehicle or structure in the UK (without specific authorisation from the CAA in writing, see 5(2)(b)), there is no question of whether you meant to or not. The only defences are that you are within one (or more) of the exemptions to the prohibition created by Rule 5(2)(b) contained in 5(3) (such as being in the process of take-off / landing (5(3)(a)(ii))).

If you are forced down by weather and not in the process of landing then coming within 500ft of a pylon (for example) breaks the rule in 5(2)(b). The weather conditions do not bring you within the scope of Rule 5(3) in any way that I can see. The weather conditions you may cite to the Court to take into consideration when sentencing (after your guilty plea); or CAA may decide not to prosecute on grounds of public interest but that is entirely for their discretion.

Let's see if this post gets deleted like my earlier observation
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 14:43
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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FFF,

Can you point to any evidence to support this view you have of the prevailing attitude amongst Rotorhead pilots?
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 15:30
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Helinut..read some of the posts.

Whirls..... you are taking this personally, it is not meant that way, just an observation. As they say, "if the cap fits....."
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 19:24
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Observation maybe but would you turn up at an RSPB meeting and state you enjoy shooting birds?

Most of us take pride in our licences and none of us want to lose them. We do not know for sure that he broke rule5 (the court will decide) nor do we know under what circumstances the accusation was brought about.
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 21:58
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Off topic and very tongue in cheek. I know the world has somewhat changed since aviation first started but thank goodness the Wright Brothers and all the other many aviation pioneers got a head start on the various aviation authorities, otherwise I think aviation would of died in its infancy.

I say throw the book at him daring to commit aviation without submission first to the relative authorities
List of aviation pioneers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited by poppahymen; 4th Jan 2011 at 00:52.
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Old 2nd Jan 2011, 22:58
  #28 (permalink)  

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Whirls..... you are taking this personally, it is not meant that way, just an observation. As they say, "if the cap fits....."
Hardly .... as I said, you do not know what licences people hold nor do you know in what capacity they use them.

You make a sweeping statement vis
but giving my views on a mind set that appears to be prevalent amongst fellow aviators, and more so the non professional/commercial ones at that.
without backing it up.

As far as I can tell, most people still extant as posting on this thread are professional and commercial helicopter pilots.

Cheers

Whirls
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 11:08
  #29 (permalink)  
yme
 
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I for one understand where F.F.F is coming from.
That said, there is probably a very feasible explanation for the pilots actions.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 12:15
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Escape from jail card

Perhaps the pilot in question could ask to be tried by 12 of his peers who have not broken the 500 ft rule, maybe the case would be dropped through lack of a jury.

On a serious note perhaps someone can create and post a few situations that would and would not break the 500 ft rule.

As an example if during training you carried out an approach to a landing site in a remote valley and then noticed that there was a footpath with a stile, you then broke off the approach would you have broken the 500 ft rule and would it have been legal to land - ie is the stile and footpath a structure?

regards

Richard
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 12:44
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Given that the CAA only prosecute about 25 offences of all descriptions from the entire UK aviation community per year, is it reasonable to infer you have to be pretty blatant/wilful/dangerous/extreme to attract the attention of their legal department?
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 14:52
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Lost again

You can read the rules online here http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content...3&filesize=535

Addressing your question: No, your example does not break the rule regardless of whether the style is a structure.

You are in a helicopter on approach to land. Rule 5(3)(a)(ii) applies. If you continue and land then the rule continues to apply and you have not broken the 500ft rule by landing. When you then decide to abort the landing on finding that the location is unsuitable (or that the unexpected observation fot he style means that you want to rethink the location as a suitable landing site) that does not change the application of said rule.

If you had been practicing approach - with no intention to land - things would be different. As this activity is not within the scope of 5(3)(a)(ii) (it is a practice approach, not an approach to land) and the area is not a Government or licensed aerodrome (see 5(3)(a)(i)) then if the style is a structure you are in breach of the 500 ft rule and liable to prosecution.

If your question was "what is a structure", then the first place to look is Section 1 of the Rules of the Air Regulations 2007; the definitions section. As there is no definition here one then consults the Interprettion Act 1978, Schedule 1 to see if there is a definition of "Structure" contained there Interpretation Act 1978 (c.30) - Statute Law Database (which there is not). Thereafter one considers whether for the purposes of transportation, or for wider purpose, the word "Structure" has been considered by the UK Court, or whether there is from another source an accepted legal meaning of the word. The short-cut here is to consult Burton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E Copyright 2007 by William C. Burton. The word "Structure" would then be taken to mean a "building, an establishment or an erection". As these have in common the attribution of "man made" one would therefore be able to discount natural phenomina.

Hence a tree is not a structure (it is not man-made), but a post & wire fence is a structure (a man-made erection), as is the style in your example (which is also a man-made erection).

Simples!
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 15:06
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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FFF, I found it disingenuous to compare a low flight to drunk driving.

One does not pull the license of a motorist who gets a speeding ticket.

The licence may get pulled if he is habitually cited for speeding.

See also with low flying.

Whirls made good point in re degree/severity of infraction.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 15:06
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Non PC, that would suggest to me that the CAA needs to start discharging its duties correctly and fully, and not just focussing on collecting money, but that is of course a whole new debate.

Lonewolf, read the posts. Who knows what this guy did or did not do, it is the idea that GA can self regulate safely that is in question, and this seems to be born out by some of the opinions here, that just a bit of low flying is OK....right up to the point where the tragic accident occurs. Regulations exist for the safety of the flyers and the public.

Fly safe and legal...... Simples!!

Last edited by Fly_For_Fun; 3rd Jan 2011 at 15:21.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 16:59
  #35 (permalink)  

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FFF, as previously requested, please point out the posts where folks have said what you claim. I keep reading this thread but can't understand why you are making your viewpoint so strongly here.

Are you suggesting that the CAA should invoke a "one strike and you're out" policy? If so, please explain why.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 20:14
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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There, but for the grace of God, goes any pilot - professional or otherwise. Anyone with a licence can be on the receiving end of such a prosecution.

Rather than running a kangaroo court to decide the blame and the punishment, why not use the grey cells to discuss the problems inherent in Rule 5?

Your cockpit instrumentation can be set to give you a reasonable vertical reference to the nearest (maybe) 250ft. But how do you measure 500ft FROM anything? Similarly, how do you measure 600m FROM the nearest highest object in the 1000ft rule?

What if the subject is moving? Have you seen what 500ft looks like on a quarter-mill?

Your helicopter generally wasn't designed with Rule 5 in mind. It will tell you speed, alt or height vertically, rate of ascent/descent, direction of travel etc. But it would need a certified and very special device to make any readings of distance FROM a person, vehicle, vessel or structure.

Similarly, how does the reporting witness measure with any accuracy those same distances?

It is high time the UK adopted the US rules in this respect. There they simply prosecute for endangerment - which, after all, is what Rule 5 should be about. Instead we live with a scenario that everyone, including the FOI of the CAA, hates the drafting of Rule 5, but does nothing about it.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 21:16
  #37 (permalink)  

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Similarly, how do you measure 600m FROM the nearest highest object in the 1000ft rule?
That one's a little easier. At least if pre-planned, when it can be done using a 50,000 OS map. That is what I do if deciding whether or not a permission (108, Ker-ching!) is required to land at a specific site.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 23:24
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Or go to your local park, stand next to a tree and then pace out 500ft (for a 6ft guy that's around 167 paces). Look back at the tree.

That's what 500ft looks like.

Kinda close, actually.
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Old 3rd Jan 2011, 23:51
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Fly_For_Fun
It is very interesting that the main thrust of opinion about this is that the pilot in question should under no circumstances lose the privileges of his license.
No-one has either said or implied that. We don't know what 'the pilot in question' is alleged to have done or whether he actually did it, and know nothing about his flying history.
As a general comment, IMHO it is important to distinguish between low flying and endangering. Breaching Rule 5 is not necessarily endangering, just as exceeding the speed limit is not necessarily dangerous driving.

I suppose you should not take licensing action against a driver who drinks and drives or causes death through careless or dangerous driving.
I don't understand how you get to that from "The CAA cannot and should not take licensing action in order to punish the licence holder. (Punishment is for the court to decide.)"
Perhaps the courts should have powers to remove the privileges of a licence granted by the CAA.
I have seen no evidence whatsoever, during almost four decades in the courts and dealing with numerous aviation cases, which leads me to believe there is any need for the additional power you suggest. (Nor IMHO is it desirable.) Under the existing procedure, the CAA revokes or suspends a licence/certificate if a pilot's conduct demonstrates that he/she does not meet the necessary criteria to hold it.
What a strange attitude some pilots have toward the actions of their own kind, no matter what the misdemeanour.
I agree. Some pilots are far too quick to condemn fellow pilots, often suggesting that they should lose their licences for even the most trivial misdemeanour. A very strange attitude but, sadly, not uncommon.
it is the idea that GA can self regulate safely that is in question, and this seems to be born out by some of the opinions here
GA does not self regulate. With very few exceptions, it is regulated by the CAA. (Some would say too regulated.)
Which "opinions here"? You make these sweeping comments about people's opinions and posts, but have consistently declined to point to any that support your contention.

I gained the impression from your posts in another thread that you appear to have (at best) mixed views about professional pilots who were not previously military pilots, and, as in this thread, a low opinion of private pilots. I have enormous respect for mil pilots and mil training and, when a choice was available, have always chosen to train with ex-QFIs/QHIs. That said, the mil way of flying is not always practical - or necessary - in the civilian world.

Regulations exist for the safety of the flyers and the public.
In very broad terms, that's true. Whether all are actually necessary is a matter for another debate. However, IMHO it is neither necessary nor desirable to prosecute every breach regardless of the circumstances and regardless of how minor the breach..
With respect, I wonder if the 'problem' you see is more in your mind than real? I've no doubt pilots occasionally fail to strictly comply with the regulations, and it may well be that civilian pilots don't always adhere to the regs as strictly as mil pilots do in the mil world, but the reality is that UK aviation (both commercial and private) has an excellent safety record. IMHO the existing system works well and does not need to be changed.

that would suggest to me that the CAA needs to start discharging its duties correctly and fully
There are a few areas where some would say the CAA fails in its duty (eg failing to investigate/prosecute illegal public transport, failing to fully understand and properly tackle the problem of [email protected] attacks on aircraft, particularly helicopters) but, in my experience, the CAA generally discharges its duties correctly and fully.

Non-PC Plod
is it reasonable to infer you have to be pretty blatant/wilful/dangerous/extreme to attract the attention of their legal department?
No.

JimBall
Instead we live with a scenario that everyone, including the FOI of the CAA, hates the drafting of Rule 5, but does nothing about it.
Rule 5 is drafted by the CAA - as are all the Rules of the Air, and the ANO. Rule 5 was re-drafted only a few years ago. (I agree the FAA low flying rules for helicopters are much more sensible.)

John R81
I don't doubt your research of the law gave you pleasure but it's of no practical value. To the best of my knowledge, no-one has ever been prosecuted for breaching Rule 5 by flying too close to a fence nor, for practical evidential reasons, is anyone ever likely to be.

.

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 4th Jan 2011 at 00:30.
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 09:44
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Waltham St. Lawrence is less than 2 miles from me and I know 'Vincent' well - top instructor and first class human!! I may even offer my services as a character reference on Friday

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