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Finke Desert Race Pilot Charged

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Old 15th Apr 2018, 05:24
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Finke Desert Race Pilot Charged

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A 49-year-old helicopter pilot has avoided jail time after pleading guilty to operating a plane recklessly and endangering life at the Finke Desert Race, near Alice Springs, in 2015.

At the end of March, Lyndon Curr pleaded guilty to recklessly flying a helicopter over spectators and cars near Engoordina, putting onlookers, drivers and his passengers including two children at risk.

In his sentencing, Justice Trevor Riley said video footage from inside the helicopter and some taken by spectators on the ground showed just how dangerous Curr's behaviour was.

"The video footage graphically demonstrated how dangerous your conduct was," he said.
"Whilst it is fortunate that nothing happened that resulted in injury to any person, the manner of operation of the helicopter clearly created a situation which endangered the life of you as the pilot and other people."

Curr was hired by a competitor in the race to follow his vehicle and, Justice Riley said, "to act as an emergency response vehicle in the event of an accident".

Justice Riley said witnesses who were along the race track gave evidence that at one point the helicopter was so close they could see into the cabin.

"You came so close to those men that one of them voluntarily leant backwards, concerned about being struck," Justice Riley said.
"Footage showed that the helicopter was sufficiently close that there was a line of sight in one window of the helicopter and out another."

Justice Riley said Curr had his helicopter licence suspended for three months by the regulatory authority over the incident, and had been "out of the air" for nine months.

Curr pleaded guilty to the charge in the Alice Springs Supreme Court, but disputed some of the alleged facts, all of which were resolved in favour of the Crown.

Justice Riley said while he accepted the guilty plea, he was "concerned" that Curr continued to seek to minimise the seriousness of his conduct.

"I do not consider that you have a full appreciation of just how serious your conduct was. I do not think you have fully accepted responsibility," he said.

"However, I also do not think that you will offend in this way again."

Justice Riley sentenced Curr to six months in jail, to be suspended immediately upon him agreeing to enter a 12-month good behaviour bond.
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Old 15th Apr 2018, 12:23
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Question Double Standards

00:05: I guess this guy also has to go to jail https://www.shutterstock.com/video/c...illage-in.html

Source: random stock video
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Old 15th Apr 2018, 14:46
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Originally Posted by Hot and Hi View Post
00:05: I guess this guy also has to go to jail https://www.shutterstock.com/video/c...illage-in.html

Source: random stock video
Cars are supposed to be on the road. Helicopters, not so much.
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Old 15th Apr 2018, 15:46
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reminds me of an episode of the a team.
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Old 15th Apr 2018, 16:34
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That car driver should certainly go to jail, for driving on the wrong side of the road for starters.
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Old 15th Apr 2018, 17:15
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Originally Posted by helonorth View Post
Cars are supposed to be on the road. Helicopters, not so much.
Yes, this is the accepted convention. This could explain why the layman, faced with this unconventional situation, "voluntarily leant backwards" as if at risk of "being struck". The layman may be excused.

The learnt judge on the other hand could have chosen a more objective approach in assessing the actual risk. If enlightened by expert witnesses, the honourable judge could have (although confirming that despite the speed - or rather because of the speed of the helicopter - there almost being no risk, at least much less risk than in any conventionally accepted close encounter between cars and pedestrians), the judge could have focussed on the question whether the aircraft's trajectory was actually necessary in the context of the stated mission (it was not).

Coming back to the (generally accepted) risk of road carnage: With no way to go (because road bound) a small problem like a burst tyre or a broken axle can take out the pedestrian shown in the video. Or an oncoming car (I hear closing speeds of over 200 km/h with separation of sometimes as little as 2 m are common on public roads - that's normally only the stuff of the Thunderbirds aerobatics team) could have lost control, for example while avoiding a tractor pulling onto the road from a 'blind' driveway. And these things do happen, all the time.

Proof of this is not only the very high number of road accident victims in all countries, but more so the high ratio of 'innocent' pedestrians to victims who are passengers/drivers. In some countries that ratio is >30%.

This - despite the increasing number of low flying videos being posted on this and other pilot forums - is unheard of in aviation. I would be surprised if the ratio of 'innocent' people on the ground to crash victims inside the aircraft is even as high a 1%. In aviation we pride ourselves of rather risking the life of all people onboard by putting the aircraft in the drink than risking a single 'innocent' life on the ground by attempting an auto to land (the "they didn't sign up for it" moral dilemma).

Maybe the learnt judge should use the new moral high ground established in her landmark judgment to petition a law that requires cars to maintain a minimum of 500 ft lateral separation to any other car, pedestrian or building, other than for purpose of entering or exiting your own driveway. I guess that would make a real difference to road kills.
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Old 15th Apr 2018, 17:27
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Originally Posted by Hot and Hi View Post
Yes, this is the accepted convention. This could explain why the layman, faced with this unconventional situation, "voluntarily leant backwards" as if at risk of "being struck". The layman may be excused.

The learnt judge on the other hand could have chosen a more objective approach in assessing the actual risk. If enlightened by expert witnesses, the honourable judge could have (although confirming that despite the speed - or rather because of the speed of the helicopter - there almost being no risk, at least much less risk than in any conventionally accepted close encounter between cars and pedestrians), the judge could have focussed on the question whether the aircraft's trajectory was actually necessary in the context of the stated mission (it was not).

Coming back to the (generally accepted) risk of road carnage: With no way to go (because road bound) a small problem like a burst tyre or a broken axle can take out the pedestrian shown in the video. Or an oncoming car (I hear closing speeds of over 200 km/h with separation of sometimes as little as 2 m are common on public roads - that's normally only the stuff of the Thunderbirds aerobatics team) could have lost control, for example while avoiding a tractor pulling onto the road from a 'blind' driveway. And these things do happen, all the time.

Proof of this is not only the very high number of road accident victims in all countries, but more so the high ratio of 'innocent' pedestrians to victims who are passengers/drivers. In some countries that ratio is >30%.

This - despite the increasing number of low flying videos being posted on this and other pilot forums - is unheard of in aviation. I would be surprised if the ratio of 'innocent' people on the ground to crash victims inside the aircraft is even as high a 1%. In aviation we pride ourselves of rather risking the life of all people onboard by putting the aircraft in the drink than risking a single 'innocent' life on the ground by attempting an auto to land (the "they didn't sign up for it" moral dilemma).

Maybe the learnt judge should use the new moral high ground established in her landmark judgment to petition a law that requires cars to maintain a minimum of 500 ft lateral separation to any other car, pedestrian or building, other than for purpose of entering or exiting your own driveway. I guess that would make a real difference to road kills.
Don't over think it. Don't fly too close to the ground and you'll avoid all kinds of trouble. And the judge is a guy.
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 13:05
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What are the low fly rules in Alice Springs?
Then we can decide what went wrong.
In the event there are NO low flying rules, one can still operate any machine recklessly - even if it is a lawn mower!
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 14:48
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Looks like a complete effing moron to me?
Should have thrown his license away. I can fully understand why spectators 'ducked' !!!
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 15:13
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one can still operate any machine recklessly - even if it is a lawn mower!
I did my bit to be safe by living on a Sailboat for years!

No mower, max speed....about eight knots....and usually not the burdened vessel.
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 21:51
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Originally Posted by Thomas coupling View Post
What are the low fly rules in Alice Springs?
Then we can decide what went wrong.
In the event there are NO low flying rules, one can still operate any machine recklessly - even if it is a lawn mower!
Are there rules in Alice Springs? I thought it was the wild west???

I think the rules out there only come into effect when there is a cop around, or when someone has a video camera!!
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 22:13
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What did he fink he was up too....
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