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Helicopter crash Scotland: Pilot prosecuted. VERDICT

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Helicopter crash Scotland: Pilot prosecuted. VERDICT

Old 4th Feb 2005, 20:48
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It seems the pilot did nothing wrong after all. The evidence against him, unproven. QED.
It remains for the passengers to go away and re-examine their conscience(s).

A damning result yet again for the CAA which underscores the need for their legal dept to review their practices. Time and time again it is this dept that lets the CAA down with these cases.

22 months is an eternity when your life is on hold. Perhaps he can put this down to experience and pick up where he left off.

Praise indeed to the defence team for a job well done.

PS: I just lost my bet
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Old 4th Feb 2005, 23:17
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Charge 1: Recklessly Endangering
(a) re flying low level over the North Sea: Not Guilty (Unanimous) (b) re flying low level over the disused railway line: Not Guilty (Unanimous)
(c) re colliding with the wires: Not Proven (Unanimous)
Remember however that this was under Scottish Law and we see the use of the 'bastard verdict' ''Not Proven'' for the third charge.

In other words, the prosecution did not deliver sufficient evidence that the defendant was guilty of the offence, but neither did the defence provide sufficient evidence that he was not guilty of the offence.

For the defendant, there is a traditional wideheld view that their innocence has not been proven and they are still tainted by the charge, with a section of the population inevitably thinking they were guilty but the prosecution couldn't prove it beyond reasonable doubt.

Not an ideal state of affairs for anyone, although the acquittal is welcome nonetheless for those facing the charge.
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Old 5th Feb 2005, 04:09
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ScottishTV - Scotland Today report
Pilot cleared of blame for helicopter crash

A pilot who crashed his helicopter after flying Scotland's deputy first minister round the country has been cleared of any blame for the accident. After an eight-day trial, Iain Grindley was only found guilty of failing to give his passengers a safety briefing. The court had heard allegations that he had recreated the opening sequence of the TV show Magnum PI by swooping low over the North Sea.

On the last day of campaigning before the Scottish parliament elections in 2003 bad weather was following deputy first minister Jim Wallace round the country. His pilot Iain Grindley dropped him off in Aberdeen - and then headed back to his base in East Lothian. But just a few miles from home, he clipped a powerline with his tail rotor and crash landed in a field.

Last week Mr Grindley went on trial accused of recklessly endangering the helicopter and his passengers.

Liberal Democrat press officer David Webster told the court that as they flew past Montrose, Mr Grindlay had recreated the sequence from Magnum PI. Mr Webster said were just 20 feet above the water - in court, Jim Wallace said it had "very interesting" - Mr Grindlay said they had not gone below 50 feet.

Mr Webster said the pilot had been flying low before the crash - but Mr Grindlay said he had been trying to land because of the bad weather.

The jury at Edinburgh Sheriff Court had to decide between two scenarios - the prosecution said Mr Grindlay had been a sky-larking show-off, whose reckless flying had caused the crash and endangered the lives of those on board. The defence there had been nothing wrong with his flying at all. The crash had been accident.

Mr Grindlay was cleared of all the charges but one. He was fined 500 for failing to give his passengers a safety briefing.

Iain Grindlay said: "We're obviously extremely disappointed with the outcome. We had expected to be fully acquitted from these charges, which we think are ridiculous and we will be appealling this."

Mr Grindlay intends to return to the skies next week.
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Old 5th Feb 2005, 04:51
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Pleased for the pilot.

Gracious post Thomas. Just what I'd expect from you.

I notice young Kissmysquirrel is unusually quiet, even though he's been here and made other posts since the verdict.
Ah, the young and inexperienced ....................
Still, he passed his PPL the first time.
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Old 5th Feb 2005, 08:53
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It's worth mentioning that in the Scottish courts there is no such thing as "prosecution costs" against a defendant, and Iain Grindlay could not therefore face the iniquitous situation suffered by Dennis Kenyon, who was deemed by an English court to be deserving of a conditional discharge for a relatively trivial offence, but who then faced a claim for 6,000 CAA costs.
(These were reduced to 2,500 by the court - still a ridiculous sum for a paperwork offence with no damage or safety implications.)
Had Iain Grindlay been prosecuted under identical circumstances in England, the fact that he was found guilty on what looks like a face-saving charge for the prosecution may have laid him open to a claim for costs of many tens of thousands of pounds.

Last edited by Pat Malone; 5th Feb 2005 at 11:16.
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Old 5th Feb 2005, 12:19
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KMS
Surely you can take a leg-pull without becoming rude and aggressive?
I'll leave your response unedited - if you decide on reflection some of your remarks were a little immature, you can remove them.

To be fair, although you've since withdrawn the posts, you have made comments about the pilot's suitability to hold a licence more than once on this thread. I assume what Bronx meant was you were on the forum yesterday evening (and posted on another thread) a few hours after verdicts had been posted and the title of this thread had been changed to show we now had the verdicts.

Don't be too sensitive too teasing about inexperience. When it comes to jumping to conclusions too quickly on only part of a story, even experienced people fall into the trap sometimes.
That said, there is a quite a difference between (for example) TC's "gracious" retraction and your own response in light of the acquittal on the serious offences.
You say: "I think it shows us all ........... etc"
No, although the verdicts in this case are a good illustration of the point, not everyone needed to be shown.
Only you know if you've learnt anything from it.
Only you can decide if holding a CPL(H) for two years is really long enough to be suggesting another professional pilot should lose his licence and livelihood, especially on a public forum. It's a personal decision.

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Old 5th Feb 2005, 16:00
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TC

Was, as always quite right in what he remarked with regards the pax, ....I thought I had read somewhere in the thread that these Pax guys were connected with some Political Party, well if indeed they were, then there really no chance of any higher morals comming into play, and they will stick with their story, be it untrue or not!


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Old 5th Feb 2005, 17:46
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KMS: c'mon, now, your comments are always welcome here. Stick to your guns, just dumb them down occasionally, when you've been smacked in the face with a kipper! Just like I have!

I can't put my finger on it, but I do feel there is something not quite right about this incident. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it though.

Stay with us KMS?
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Old 5th Feb 2005, 18:39
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Further to the comments made so far.

There was only one passenger on the return flight prior to contact with the wires. He sat rear left seat (row 3) Bell206L and apparently could see the pilot struggling with the controls.
The wires were strung across a valley (60ft pylons) hidden on one side by trees and against a dull background difficult to see even when you were aware of them.
NB: This point was agreed by the CAA Ops Inspector who flew the route.

The other member of crew apart from the Pilot was Iain's brother who was responsible for the loading and handling of the passengers during the trip, and had been delegated with the briefing of pax.
This point is the contention as it is still the responsibilty of the aircraft commander to ensure this has been carried out correctly. So has this given the Authority a little more leverage!.

Make sure your Ops Manuals have the operational staff and crew listed as being able to carry out briefings.
Respect!
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Old 6th Feb 2005, 06:40
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Pilots will continue to fly into wires. Fact!!
Pilots will continue to show off. Fact!!
Yes, pilots will continue to fly into wires. Wires are a major hazard and sadly wire-strikes do cause accidents sometimes fatal.
Al Gwilt (Greenarrow) an experienced Army and civvy pilot flew the route and thought the wires were difficult to spot, and he knew they were there and was looking for them.
Al says the CAA Flt Ops Inspector conceeded in the trial he found it difficult to see them when he went, and he must have some experience of flying in the real world before joining the CAA.

Eperienced pilots as Bert Sousa put it say 'There but for fortune .......'.

We don't tempt fate by being cocky about some poor sod who has a wire strike, unlike KMS with all of two years as a CPL who says "Pilots will continue to show off."

He'll learn. Just hope he doesn't learn the hard way.
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Old 6th Feb 2005, 17:13
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I do not know the pilot in question, however I have flown with Al and trust his opinion.

There will always be more than you read in the papers to a story and what they do print is normally lacking in accuracy and fact. (Never let fact get in the way of a good story).

Let us all remember this before judging others for one day we may well be the ones being judged.
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