Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
20 Dec 2011

CAA RELEASE

For further information contact:

Senior Communications Adviser, Emma Peel
Tel: 04 560 9646, or 027 272 3545
Email: emma.peel@caa.govt.nz

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Pilot sentenced – careless operation of an aircraft

A 54 year old pilot was sentenced in the Wanganui District Court today after taking off in poor weather and continuing on at low level in the wrong direction with three passengers on board.

Private pilot Roger Ralph Dickie was convicted and fined $2300, and $664.45 in court costs, after taking off from Ardmore aerodrome in February this year and flying as low as 100 to 150 feet above ground level in an area normally reserved for helicopter take offs and landings.

Mr Dickie also flew through an area reserved for aircraft flying by instruments when he elected to turn right after takeoff, instead of following the published procedures for the aerodrome, which required pilots to turn left. Mr Dickie then continued on to land at Matarangi Aerodrome, although it was closed to aircraft at the time.

Investigation by the CAA found Mr Dickie had also failed to correctly maintain his pilot logbook and aircraft technical log, and the aircraft’s daily flight records.

CAA Manager Enforcement Rob Scriven said Mr Dickie’s explanation that poor weather and bad visibility caused him to make the dangerous turn was not acceptable.

“If weather is causing you to make non-standard turns at an aerodrome, then that’s a very good reason not to have taken off in the first place.”

Mr Scriven also noted that student pilots based at Ardmore had stayed on the ground that day due to the weather conditions.

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