Helicopter pilot admits aviation breaches

Court House-general 3A Canterbury helicopter pilot has admitted three breaches of the Civil Aviation Act and faces sentencing in the Christchurch District Court in April.

Frederick Walter George, 64, who lives near Christchurch, admitted charges of flying a Robinson R44 helicopter when he did not hold a current medical certificate, failing to keep an accurate technical log book, and flying without having a biennial flight review.

Judge Paul Kellar remanded him for sentencing on April 2, and asked for pre-sentence report.

Prosecutor Heather McKenzie said George had held both New Zealand and American private pilot licences. When he applied for a medical certificate, he disclosed that he was on medication for depression.

The Civil Aviation Authority did not issue the certificate immediately, but gave him the names of two psychiatrists he could attend and asked for his medical records.

George consulted a different psychiatrist and the psychiatrist sent his report to the CAA. There was further correspondence about the medical records.

The New Zealand medical certificate has not been issued to George since his certificate lapsed in 2008. His American medical certificate expired in 2013.

However, the CAA says he has flown the helicopter six times in 2013 and 2014 since his certificates expired. Examination of his logbook showed he had failed to maintain an accurate technical logbook for the aircraft. He had not recorded a number of flights.

The CAA said the two flights in February and March 2014 had taken place when he had not completed a Biennial Flight Review.

When interviewed by the CAA, George said he was embarrassed by the mix-up and he had simply forgotten that he did not have a current medical certificate or biennial flight review.

Defence counsel Bridget Murphy said there was no issue with George attempting to cover up or withhold information from the CAA.

Judge Kellar said it seemed a fine was the likely penalty.


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