Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pilot ignored fundamental rule, court told

A Pacific Blue pilot took away the one option that may have saved passengers' lives in the event of an engine failure, a court has been told.

The pilot, who has name suppression, is facing a charge of careless use of a Boeing 737 after he took off from Queenstown on 22 June 2010.

The flight had 70 passengers and crew on board and was bound for Sydney.

A retired Air New Zealand captain has been called as an expert witness by the prosecution.

Colin Glasgow told the Queenstown District Court on Monday that all takeoffs must factor in the worst thing happening at the worst possible time.

Mr Glasgow said the Pacific Blue captain ignored this by taking off after the airline's daylight curfew as he never could have landed back at Queenstown in darkness on one engine.

He said the pilot left himself no other options and put 70 lives at risk and compromised his position to act in an emergency.

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