Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Zealand: Pilot's medicals not kept up to date

A Nelson pilot who flew to a reunion in Kaikoura has admitted failing to disclose medical issues of a nature that "could have been a risk to aviation safety", the Nelson District Court has been told. 

Anthony John Mackle last week admitted charges related to him operating an aircraft without the right class of medical certificate , and failing to maintain accurate technical or pilot logs.

The charges related to several flights made in light aircraft between October and December 2010, and were brought by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Mackle, 72, fainted at a social function after flying a private passenger to Kaikoura, which triggered the investigation into him, the court heard.

The part-time upholsterer holds a private pilot's license (PPL), issued in 1979.

He owns his own Cessna 180 aircraft and operates another similar aircraft.

Lawyer for the prosecution Laura Owen said Mackle was attending a fire brigade reunion in Kaikoura when he fainted.

This was the trigger that brought his offending to light.

On November 19, 2010, he flew from Nelson to Kaikoura with a passenger to attend the reunion. Mackle collapsed at the function, and was treated by firefighters while waiting for an ambulance.

He declined to return with the ambulance staff to a medical centre for assessment.

Three days later, Mackle flew the passenger back to Nelson.

As a result of receiving information, the CAA's law enforcement unit started an investigation into Mackle's medical fitness to operate an aircraft.

It was established he had not held the required medical certificate to operate aircraft with a PPL since March 2007.

He had submitted an application for a recreational pilot's license (RPL) to the CAA in late 2010, in the hope it would be issued before his offending was detected, the prosecution summary said.

In answer to a question from Judge John Clapham about why Mackle had not kept up to date with his requirements, defence lawyer Simon Whitehead said it was "sloppiness".

He said Mackle had since taken every measure to rectify the situation.

Judge Clapham reserved his decision and adjourned the case to August 1 to seek additional information.

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