Pacific Blue pilot case back in court
Mon, 03 Sep 2012 5:42a.m.
The case of a Pacific Blue pilot charged with carelessly operating a Boeing 737 at Queenstown is back in court on Monday for closing submissions.
The 54-year-old Auckland pilot, who has name suppression, is accused of departing from Queenstown Airport on June 22, 2010 in conditions of near darkness, high winds and a low cloud ceiling on a Sydney-bound flight.
In a four-week hearing in the Queenstown District Court that adjourned in July, experts debated whether the captain was careless or correct in taking off 11 minutes past the airline's evening civil twilight cut-off time of 5.14pm. The departure was before the official twilight time of 5.36pm.
The pilot, who has 33 years' flying experience, told the court he had no regrets at the time, but would not have left the runway if he knew he would be sitting in court two years later.
At the end of Monday's court proceedings when both prosecution and defence submit their closing statements, the case will be adjourned before the judge makes a decision on whether the pilot fell below the standard of care expected.
If the Civil Aviation Authority is successful in its prosecution, the pilot faces a $7000 fine and disqualification as a commercial pilot, the Otago Daily Times reported.
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