A flight instructor denied that a wealthy businessman had not completed his full training before he certified his application for a helicopter pilot’s licence only weeks before he crashed to his death.
Ian King told a jury at Leeds Crown Court yesterday that Paul Spencer had done all the required exercises and flying hours.
He said on December 5, 2007 when he certified Mr Spencer’s log book the businessman had entered the correct duration of flights but the columns for arrival and departure times were left blank “when he left me”.
They did not have to be filled in and he said he told Mr Spencer he could do that himself later if he wanted and it appeared Mr Spencer had filled incorrect timings but the flights had happened.
King, 53, of Burns Way, Clifford, Wetherby, denies making a false representation to the Civil Aviation Authority.
He said he used his own handwritten notes on the training flights for Mr Spencer to fill in the details of which exercises were completed during each flight.
He accepted in evidence that three exercises had not been recorded as having been completed but said they had been done. “It was just an error,” he said.
Martin Goudie prosecuting suggested in cross-examination to miss out one or two exercises was an error to miss three was carelessness.
“I don’t dispute that,” said King.
“This wasn’t Mr Spencer’s error this was your error,” asked Mr Goudie.
“Most definitely, I was telling him what to write down at the time,” said the defendant.
Mr Goudie suggested the exercises were left out because they never took place. “I think they did,” said King.
He said there was no way Mr Spencer could have passed his skills test without having done all the required exercises.
“He was diligent in everything he did in flying. He was just a pure delight to fly with and teach.”
He had taught him from August 2007, those hours could not count towards the hours needed for his licence but it meant by November when he began official training they did not need to go through the full exercise briefings again which shortened the time needed.
Asked about his handwritten notes on the training flights, King told the jury unfortunately he had not seen them since that night.
Months after the crash in Rudland Park, Harrogate in January 2008 in which Mr Spencer and his wife Linda were killed, he was asked to provide details of the training and could not find the notes.
The trial continues.