A flying instructor has been told he could face a jail sentence after he was convicted of lying to help a wealthy businessman get a helicopter licence a month before he crashed killing himself and his wife.
Former army captain Ian King, 53, had displayed a “gross breach of trust” by certifying Paul Spencer’s training records were correct when he applied for his licence to the Civil Aviation Authority in December 2007, Judge Tom Bayliss QC said yesterday. (Jan 9)
Mr Spencer, and his wife Linda, from Brighouse, who ran Country Baskets at East Ardsley, both died when a Westland Gazelle helicopter he was piloting crashed in the grounds of Rudding Park, Harrogate on January 26, 2008.
King, of Burns Way, Clifford, Wetherby was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court yesterday of making a false representation to the CAA on Mr Spencer’s behalf to help him get his licence quicker, after the prosecution claimed he knew his pupil had lied about completing the required training.
He confirmed his pupil’s flying hours and that he had completed all the exercises required when he knew the log book being submitted was a work of “fiction”, Martin Goudie prosecuting told the court.
Sentence was adjourned until next month for a report to be prepared on King but Judge Bayliss told him: “It is in my judgment a serious matter which involves a breach of the trust that was placed in you by the Civil Aviation Authority and shows a disregard on your part for the requirements imposed by the CAA.
“You ought to be under no illusion that in adjourning the case today for a report I am giving no indication that it is going to be dealt with by any other way than custody.”
The court was told King, who was subsequently convicted and fined in Leeds Magistrates Court for failing to produce his own log book records, was suspended as an instructor in 2009.
He also has another previous conviction in January 2006 for breaching another regulation by flying passengers in a foreign-registered helicopter without permission.