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Pilot found guilty of several offences following Manchester aircraft accident

PUBLISHED: 10:33 21 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:33 21 February 2019

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The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has welcomed the conviction of a pilot, following an aircraft crash in 2017 in which the pilot and passengers were injured.

Robert Murgatroyd, 52, of Poulton-le-Flyde, Lancashire, was convicted of several offences under the Air Navigation Order and the Civil Aviation (Insurance) Regulations following a trial at Manchester Crown Court

The Court heard that Robert Murgatroyd was the pilot of a Piper Cherokee light aircraft flying three paying passengers from Barton Aerodrome in Manchester to the Isle of Barra in Scotland on 9 September 2017.

Shortly after take-off the aeroplane crossed the M62 motorway twice before clipping trees by the motorway, descending and crashing into a field close to the motorway. The pilot suffered a broken nose; one passenger suffered a cut to his hand; one suffered suspected cracked ribs and whiplash, while another suffered a serious cut to the head and severe bruising to his ribs.

Following an investigation by the CAA and Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, the aircraft was found to be 426lbs over the maximum take-off weight of 2150lbs and Robert Murgatroyd was subsequently charged with:

- Recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft or persons in an aircraft,

- Recklessly endangering the safety of persons or property,

- Conducting a public transport flight without an Air Operator Certificate,

- Acting as a pilot without holding an appropriate licence,

- Flying outside the flight manual limitations,

- Flying without insurance,

- Flying without the aircraft flight manual,

He was convicted of all seven charges and will be sentenced on 15 March.

Speaking after the trial, Alison Slater, Head of the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Investigation and Enforcement Team, said: “This was a very serious incident that could have ended with fatalities.

“Robert Murgatroyd has been found guilty of numerous offences, which collectively display a serious disregard for the safety of his passengers and the public. We hope his convictions will deter other pilots from ignoring the law for personal profit.”

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