Pilot pleads guilty to airspace infringements

A pilot has been fined after pleading guilty to entering controlled airspace over Stansted and Luton airports on 30 September 2012.

Henry Marriott, 25, of Farnham also admitted to flying as a commander without an appropriate licence. He had failed to renew it when its five-year period expired on 3 October 2011.

Additionally, he asked for one offence of failing to carry secondary navigation equipment, including a transponder, to be taken into consideration.

Marriott – who was flying a Piper Super Cub - entered Stansted controlled airspace at 1320 and remained inside for eleven minutes, during which time all departing flights were halted.

The aircraft was not IFR equipped and had no GPS or transponder – the latter of which is required in controlled airspace. No radio communication was made between Marriott and air traffic control, and they did not know the height at which he was flying.

Marriott’s Cub then drifted into Luton’s airspace, as a result of which three inbound commercial flights had to be alerted about an unknown aircraft in the airspace.

Marriott, who represented himself in court, said that he was returning from visiting a friend in Suffolk on the same route he had used to get there.

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He told the court that the wind was strong and, although he was a confident navigator, he became lost. He also said that he recognised Stansted, but then misjudged the distance and did not make radio contact because he was concentrating on his flying and navigation.

Chelmsford Magistrates Court fined Marriott £3,400 and ordered him to pay an additional £712 in legal costs.