Pilot impersonator's appeal dismissed

By Anna Ferrick

A man who flew a plane without a pilot's licence will have to serve 300 hours' community service. Photo / Thinkstock
A man who flew a plane without a pilot's licence will have to serve 300 hours' community service. Photo / Thinkstock

A repeat pilot impersonator sentenced to 300 hours' community work for flying a plane without a license has had an appeal against his sentence dismissed.

Brian Hunter, 54, appeared in the Napier District Court last month where he pleaded guilty to one charge of operating an aircraft without the required documentation.

The court heard Hunter had expressed an interest in purchasing a plane from a seller in Mahia in September 2012 before travelling to meet him and taking the plane for a test flight.

The seller became nervous at the way Hunter was flying and the sale never went through. He eventually reported his concerns to the Civil Aviation Authority which commenced an investigation.

A statement from Civil Aviation Authority director of civil aviation Graeme Harris said Hunter's sentencing ``sounded an alarm'' to the aviation community.

"The audacity and severity of these offences is unprecedented by one individual.

Our main concern is Mr Hunter's complete disregard for the safety of others as well as himself.''

A court summary of facts said Hunter had previously appeared in court for offending under the Civil Aviation Act and the Crimes Act. In November 1998 he was convicted for operating an aircraft without appropriate and current documents, fraudulently making documents, placing others in unnecessary danger and falsely representing himself as a pilot with an instructor's rating.

In court this morning Justice Stephen Kos said he could not find the sentence of 300 hours' community work was manifestly excessive.

Justice Kos said the offending was a "disgraceful public safety offence'' that had occurred with Hunter in full knowledge of the fact he should not have been flying a plane.

He said the offending was seriously aggravated by the fact it was a repeated offence.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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