Pilot's future to be decided next year

By Olivia Caldwell

The man's career as a commercial pilot includes 16,043 hours' total flying time. Photo / Thinkstock
The man's career as a commercial pilot includes 16,043 hours' total flying time. Photo / Thinkstock

A decision on the future of a Pacific Blue pilot accused of flying a Boeing 737 full of passengers in a careless manner will not be made until next year - nearly two years after the incident.

After hearing four weeks of evidence this year, Judge Kevin Phillips will take more time to view evidence and has told the Queenstown District Court a decision will not be made before the new year, although an exact date has not been released.

The 54-year-old Auckland pilot, who has been granted interim name suppression, faces charges of operating an aircraft carelessly on June 22, 2010.

The plane allegedly left Queenstown in conditions of near darkness, high winds, with a low cloud ceiling and outside a departure time limit of 5.14pm.

The pilot has had his licence suspended and been unable to fly since the incident two years and four months ago.

His career as a commercial pilot includes 16,043 hours' total flying time, 6000 hours in a Boeing 737 and 30 years' flying in and out of Queenstown.

The Civil Aviation Authority alleges the pilot exceeded the level of care required on his Pacific Blue 89 flight, carrying 65 passengers and five crew bound for Sydney.

If the CAA case is successful, the pilot faces disqualification as a commercial pilot and a fine of up to $7000.

- Otago Daily Times

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