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Pilot jailed for flying without a valid licence

PUBLISHED: 15:45 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:13 12 August 2010

A PILOT branded a very real danger in the skies by a judge has been jailed for nine months. Peter Fox,66, admitted flying in contravention of an order from air traffic control at Biggin Hill and flying without a valid licence. Fox, of St. John s Hill,

A PILOT branded "a very real danger in the skies" by a judge has been jailed for nine months.

Peter Fox,66, admitted flying in contravention of an order from air traffic control at Biggin Hill and flying without a valid licence.

Fox, of St. John's Hill, Sevenoaks, has previous convictions for using a licence and medical certificates with intent to deceive, for which he was fined £5,000 in April last year.

Alison Salter, prosecuting for the Civil Aviation Authority, said Fox lost his private pilot's licence because he used a bogus medical certificate, and the Authority then ruled that his American licence was not valid in the UK.

In addition, his airline transport licence expired. On October 31 last year, he taxied his aircraft for take-off, intending to go to Bournemouth, but control radioed him not to fly, and he returned to the hangar.

On March 4 this year, using the same aircraft, but with its US registration number, he again requested permission to take off for a trip to Rochester.

He was once more told not to fly and he returned.

There had been an earlier incident when he had been able to deceive control who had let him take off.

Defending, John Mitchell said: "It is clear that much of his trouble derives from his desperation to sell the aircraft."

He was living on an income of £485 a month and he was paying off his fines, as well as repairs to his plane which had been damaged by someone else.

Mr Mitchell added: "His view was that he had a valid Federal Aviation Authority licence to fly in the UK. He chose not to accept the ruling of the CAA, and that is why he is here today. He has shown some remorse and he has described his actions as 'very silly'."

He had had an appointment in Bournemouth to meet a prospective buyer.

Judge Simon Pratt at Croydon Crow told Fox last Thursday: "You are unstoppable, and until this aircraft is sold at a price you regard as satisfactory, you present a very real danger in the skies. You present a real risk of committing further offences of this kind."

And he warned Fox that, if he even got into the cockpit of an aircraft during his prison licence period, he would be in serious trouble.

ktneditorial@archant.co.uk


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