Air crash report: Businessman Mark Weir 'not qualified to fly at night' (From The Westmorland Gazette)
When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Air crash report: Businessman Mark Weir 'not qualified to fly at night'
A LAKE District businessman who died when his helicopter crashed had the skill level of a British military pilot, but was not qualified to fly at night.
The air accident report surrounding the death of Honister Slate Mine owner, Mark Weir, also found irregularities in the helicopter’s maintenance and airworthiness.
Mr Weir, 45, was found in the wreckage of his stricken machine just 200 metres from his 60,000-visitors-a-year attraction on the night of March 9 last year.
He frequently used the helicopter to commute between his home and various locations in the Lake District, and the report stated that during a medical exam in 2009, he said he had accrued around 1,700 flying hours.
But there was no evidence found to say he had undertaken training towards a night qualification.
The report said: “Night flight in helicopters presents several challenges different from flight by day.
“The pilot may have difficulty determining the presence of cloud.”
Mr Weir had spoken to his partner just before his flight home, and she described the weather to him as ‘rather blustery’ but with good visibility. She commented to investigators that he had flown in worse conditions.
A number of serious airworthiness issues were identified during the course of the investigation, which related to maintenance work, the engine and the helicopter parts.
It stated none of these could be directly linked to the cause of the accident, but did raise concerns regarding the way the helicopter was operated.
A date for the inquest has not yet been set.