The pilot of a helicopter that crashed in the New South Wales Hunter region, killing all three onboard, had his licence suspended in 2013 for a series of flying offences.
Sydney conservationist Richard Green, his wife Carolyn and passenger John Davis were found in the helipcopter’s wreckage in mountanous terrain, South of Cessnock, in the Watagan’s National park few days ago.
The aircraft, which took off from Breeza in northern NSW on Saturday, had been reported missing on Monday after it failed to arrive at its destination, Mona Vale.
Mr and Mrs Green, both licensed pilots, were the owners of the helicopter and used it to fly to some of Australia’s most remote locations to photograph the landscape.
While investigations are still underway as to what may have caused the accident, documents have shed light on Mr Green’s flying history.
They reveal that he had his private licence suspended for six months in July 2013 after what was described as a “pattern of non-compliance over some years”.
According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Mr Green was involved in six incidents of dangerous flying between 2007 and 2012.
During three of those incidents, CASA said there had been a risk of a collision with other aircraft.
In one incident, Mr Green flew directly over another helicopter at a distance of about nine metres or less, which forced the second pilot to take evasive measures.
In another incident, Mr Green was reported to have performed an “unnecessary manoeuvre” creating risk of collision and injury to two other aircraft and their passengers.
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Later in November 2012, Mr Green was also found to have breached civil aviation rules after he flew his aircraft immediately after an accident during which it had sustained significant damage.
The aircraft had been damaged after Mr Green struck overhead power lines while flying about 105 metres from his point of take-off.
“The damage was significant, and the aircraft was unsafe for further flight, however; despite this [Mr Green] then proceeded to fly the aircraft approximately 250 metres,” court documents stated.
Civil aviation rules stipulate that pilots must not fly an aircraft if there is a defect or damage that may endanger the safety of the aircraft, or any people or property.
Mr Green had also been reported to have conducted unauthorised repairs on his aircraft after a separate incident, and to have undertaken unauthorised flights with those repairs.
Mr Green had argued for a stay on the suspension, claiming that CASA’s allegations were false and made with malice, however the request was refused.
Credit: Aviation Figure