Doncaster pilot cleared of safety breach

Helicoprter pilot Darren Robson with his Eurocopter EC120
Helicoprter pilot Darren Robson with his Eurocopter EC120

A pilot at the centre of an investigation into a mid-air incident near Doncaster has said there was no risk of a crash.

Aviation chiefs were called in to investigate a report of a ‘near miss’ involving a helicopter and a powered paramotor.

The UK Airprox Board, which probes air safety incidents, concluded there was no risk of a collision but said the helicopter pilot should have put more distance between the two aircraft.

The pilot, Darren Robson, aged 43, of Thorne Road, Edenthorpe, spoke about the incident for the first time this week.

He stressed there was a safe distance between them.

He said: “I was surprised to hear that the paramotor pilot had reported me in the first place as I did see him and I did give him the required separation for us both to remain safe.

“The Civil Aviation Authority did indeed conduct an investigation and found that I did not breach any of the rules of the air which every pilot has to adhere to.

“Helicopter pilots go through extremely extensive training to gain their licences. The major emphasis of the training syllabus is ‘safety, safety, safety’.”

Mr Robson added: “Anyone who has flown in a helicopter will also know how good the visibility is all around and below, unlike fixed wing aircraft, where visibility is far more restricted.

“The EC120 helicopter in question is an aircraft that I have flown many times and is probably one of the best equipped in terms of safety.

“This aircraft is fitted with safety devices and avionics that you usually only find in airliners.

“That includes a traffic collision avoidance system which warns the pilot about the proximity of other aircraft in relation to the flight path.”

Board members concluded the incident 10 miles north of Doncaster Airport in March last year, posed ‘no risk of collision’ because the two aircraft were about 200ft apart.

But the board’s report also stated: “Some horizontal separation should have been afforded by the helicopter pilot.”