Pilot “totally rejects” take-off video


The Pacific Blue pilot charged with careless operation of a Sydney-bound commercial jet disputes a video which shows Remarkables veiled in cloud.

The 54-year-old Auckland pilot – who has interim name suppression – appeared before Judge Kevin Phillips in Queenstown District court this morning for day four of the defended hearing.

Civil Aviation Authority laid the charge of operating a Boeing 737in a careless manner after the incident occurred on June 22, 2010. 

Prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch played video footage from freelance cameraman Simon Christie, who was on board plane when it took-off at 5.25pm in June.

Pilditch says the video showed a “wall of white cloud on the Remarkables”. 

However, the pilot says this is not what he saw from the cockpit window at the time. 

“I totally reject that’s an accurate view of what I was looking at.” 

The pilot says Pacific Blue regulations meant he needed 10km horizontal visibility.

“You have to remain absolutely certain you’ll maintain visibility and this has to be secured before you take-off.” 

Air traffic control’s weather reports weren’t mirroring the improving weather conditions, he says.

“It’s a question of making judgement and experience to make a decision.

“I’ve always been of the view it’s the pilots decision.” 

The case is expected to continue for another week.