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28th October 2021
David Henderson found guilty of endangering safety of an aircraft in which footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson died
The Air Charter Association notes the verdict in the trial of David Henderson, who was accused and found guilty of attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorisation and also guilty of endangering the safety of an aircraft.
The verdict was announced today, 28 October 2021.
Two people died in the crash, footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, which occurred in January 2019.
The trial of Mr Henderson is due to start on 12 November and the formal Inquest into the deaths is provisionally expected to take place in March 2022.
A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) previously concluded that the aircraft carrying Mr Sala and Mr Ibbotson suffered an in-flight break-up after the pilot lost control while attempting to avoid bad weather. It added that Mr Ibbotson was probably affected by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Investigators found that a contributory factor in the crash was Mr Ibbotson having limited night flying experience and a lack of instrument flying rules recency. Equally concerning, they found that he held a private pilot’s licence that did not allow him to conduct flights for reward.
Below is a copy of The ACA’s press statement.
Kevin Ducksbury, chairman, says:
“The Air Charter Association is profoundly saddened by this accident and sends its sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased men.
“As the industry’s global trade association, we stand for and promote compliance and best practice. We are deeply dismayed that so many fundamental safety rules, and basic rules of airmanship were disregarded and broken in this case.
“The Air Charter Association demands the highest possible safety standards from all of its members and insists that all flights are operated in line with legal and regulatory requirements relating to safe operating rules, underpinning the core values of the Association. These include but are not limited to aircraft operating approvals, operating licences, maintenance, flight crew licensing and insurance.”
“The Air Charter Association welcomes the Court’s ruling of David Henderson being found guilty of attempting to discharge a passenger in the UK without valid permission or authorisation and additionally, guilty of endangering the safety of an aircraft. The ruling confirms that Mr Henderson arranged and coordinated this flight illegally, in which footballer Emiliano Sala tragically lost his life. Fully licensed, regulated, and approved aircraft charter operations are at the heart of The Air Charter Association’s core values and growing membership. The Association is profoundly disturbed that this flight was allowed to happen but welcomes the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s representation in this case, ensuring a precedence is set and further support is provided to one of the Association’s primary causes – stamping out illegal public transport.
“The Air Charter Association will continue its work on educating the public and wider aviation community, to ensure that our high standards are maintained. The message is clear to the industry regarding the importance of using fully licensed air charter, and why selecting trusted and regulated members of The Air Charter Association is vitally important, to ensure passenger safety.”
For further press information:
Trudi Beggs / Anna Price