Man blasted fireworks into flight path of landing planes
A HOUSEHOLDER celebrating Halloween recklessly blasted fireworks towards planes landing at a Scottish airport, a court heard yesterday.
Peter Crane, 20, sent rockets from his back garden into the flight path of passenger planes landing at Edinburgh airport on a busy Friday night on 29 October, 2004.
The landscaper pleaded guilty to reckless conduct by placing pilots, air crew and passengers in potential danger.
Prosecutor Malcolm Stewart told Edinburgh Sheriff Court at an earlier hearing that the exploding rockets could have harmed the landing gear or wiring of the planes and may have disturbed the pilots at what is a difficult time of any flight. There was not only an actual risk of damage but a risk of the pilots being distracted by the noise or sudden flash which could have affected their night vision at this very crucial time," he said.
"Because the passenger planes travel at 130mph, the margin of error is very small and these were the highest category of rockets that can be legally sold to the public."
He added that he was surprised a similar incident had never occurred before.
He told Sheriff Isabella McColl that when the wind blew from the east, planes made their final descent into the airport directly above Crane's home at Riverside in Newbridge.
Air traffic controllers noticed the rockets exploding from about 7:30, then for several hours until police detained Crane.
The controllers started to warn crews of the hazard and one pilot reported back: "If the last firework had happened a second later we would have been very close to it."
Crane admitted setting off the Halloween display but denied that he was intentionally aiming at aircraft.
However, he did admit knowing that planes flew directly above his house and sometimes very low.
Sentence was deferred yesterday for a previously ordered background report to be prepared.
The defence agent, Raymond McMenamin, said that Crane had recently missed a social work appointment for the report because he had been away on holiday.
Malcolm Robertson, a BAA spokesman said: "Clearly we regard any behaviour of the kind which places aircraft and communities at danger as grossly irresponsible."
He added that the flights that night would have been a combination of international and shuttle flights.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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