Man who flew drone too close to WW2 Hurricane aircraft fined £3,000
A man who flew a drone too close to a Hurricane aircraft while thousands of people were standing underneath has been fined £3,000.
Mark Bagguley used his drone to film Buxton Carnival despite knowing a flypast was due to take place.
The 49-year-old was also given a six-month suspended prison sentence at Derby Crown Court.
Police said the pilot and people watching in the crowds below would have been killed if the drone had collided with the plane during the fly past on July 9 last year.
PC Matthew Moore, flight safety manager for the drones team at Derbyshire Police said: “Any drone in the air will pose a danger to any manned aircraft,” said PC Matthew Moore, flight safety manager for the drones team at Derbyshire Police.
“We had 15,000 to 20,000 persons present at Buxton at the time. That would have caused a catastrophe in its own right.”
There are only 12 airworthy Hurricanes left in the world.
This one was one of two operated by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. It was the last Huricane ever built and is “priceless”, the court had heard.
Bagguley intially denied he was responsible but police produced evidence of his drone’s flightpath. The offences came to light because of photographs taken by a carnival goer of the Hurricane from the ground.
Sentencing him Judge Jonathan Bennett told the court: “It was mind-blowingly reckless, particularly in the case of an intelligent, middle-aged man.
“He is no youngster messing about with a new toy.”
As well as being fined £3,000, Bagguley was ordered to pay costs of £450 and a victim surcharge of £154.
His six-month sentence of imprisonment was suspended for 12 months.
He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and will be electronically monitored with a curfew at his home address.