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Worried residents ask if pilot broke aviation rules in home manoeuvre
The Civil Aviation Authority has started an investigation after a helicopter landed in a garden in a Bradford suburb.
Worried residents alerted emergency services after seeing the private helicopter manoeuvering between trees to land in the residential garden.
The CAA is now examining whether the pilot breached any rules of the air.
A spokesman for the body confirmed it had received a complaint about the incident from a member of the public.
Resident Therese Muchewicz told yesterday how she saw the helicopter’s tail fin narrowly miss the trees as it took off again several hours later.
“It was really scary,” she said. “I know helicopters can land with the consent of the landowner, but it has to be in circumstances that are safe.”
Miss Muchewicz, 57, was upstairs at her home, in Eider Close, Clayton Heights, Bradford, at around 11am on Wednesday when she heard the helicopter hovering overheard.
She said: “At first I thought it was the police helicopter, but then I realised it wasn’t. I could see it getting lower and lower and I thought it was going to crash. It flew very low between two huge trees and landed in the garden of a large detached property behind us. It had to manouevre between the trees.
“The helicopter was only about 30 feet from my house. I thought it was having to make an emergency landing and I contacted the police.”
Miss Muchewicz said she was later told a wedding party was taking place at the property and the helicopter had brought guests. She said it took off again at about 5pm, she believed with the bride and groom on board.
“It had to turn horizontally and its tail nearly hit a big fir tree.”
Miss Muchewicz said another concerned resident, who is a pilot, had complained to the Civil Aviation Authority about the incident.
Another resident said: “The helicopter was a sensation – but it certainly wasn’t the right place to be landing. It flew over and seemed to be inches above our roof. We thought there was going to be a disaster.
“A wedding was taking place in the garden of the house. There was loud music, steel drums and firecrackers that sounded like bombs going off. A police officer attended but could not get down the drive because it was full of flash cars. There were Rolls Royces, stretch limos and Lamborghinis.”
A spokesman for the CAA confirmed yesterday: “We have received a complaint about the flight from a member of the public and we will be investigating it. We will be looking to see if there is any breach of the Air Navigation Order regulations, which are the rules of the air and how pilots should operate.
“The focus of the investigation will be on the safety of the flight.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police officers attended. On the first attendance, it was not believed any offence had been committed. Later the incident was passed to the Civil Aviation Authority for further action.”
A spokesman for Multiflight, a private aviation company based near Leeds-Bradford Airport, said the helicopter departed and came back to their base. She added: “It was visiting. It was not our aircraft, not our pilot and not our customers.”
A spokesman for Leeds-Bradford Airport, which monitors all air traffic, said it had not dealt with any incident involving a helicopter.
The helicopter, a Jet Ranger II, is registered to a company in Scawby, near Doncaster. The Telegraph & Argus was unable to contact the company.
Ward councillor Paul Cromie (Ind, Queensbury), who went to the scene after he was contacted by residents, said: “I couldn’t believe it. I saw the helicopter in the garden, and it was a tight fit.” We were unable to contact the owners of the house for comment.