Glasgow & West Scotland

Clutha Inquiry: pilot 'very good' in proficiency test

Police helicopter is removed from the scene Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ten people were killed in the tragedy on 29 November 2013

The pilot of a helicopter which crashed into a pub and killed 10 people was deemed "very good" in a proficiency check just months before the accident.

Pilot David Traill died along with two crew and seven customers in the Clutha Vaults in Glasgow on 29 November 2013.

A fatal accident inquiry was shown a document detailing an operator proficiency check (OPC) on Mr Traill from January 2013.

The FAI is being held in a temporary court at Hampden Park.

Christopher Redfern, 45, was the training captain at the time and now holds the position of head of flight operations at Babcock.

Asked by Gordon Lamont, advocate for the Crown, if he had any issues with Mr Traill during the assessment, he replied: "No".

In a section marked crew resource management Mr Traill was deemed "very good" with Mr Redfern saying the overall standard of the training was considered "acceptable".

Mr Redfern said he "might have done his OPC six times", with these two-hour checks held every six months in a simulator.

He also guessed he carried out 60-70 OPCs a year across the company as a training captain, and continues to do so on rare occasions in his new role.

Image caption (Top: L to R) David Traill, PC Kirsty Nelis, PC Tony Collins, Gary Arthur, Samuel McGhee (Bottom: L to R) Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Mark O'Prey, John McGarrigle, Joe Cusker

While working as a training captain, Mr Redfern also told the inquiry he had "never been trained to fly a helicopter outside its limits".

Questions were also raised over the simulations when Mr Lamont asked if he was able to tell what happened if an aircraft's rotor speed fell below 75%.

Mr Redfern replied: "I've never seen the simulator helicopter fall out the sky, Airbus pilots might be able to tell you what would happen."

When asked to clarify what he meant, he added the simulator "will try its best" to replicate the circumstances, but "tilts then just flies away, which I don't know if it's representable of a real aircraft".

Mr Traill, 51; PC Tony Collins, 43; and PC Kirsty Nelis, 36, lost their lives in the crash along with seven customers who were in the bar on Stockwell Street.

They were Gary Arthur, 48; Joe Cusker, 59; Colin Gibson, 33; Robert Jenkins, 61; John McGarrigle, 58; Samuel McGhee, 56; and Mark O'Prey, 44.

The inquiry continues on Wednesday.

Clutha inquiry: The evidence so far

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