RAF Wing Commander tells court of landing incident involving angry local with bright light

RAF Valley Hawk T.2

RAF Hawk T.2 trainers at RAF Valley (RAF.MOD.UK)

Wing Commander Nicholas Gatonby has given evidence at Mold Crown Court concerning the case John Arthur Jones, 66 from Anglesey in North Wales. Mr Jones stands accused of 13 counts of endangering Royal Air Force training aircraft landing at RAF Valley and its satellite base RAF Mona during a ten month period by shining lights in to their cockpits. Mr Jones has denied the accusations.

Wing Commander Gatonby, who was the commanding officer of No.208 Squadron based at RAF Valley during the period in question, told the court of one such incident in December 2013 which Mr Jones is accused of being involved. Gatonby and a student pilot were conducting a night time landing at nearby RAF Mona.

There was a very bright light shining from the ground on to the aircraft…it destroyed our night vision completely.

Gatonby and his student aborted the landing and went around again before making a second attempt. The bright light once again illuminated the aircraft making landing impossible forcing them to return to RAF Valley.

The prosecution have accused Mr Jones of keeping detailed notes on RAF activity to both complain against the activity and then, more sinisterly, use it to predict when an aircraft was most likely to fly over so he could set up his light in order to shine it in to the cockpits. The prosecution claim that he become obsessed with the air activity to the point where he had a total disregard for the safety of the pilots.

 

 

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5 responses to “RAF Wing Commander tells court of landing incident involving angry local with bright light

    • I was just telling John Knifton, there’s a belief in psychology that when it comes to cars, ships and aircraft we don’t really associate them with people who have lives and families. I am not defending him in anyway but its likely he didn’t view them as two pilots in an aircraft but simply an aircraft which in his mind made it easier for him to carry out such stupid acts. If you put the two pilots in front of him and gave him a gun I don’t think he would shoot them even though his actions were just as life-threatening albeit in a different context.

      We should also remember that he is pleading innocent.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A good point Tony. The annonnominity of it makes the act easier and the consequences much less detracted. A bit like shooting down a plane you can’t see! He may be innocent, and I guess we have to believe him until otherwise, but don’t most people say that. Let’s see what the outcome is.

        Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a belief in psychology that when it comes to cars, ships and aircraft we don’t really associate them with people. I am not defending him in anyway but its likely he didn’t view them as two pilots in an aircraft but simply an aircraft which in his mind made it easier for him to carry out such stupid acts. I think if you put the two pilots in front of him and gave him a gun I don’t think he would shoot them even though his actions were just as life-threatening albeit in a different context.

      We should also remember that he is pleading innocent.

      Like

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