Helicopter Maintenance And Pilot Manslaughter

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A New Zealand jury deliberated for roughly 10 hours before finding former maintenance company owner John Horrell, 56, and senior engineer, Ronald Potts, 60, guilty of manslaughter for the death of a pilot in a helicopter crash. The pilot and father of nine, Philip Heney, was killed when a tail component failed while landing a Robinson R22 helicopter, near his home. A passenger survived the crash. The accident took place Aug. 26, 2005, the same day Heney retrieved the aircraft from Skytech Aviation, where it had undergone maintenance. A prosecutor claimed the defendants failed to ensure that a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer directly supervised the work and failed to ensure it was inspected twice by qualified engineers. Counsel for the defendants argued former shop owner Horrell could not be expected to determine if the supervision was sufficient and that the accident was not the result of intentional criminal action, but human error. Horrell and Potts are now set to be sentenced in May. Heney's son, Keiran, is set to earn his private pilot's license very soon, perhaps holding it by the time you read this.