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Man In Trouble For Using Helicopter to Water Ski 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the extreme-father-and-son-time dept.
An Australian man spending the afternoon water-skiing with his son can't figure out what all the fuss is about. After all, he wasn't piloting the helicopter towing his son recklessly. "It's a witch-hunt," Milton Jones says. "He was home from boarding school. I only see him for a few weeks each year and we were just having a bit of fun. It was perfectly safe. I've been flying for 20 years and am very experienced. All the yahoo has gone out of me by now." Unfortunately the Civil Aviation Authority doesn't think helicopter skiing is a wholesome father-son activity and has threatened legal action.
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Man In Trouble For Using Helicopter to Water Ski

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  • by FutureDomain (1073116) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @02:09PM (#35655738)
    If it was his helicopter on his land, then I don't see what the problem is. The dang government is filled with too many control freaks who want to dictate what everyone else can do. This guy should just tell them to go eat a lemon.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      By the very nature of the activities, he wasn't on his own land. His own water maybe...

      • by definate (876684)

        Welcome to the Commonwealth, where nobody can own water, or the area closely around water. That's crown land. Though I'm sure there's certain provisions to sort out some of the problems with this, these days.

        Also, that was his own land, since he owns 700 square kilometres in the Northern Territory. However, I think you're alluding to he's flying and so not on land, and I'm unsure of the regulation in that regard, but it's likely similarly retarded.

    • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @03:22PM (#35656970)

      The dang government is filled with too many control freaks who want to dictate what everyone else can do.

      The Civil Aviation Authority received multiple complaints from viewers. They have a statutory requirement to "adequately investigate" complaints. So they asked the Ten network for the entire unedited footage (after all, the broadcast footage was likely edited to make it look more "daring" than it really was, so it wouldn't be fair to the pilot to go off of that), the network refused, the CAA got a search warrant. The father then applied for a court order to seal the footage, and then went whining to the local press like a spoilt little brat.

      Note that the CAA hadn't said the pilot did anything wrong. They are just following up on complaints. Everything else has come from the TV network and the father playing legal games. Likely this will end up costing the tax payer a fortune in legal fees. But it didn't have to. In all likelihood it could have gone: CAA asks for footage, network emails video file, CAA investigator spends half an hour going over footage, double checks regulations, licences, etc, and says, "No case to answer". Done. Whole thing could have been over with in an afternoon. But now, the Authority will almost certainly have to follow the absolute strictest letter of the law, just to send a message to other pilots/operators/owners, don't play with us.

      • In all likelihood it could have gone ... "was anybody hurt here? No? OK, there's nothing to worry about. Next."

        But now, the Authority will almost certainly have to follow the absolute strictest letter of the law, just to send a message to other pilots/operators/owners, don't play with us.

        Great, they're butthurt so they'll reign down with all their terror. And you think the father is the spoiled brat?

        • Great, they're butthurt so they'll reign down with all their terror. And you think the father is the spoiled brat?

          I didn't mean they'd do it out of spite. I mean they can't allow a precedent to be set that when they are investigating a complaint, a wealthy owner can say, "Nope", and they have to stop. If you throw lawyers at them, that kills any flexibility they might have had.

          A lot of operators are cowboys, and they hate the CAA. But more light aircraft accidents in Australia have come down to company/owner error than pilot error. But if the CAA investigate complaints, they're bastards, if they don't, they're bastards

      • by rgviza (1303161)

        Pfft, there goes my idea of towing my son water skiing from the surplus F-4G I just got on ebay. I just put a $3500 towing attachment on it too :-/

    • Fair chance it wasn't his land.
      Farmers and wastes of spaces like this guy (yeah i know a few i grew up around them) lease the land as part of a pastoral lease.

  • I didn't know the land down under had a law for being stupid, those blades, and a sudden gust of wind, then the water skier looks like deli sliced meat, only alive, a little...
  • The man is an experienced pilot and according to TFA, is endorsed for low-level flying. It sounds like he knew what he was doing. When I was younger, my father or brother used to pull me around on a plastic sled tied to the tow-bar of a snowmobile by rope. I lost more than a couple teeth to my brother braking too fast. Seems to me helicopter waterskiing has a better safety record than what I used to do, but nobody is going after that.
  • What exactly is he doing that is reckless?

    1) The story is being pimped as the reckless part is doing something fun with a helicopter.

    2) At least locally, the FAA has a different definition of reckless. Such as he could have been buzzing the powerlines near his hotel, maybe he terrified the ATC controller by not explaining what he was doing, etc. I can't find the actual citation just journalist babble.

    3) Another option is he "recklessly" supported a powerful political opponent, or the noise of his fooling

    • The funny thing is, the CAA hasn't accused him of reckless activity. What they HAVE done is say "What exactly did he do that is reckless? May we please have the unedited footage so we can see if there was any reckless activity?" to which the network and the guy both responded NO!

      Now the CAA has to go through more difficult routes in their investigation to answer the complaints of "reckless activity" from others with either a "yes, he did something reckless," or "investigation closed. Nothing done outside

      • by Methuseus (468642)

        Well, if they would just accuse him, he would have to provide it then. And he probably would. I agree that it's reaching to ask for him to self incriminate. I realize this is in Australia, not the US, but I believe they have some semblance to protect from self-incrimination.

  • I bet his pals didn't believe him when he got back from his holiday.

    "What did you do then?"

    "I visited my dad. He pulled me behind a helicopter while I water skied. What about you?"

    "Same."

    • I bet his pals didn't believe him when he got back from his holiday.

      He lives in the Northern Territory. His friends would rag on him if he hadn't done something stupid and dangerous.

  • It's not the first time something like this has ever been done. A politician in Mexico has been doing it for the past year with a state owned helicopter:

    Admite edil ganar Guinness con helicóptero estatal [terra.com.mx]

    And the state government justified it with the excuse that "this type of aircraft needs to be in continuous operation".

  • The only penalty this father should receive is that his insurance rates should go up... a lot. Unless the government can prove that somebody was harmed by his actions, they should STFU.

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