Strike a light

Despite real fears about crime, the figures are getting better. Crime fell 14% in Islington last year, and the Lib Dem Council is funding a new team to support crime victims and work with residents to increase the number of anti-social behaviour cases going to court.

Meanwhile one Finsbury resident has been jailed for a year for a rather unusual crime. Andrew McKee from Hermit Street, EC1 was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for ‘recklessly and negligently endangering an aircraft’ – despite never leaving the ground.

Back in July 2007, the Metropolitan Police helicopter was on an operation over Hermit Street, when a green laser light was shone directly into the cockpit, several times.

The police traced the laser back to Mr McKee and charged him under Article 73 of the Air Navigation Order 2005. MoD scientists and the helicopter pilot gave evidence that shining the laser into the cockpit did put the aircraft, its passengers (and of course all the people living below including Mr McKee and his family) at risk.

I don’t expect the Met Police have much call to apply the Air Navigation Order, airports apart, but it could have its uses.

Article 66 of the same Order, you will be glad to know, prohibits dropping animals from an aircraft in flight (‘whether or not attached to a parachute’); while article 50 requires one pilot to remain at the controls at all times while it is in flight. Makes sense to me.



  1. Tom Barney said

    Ah but I know of one occasion when the Air Navigation Order was used in London: one day in the mid 1950s Major Christopher Draper, an RAF veteran, flew a light aircraft under 15 Thames bridges. He was let off with a conditional discharge I think.

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