Terry told: No more charity flights

BELLINGEN pilot Terry Walker has been told by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority he cannot continue with the flights in the region that have raised thousands of dollars for charity.

Any flight where the passengers pay to fly, whether the money goes to charity or not, is classed as a commercial flight, the CASA said yesterday.

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said this was the reason why CASA required Bellingen-based helicopter pilot Terry Walker to pay for an Air Operators Certificate for his charity joy flights, even though he does not earn a cent from the flights, as reported in the Coffs Coast Advocate yesterday.

Mr Walker's fundraising joy flights, including his planned visit to the Orara Valley Fair on June 11, have been cancelled following intervention by CASA.

The air safety body told event organisers like the Bellingen Show Society they could be liable for fines of up to $100,000 if they went ahead.

Mr Gibson said the commercial certificate required the pilot to draw up flight and maintenance manuals and meet higher standards of safety and also provided liability insurance for passengers in case of accident or injury.

He said while CASA had no safety concerns regarding Mr Walker, the safety body could make no exceptions and there was also the issue that passengers' private insurance policies could be void if they flew with an operator who did not have a valid commercial certificate.

Mr Gibson said Mr Walker's options were to take out his own Air Operators Certificate, which Mr Walker said would cost about $5000 or to fly under another organisation's certificate.

"We're not trying to pick on him or stop him doing joy flights," Mr Gibson said.

"There is no suggestion he is doing anything wrong or unsafe, but it could have other legal ramifications."

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