Haughey’s helicopter pitched in the fog

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A helicopter crash, which claimed the life of former British Lord and Fianna Fáil Senator, Edward Haughey, may have been caused by the craft pitching in heavy fog.

Dr Edward Haughey, who took a seat in the House of Lords as Lord Ballyedmond in 2004, was killed in the crash in Norfolk back in March 13, 2014.

Pilots Carl Dickerson and Lee Hoyle and another passenger Declan Small also lost their lives.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has published its report into the tragic accident, which took the life of one of Northern Ireland’s wealthiest businessmen and someone who used to fly William Hague from Yorkshire to London by helicopter so the latter could attend parliamentary business.

“The helicopter departed the private site in fog and at night. Operation from the site in such conditions was permissible under existing regulation,” the AAIB report.

“Departure from a licensed aerodrome in such conditions would not have been permitted. Evidence suggests that the flight crew may have been subject to somatogravic illusion caused by the helicopter’s flight path and the lack of external visual cues.

“The absence of procedures for two pilot operation, the pilots’ lack of formal training in such procedures, and the limited use of the automatic flight control system, may have contributed to the accident.

“Opportunities to reduce the likelihood of such an event, presented by the report into the operator’s previous fatal accident, appeared not to have been taken,” it concludes.