Sun, Oct 21, 2007
Merlin Crew Flew By For A Closer Look
The crew of a British Ministry of Defense helicopter is accused
of breaking low-flying rules, so they could spy on a female
The case ended up in an English High Court over claims that the
14 ton Merlin helicopter hovered at altitudes less than 500 feet so
that the crew could "communicate" with the sunbather. In the
process, the helicopter's downwash damaged a glass conservatory,
reports the London Times.
The Ministry has denied all liability, arguing that the pilot
was flying in airspace that did not require permission for low
flights, nor was restricted.
The attorney for the Georges -- owners of the home named Old
Stables, in Eastbourne, East Sussex -- are claiming $512,000 in
damages. A judge in the case is referring to this incident as an
The case will be heard in court February 2008, is expected to
take eight days to conclude, and has the possibility of generating
hundreds of thousands in legal costs.
Should the Ministry of Defense lose the court case, taxpayers
will foot the bill.
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