A pilot who staged a flight that killed footballer Emiliano Sala has been convicted of an aviation offense that could see him sent to jail.
The small plane carrying Sala, 28, crashed in the English Channel off Guernsey on a stormy evening in January 2019, during a trip by his French club from Nantes to Cardiff City, which had engaged him in a multi-million pound contract. transfer agreement.
Argentina striker and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, both died in the incident.
The aircraft operator, David Henderson, 67, arranged the flight with former football agent William “Willie” McKay, but was unable to fly the aircraft himself as he had left with his. woman in Paris.
Instead, he asked Mr. Ibbotson, who flew regularly for him although he did not hold a commercial pilot’s license or rating to fly at night, and whose rating to fly the American aircraft, a Piper Malibu single-engine, was expired.
The jury heard that moments after finding out the plane had crashed, Henderson texted a number of people telling them to keep quiet.
Henderson admitted in court that he feared an investigation into his business arrangements.
He was on trial in Cardiff Crown Court on charges of endangering the safety of an aircraft in a lawsuit brought by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Henderson has previously pleaded guilty to a separate offense of attempting to unload a passenger without valid clearance or clearance.
The judge, Judge Foxton, will convict Henderson on Nov. 12, but according to the CAA website, the sentence for endangering the safety of a plane can be up to five years in prison.
Kate Staples, General Counsel for the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Our thoughts are with the families and friends who were affected by this accident in January 2019.
“Aviation safety depends on the integrity of everyone involved in the industry.
“Illegal and dangerous activities such as those of Mr Henderson are unacceptable and the UK Civil Aviation Authority will always seek to continue the illegal activities.”