Airport mogul fined for illegal chopper landing

ILLEGALLY landing his helicopter in the wrong Brisbane park has cost Toowoomba millionaire Neill Wagner nearly $2000.

But Mr Wagner told a court he landed where he did to keep kids safe.

Mr Wagner pleaded guilty in Brisbane Magistrates Court to undertaking a prohibited activity - landing the helicopter on a field he did not have clearance to land on.

The court heard Mr Wagner had arranged to land his helicopter on a spare field at the Ballymore rugby grounds.

But Mr Wagner was forced to circle above for some time because of busy airspace.

Brisbane City Council lawyer Kevin Cartledge said Air Traffic Control eventually gave Mr Wagner permission to land and he was urged to do so as soon as possible.

But Mr Cartledge said the permission to land only covered the original field. The second field received minor damage from the landing.

Mr Wagner told the court when Air Traffic Control cleared him to land on the field he noticed children were playing on it.

"I put my hand on heart to say that on the day I took the safest option," Mr Wagner said.

"I went to Ballymore, kids were on the field, Air Traffic Control said to land as soon as possible so I put down next door."

Mr Wagner's lawyer Brett Heath said his client was an experienced pilot.

Mr Wagner was fined $1000 plus about $800 in costs. - ARM NEWSDESK



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