Glasgow & West Scotland

Clutha Inquiry: Pilot says he never had low fuel warning

Clutha crash scene Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ten people died when the helicopter crashed into the Clutha in Glasgow

A pilot who flew the helicopter involved in the Clutha crash has told an inquiry that he never experienced a low fuel warning when in flight.

George David Young handed the aircraft over to the crew involved in the tragedy on November 29 2013.

The fatal accident inquiry resumed at a temporary court at Hampden Park on Monday following a six-week break.

Ten people died when the helicopter crashed into the roof of The Clutha pub in Glasgow.

Mr Young was asked by Sean Smith QC, on behalf of the Crown, if he had ever experienced a low fuel warning when in flight, to which Mr Young replied: "Never."

Mr Smith then asked about low fuel cautions and again the pilot replied: "Never."

He said he had experienced it in a training simulator in an exercise held after the accident.

Mr Smith asked if such a test had been done in flight but the pilot said it "wouldn't be safe to do so".

Image copyright Getty Images

He earlier told the FAI he would routinely arrive at about 07:00 for a 07:30 start and be at the base by the River Clyde before the police observers.

The events of the day shift on November 29 2013 were revisited, which began with a flight from Glasgow to Inverness before the helicopter was refuelled to search for a missing person.

It arrived at Inverness with 160kg of fuel and departed on the search in Strathpeffer with 410kg before returning to Inverness an hour and 35 minutes later with 160kg of fuel.

The aircraft was then refuelled to 430kg before departing to Glasgow where it was refuelled to 400kg - the recommended take-off level.

Fuel calculations

It has previously been established at the FAI the aircraft was calculated to burn 200kg of fuel an hour, a burn rate of 3.3kg per minute.

Mr Young said he would make fuel calculations roughly every 20-30 minutes working on a basis of having 100kg minimum in the tank, allowing for 8kg of "unusable fuel".

He added this was because the minimum amount of fuel to land with - established by aircraft operator Bond - had changed to 90kg, having been 85kg at the time of the crash.

He also said it would be standard practice to issue a mayday call if you had eaten into the reserve fuel.

No such call was made and the main tank was found with 76kg after the tragedy.

Image caption (Top: L to R) David Traill, PC Kirsty Nelis, PC Tony Collins, Gary Arthur, Samuel McGhee (Bottom: L to R) Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Mark O'Prey, John McGarrigle, Joe Cusker

Pilot David Traill, 51; PC Tony Collins, 43; and PC Kirsty Nelis, 36, lost their lives in the crash along with seven customers who were in the bar on Stockwell Street.

They were Gary Arthur, 48; Joe Cusker, 59; Colin Gibson, 33; Robert Jenkins, 61; John McGarrigle, 58; Samuel McGhee, 56; and Mark O'Prey, 44.

The inquiry before Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull continues.

Clutha inquiry: The evidence so far

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