LONDRES, 20 Oct. (dpa/EP) –

The pilot who directed the plane that crashed with the Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala on board never had a night flight license, as it became known this Wednesday during the trial that is being held in Wales to purge the responsibilities of the case.

David Ibbotson, 59, was killed along with the Argentine forward when the plane sank in the English Channel en route from Nantes to Cardiff in January 2019. The night flight had been arranged by the plane’s operator, David Henderson, who is on trial in Cardiff Crown Court on charges of jeopardizing the safety of the plane.

The jury heard Wednesday that Henderson had hired Ibbotson to fly the single-engine Piper Malibu even though he was not qualified to do so. Messages retrieved from Henderson’s phone, after he was arrested in June 2019, showed that he knew at least since May 2018 that Ibbotson only had a private pilot license (PPL), which did not allow him to fly for money.

John Overall of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) explained that Ibbotson’s qualification to fly the Piper Malibu had expired in November 2018, adding that no record could be found that Ibbotson had a clearance to fly at night. .

When asked by prosecutor Martin Goudie if someone was allowed to fly at night without a night flight rating, Overall replied, “No. Unless they are training. It’s a simple ban.”
Messages read in court between the defendant and Ibbotson from August 2018 showed that he was aware of the pilot’s inability to fly after dark.