Emiliano Sala’s Brit pilot made string of ‘basic errors’ during doomed flight before plane crashed into English Channel

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EMILIANO Sala’s Brit pilot made “basic errors” before their plane crashed into the English Channel.

David Ibbotson shunned the use of flight instruments that were vital to flying through cloudy conditions on the night of the doomed flight to Cardiff, it has been claimed.

Pilot David Ibbotson’s body has not been found
Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala was confirmed dead after a body was recovered from the doomed aircraft
Refer to Caption

He also filled the Malibu-Piper aircraft’s license number incorrectly on his flight plan form.

While other documents show he was not licensed to take passengers – only himself.

The damning claims have been made by Argentinian journalist Christian Martin.

Martin, who works for Fox News, claimed Mr Ibbotson used Visual Flight Rules (VFR) instead of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) on the night of January 21.

‘DISREGARD OF FLYING INSTRUMENTS’

This means he accepted “the disregard of flying with instruments, key to flying between clouds without the visibility of a horizontal line.

“That night there were many clouds and a cold snap over the English Channel.”

Martin described the mistakes as “basic errors”.

He accepted the disregard of flying with instruments, key to flying between clouds without the visibility of a horizontal line.


Christian Martin

In order for pilots to fly VFR, they cannot fly through clouds and in some types of airspace they have to be able to see the ground.

Under VFR pilots are responsible for seeing other aircraft and avoiding collisions and it requires a minimum standard of weather conditions to be present.

When the operation of an aircraft under VFR is not safe IFR must be used instead.

‘WRONG LICENCE’

Martin also claimed that Ibbotson was not authorised to take paying passengers.

He uploaded a photo of the Brit’s licence with the caption: “Pilots David Ibbotson’s licence. PRIVATE licence, not COMMERCIAL. Prohibited from taking paying passengers.”

Sala was flying from Nantes, in western France, the Welsh capital after making a club-record £15million transfer to Cardiff City.

But his plane went missing over the Channel and crashed into the sea off the coast of Alderney.

After two wide scale searches for the missing Argentinian forward – a privately funded search team found the wreckage of the flight on February 3.


Sala’s body was inside but Mr Ibbotson is still missing.

A private search is underway to find his body with his family having raised more than £240k to pay for it.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is expected to release a report into the accident at 2pm today.

Part of the wreckage of the plane flown by David Ibbotson
Sala’s body is removed from the water
PA:Press Association
David, with his wife Nora, was flying the doomed Sala plane
Refer to Caption
Emiliano Sala poses with his Cardiff shirt after signing for the club over the weekend
Emiliano Sala poses with his Cardiff shirt after signing for the club
Getty – Contributor

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