Written by Noshing Mink
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Topics: Helicopters, anger

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

image for Angry Bristol man jailed for grabbing helicopter
"Please return to your seats and fasten seatbelts. We are experiencing turbulence due to someone unexpectedly grabbing us"

A man has been sentenced to a year in prison for grabbing a helicopter as it took off in Bristol.

Bristol Crown Court was told Houshang Jafari, 58, became "extremely angry" after the helicopter landed near his flat, causing debris to hit his car.

The court heard how Jafari grabbed one of its skid bars as the pilot tried to take off, and casually swung the helicopter around the car park like a toy before losing interest and finally letting it go.

The pilot managed to take off safely despite Jafari's actions last March.

Sentencing Jafari, Judge Michael Roach said he had "no choice" other than to send him to prison.

The court took three other offences into consideration, involving grabbing a fixed wing aircraft at a private airstrip in Leicester in January 2010, grabbing a Boeing 747 at Heathrow Airport last year and attempting to grab a Hercules transport aircraft at RAF Lyneham in 2008. Jafari's barrister apologised on behalf of his client, saying that he was depressed due to the noise that aircraft made and that his unhealthy interest in grabbing them was really a cry for help.

The Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement saying "We would warn the public of the inherent dangers in grabbing or attempting to grab aircraft, whether on the ground or in mid air. What Mr Jafari did was really stupid and it is a miracle that nobody got hurt."

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