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Amateur pilot accused of illegally landing plane at Prince William’s old RAF base without permission

Amateur pilot will appear in court accused of landing £2m private plane at Prince William’s former RAF base without permission because he ‘wanted to go to the beach’

  • Civil Aviation Authority has named the pilot as Richard Charles Priestley Wood 
  • He allegedly flew 300 miles from Surrey to fighter pilot training base in Wales
  • Pilot set off alone from Fairoaks Airfield in London to RAF Valley, Anglesey
  • He wanted to take his 12-seater for a ‘Bank Holiday day out at the beach’ last May
  • Wood to appear at Caernarfon Magistrates Court on Jan 20 in CAA prosecution

A businessman has been accused of illegally landing a £2million private plane at Prince William’s former RAF base because he wanted ‘to go to the beach’ during lockdown.

The keen amateur pilot – named as Richard Charles Priestley Wood of London, according to the Civil Aviation Authority – allegedly flew nearly 300 miles from Surrey to the fighter pilot training base at RAF Valley in Wales.

He set off alone from Fairoaks Airfield in London to Anglesey in the Swiss-made 12-seater with the plan of a Bank Holiday day out at the beach last May.

The base – where Prince William was stationed as an RAF Sea King pilot – was closed for runway repairs as he flew over.

A businessman – named as Richard Charles Priestley Wood of London, according to the Civil Aviation Authority – has been accused of illegally landing a £2m private plane at Prince William’s former RAF base because he wanted ‘to go to the beach’ during lockdown. (Above, the plane after it landed at the base last May)

The keen amateur pilot allegedly flew nearly 300 miles from Surrey to the fighter pilot training base at RAF Valley (pictured) in Anglesey, Wales. He was arrested by military police after he touched down without receiving permission to land

The keen amateur pilot allegedly flew nearly 300 miles from Surrey to the fighter pilot training base at RAF Valley (pictured) in Anglesey, Wales. He was arrested by military police after he touched down without receiving permission to land

A Civil Aviation Authority investigation revealed that the pilot apparently tried to contact air traffic control but claimed he could not reach anyone.

He was arrested by military police after he touched down without receiving permission to land.

When told he was breaching anti-Covid lockdown rules against travel, he allegedly told officers ‘it was OK as he had it two months ago’.

He allegedly told officers he thought it would be ‘OK to land at the airfield as he had read on Wikipedia that it handled civilian traffic’.

RAF Valley’s fire crew saw the aircraft – and, assuming it was in distress, attended the scene as an emergency.

It was ‘quickly determined’ that the aircraft was not an emergency and the Military Provost Guard Service attended the scene to find out what happened.

The pilot told them he had flown from London to ‘go to the beach’.

A report on the Ministry of Defence’s air safety management system into the incident last year said the Pilatus PC12 N412MD landed on Runway 19 at the RAF base.

The Duke of Cambridge spent three years at the base in Anglesey, North Wales, between 2009 and 2013, where he worked as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. (Above, Prince William at the base in 2011)

The Duke of Cambridge spent three years at the base in Anglesey, North Wales, between 2009 and 2013, where he worked as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. (Above, Prince William at the base in 2011)

The aircraft was searched by the RAF Police who found nothing suspicious and the pilot, who was the only person onboard the aircraft, was informed that he did not have authority to leave the base until it reopened the following day.

But he said he was ‘departing regardless and the RAF chose not to block the aircraft in allowing it to depart at 2:15pm.

Mr Wood is accused of breaching air safety rules when he ‘flew within an aerodrome traffic zone without having obtained information to enable a safe flight’ on May 25, 2020, the Daily Post reported.

He allegedly flew into the base ‘without having obtained information from the air/ground communication service to enable the flight to be conducted safely within the aerodrome traffic zone’.

He is set to appear at Caernarfon Magistrates Court on January 20 in the prosecution by the CAA.

Speaking at the time Superintendent Richie Green of North Wales police said: ‘We were contacted by colleagues from RAF Valley at 1.04 pm on Monday 25th May, reporting that a light aircraft had made an unauthorised landing at the airbase. The pilot was dealt with by Military Police.

The pilot set off alone from Fairoaks Airfield in London to Anglesey in the Swiss-made 12-seater with the plan of a Bank Holiday day out at the beach. He is set to appear at Caernarfon Magistrates Court on January 20 in the prosecution by the CAA

The pilot set off alone from Fairoaks Airfield in London to Anglesey in the Swiss-made 12-seater with the plan of a Bank Holiday day out at the beach. He is set to appear at Caernarfon Magistrates Court on January 20 in the prosecution by the CAA

‘Whilst the incident is primarily being investigated by the RAF and Civil Aviation Authority, North Wales Police are currently considering potential breaches of the Covid legislation in Wales.’

Security is tight at the base which is home to the No 4 Flying Training School which trains fighter pilots and crew for maritime operations.

The Duke of Cambridge spent three years at the base in Anglesey, North Wales, between 2009 and 2013, where he worked as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

He completed his last shift at the base in September 2013, almost two months after wife Kate Middleton gave birth to son Prince George.

MailOnline has contacted the Civil Aviation Authority for comment. 

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