Man jailed after grabbing hold of chopper
From BBC News 03/08/10:
A man has been sentenced to a year in prison for endangering the safety of an aircraft when he grabbed 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.
Jafari was said to have become angry when the private aircraft blew debris at his Range Rover.
He approached the helicopter, threw a bag of rubbish at its nose and then kicked it.
As the pilot tried to take off, Jafari grabbed the skid bar as it was about 6ft (1.83m) off the ground.
This caused the helicopter to lurch to the right. An eyewitness told the court the aircraft narrowly missed nearby houses as it "swerved around" and "flew erratically" away.
Sentencing Jafari, Judge Michael Roach said it was a "deliberate and much more a reckless and dangerous act" and, despite the fact he was a business and family man, he had "no choice" other than to send him to prison.
It’s a trite remark but I might as well make it: this outcome was a bit of a no-brainer.
By the looks of Jafari’s picture, he’s not as svelte as he used to be, so it’s no wonder the small helicopter lurched so much when he leapt at the skid. And unless he was trying impersonate Roger Moore (or his stunt double) in the opening scenes of, ‘For Your Eyes Only’ just what was he really trying to achieve? I’m also curious whether he’d have done the same thing if it was an air ambulance trying to take off.
So now that Jafari has landed himself a custodial sentence, I’m sure he’ll be asking himself whether it was worth getting so het-up about. I mean, what kind of damage can a few loose blades of grass blown in the chopper’s downdraught do to Range Rover? If he’s that pernickety, maybe he should consider legal action against the scores of irksome summer flies who have the temerity to fly into his windscreen at speed, thereby pureeing themselves and soiling his precious motor?