'Hero' pilot admits flying unsafe planes
A Tauranga pilot has admitted risking the lives of his passengers by flying on several occasions when his plane was not permitted to fly by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Paul Ensor, 40, owner of Island Air Charters in Mt Maunganui, crash landed his plane in Te Puna estuary at Omokoroa near Tauranga last December.
He escaped injury and was initially hailed a hero, but the next day the CAA grounded the airline and Ensor amid allegations of unauthorised maintenance and previous forced landings.
Ensor faced 15 breaches of CAA regulations and had planned to defend the charges next week, but in Tauranga District Court his week he changed his pleas.
Ensor admitted seven charges and eight others were withdrawn.
He will be sentenced on November 14.