A pilot charged with alleged careless operation of a Sydney-bound jet yesterday reflected on the takeoff two years ago and said he often thought about the midwinter departure.
The Papakura pilot, 54, who has interim name suppression, appeared before Judge Kevin Phillips in Queenstown District Court where he has denied operating a Boeing 737 in a careless manner on June 22, 2010, a charge laid by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The man finished giving evidence yesterday.
He said no-one was placed at risk or in danger and the decision to depart was based on reasonable methodology.
Prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch suggested the pilot's work was not his best and asked whether there was some aspect of what happened that fell below his expected standards.
The pilot maintained that what he did was perfectly safe with multiple contingencies.
"I have thought about this often in the last two years.
"I look back and think given the exact same set of circumstances, the same knowledge, I would have done the same thing still. On the day, at the time, yes, I think I did a good job. I think everyone was safe, I don't think there was a degree of carelessness."
Giving evidence for the first time, first officer Christian Rush told the court he qualified as a pilot in 1989 and had 7900 hours' flight time in 2010.
He said the aeronautical charts used by Pacific Blue in 2010 were unhelpful when calculating evening civil twilight, the cutoff for departures from Queenstown.
Pacific Blue had abandoned using these charts and switched to the New Zealand aeronautical information publication system.
Earlier yesterday, the pilot in command told the court the weather was improving and the crew queried air traffic information on weather.
The information on the extent of an overcast cloud layer was patently wrong, he said.
Referring to a reduction in thrust, the co-pilot calling "speed" and the triggering of a "don't sink" alarm, the pilot said he did not consider the takeoff and departure as anything other than normal.
The "don't sink" alarm was expected given a reduction in altitude, analogous to the reversing alarm on a car.
The Civil Aviation Authority alleges the pilot should not have taken off after 5.14pm because rules stipulated departing aircraft needed at least 30 minutes before civil twilight cutoff at 5.45pm.
The defence case argues the pilot's actions were correct, Pacific Blue policies and manuals were inconsistent and any breach of requirements, if demonstrated, was below the level of carelessness.
The hearing continues today.
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