Hurricane aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
File photo of a Hurricane aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Picture: Peter Brogden/Alamy Stock Photo).
RAF

Drone pilot admits endangering aircraft from RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Hurricane aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
File photo of a Hurricane aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Picture: Peter Brogden/Alamy Stock Photo).

A drone pilot who police say almost caused a serious accident at an RAF memorial flypast in Buxton, Derbyshire, has pleaded guilty to endangering an aircraft.

The incident happened during the Buxton Carnival in July 2022, during a flypast by the RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Hurricane.

At the time, the flypast had been protected by a short-term airspace restriction that banned all other flying in the area, including drones.

Images captured on the day showed the drone flying dangerously close to the wing of the Hurricane, which was being watched by an estimated 20,000 people.

Police managed to identify the drone pilot, a 49-year-old man from Buxton, and seized the drone. Analysis showed it was flying over Buxton at the time of the flypast.

Mark Bagguley, of Chatsworth Road, Fairfield, was arrested and subsequently charged with endangering an aircraft and operating an aircraft out of the visual line of sight.

He pleaded guilty to both charges before magistrates at Chesterfield Justice Centre on 9 January and is set to appear again in February for sentencing.

Following the case, the Civil Aviation Authority and police are reminding drone operators about the need to fly safely and legally.

PC Matt Moore, Flight Safety Manager for the Derbyshire Constabulary drone team, said: "The way the pilot flew his drone was unsafe, illegal and totally unacceptable.

"Anyone using a drone must follow the rules to make sure they fly safely. As a police drone unit, we know the benefits drones can bring to society but people using a drone in this way not only threaten the safety of aircraft and the public they also damage the future use of drones.

"This is for the safety of not only yourself but others around," he added.

The Hawker Hurricane played a vital role in the Battle of Britain.

There are only 12 airworthy Hurricanes left in the world, and the RAF's BBMF operates two of them.