Joyriding US Air Force Pilot
In Ireland many young drivers have been justifiably prosecuted for joyriding offences under the Road Traffic Act. On Tuesday 18th May we had a form of joyriding not seen before in Ireland, but there is unlikely to be any prosecution.
The joyriding was in the skies over Ireland, sometimes at heights of close to 3,000 feet. A US Air Force pilot in charge a massive C17A Globemaster III aircraft took what appears to be an unscheduled sightseeing flight path along by the Cliffs of Moher and over Galway Bay, before heading inland over Longford at a level of 8,000 feet and lower. It then flew on to Casement Aerodrome where it landed. The pilot informed Air Traffic Control that: “I am a native of Longford, Ireland and so we are just giving everybody out here a little hello from us."
When taking off from Casement Aerodrome he was seen to carry out a wing waving manoeuvre or salute as he was ascending into the busy air traffic route on the approaches to Dublin Airport. The plane then went on to Prestwick Airport in Scotland.
This reckless behaviour begs many questions.
- Did this conduct by this pilot amount to joyriding while in charge of a military aircraft?
- Was this flight path involving additional fuel consumption approved by his USAF superiors?
- Was the landing in breach of Ireland’s neutrality at Casement Aerodrome approved in advance by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and by the Department of Defence, and if so why?
- If the destination of this aircraft was Prestwick in Scotland, why did it land in Casement Aerodrome, which has no facilities for providing technical assistance for a C17 aircraft?
- Why did Shannon Air Traffic Control allow this aircraft to descend to such low levels including into uncontrolled Irish airspace?
Further information on the joyriding US Air Force pilot's wandering through Irish airspace is available on a Longford Leader article from last Wednesday.