SA pilots fly home from Namibia after paying fines

2013-05-09 10:43

The 12 South African pilots arrested in Namibia for not having the correct flight documents have paid admission-of-guilt fines and were being allowed to leave the airport.

“Five of the 12 are in the air and the rest will be airborne before lunchtime. Everyone is safe and in better spirits. We’ve got the papers we requested,” pilot Ron Weissenberg told the Cape Times today.

The group of 20, including passengers, left South Africa on April 27 on a 16-day trip across Botswana and Namibia.

It was partly a holiday and partly to raise awareness and funds for the Cancer Association of SA, which endorsed the trip.

The pilots were arrested at Ondangwa Airport on Saturday, apparently because their flight documents were not in order. They were released early on Sunday morning.

Fresh charges were then laid against them, but they were not re-arrested.

They each paid a R400 fine, acquired the correct documentation and were give permission to leave.

The pilots reportedly got their papers from the Namibian Microlight Association, as many of the aircraft were light enough to be classed as microlights.

They believed they had the necessary documentation, but the documents did not include permits to overfly the country or to land.

According to The Cape Times, the Namibian Civil Aviation Authority said it intended simplifying the process for foreign private aircraft to enter the country.

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