A pilot who took part in a gypsy funeral in Preston has apologised for his low flying actions.
Alarmed shoppers in Preston city centre called for help after witnessing the single-engined Cessna aeroplane flying over the 165ft high Guild Centre.
The plane, which was being flown by professional pilot, Mark Penarski, 31, of Avonhead Close, was trailing a banner in memory of the gypsy who had passed away.
The banner carried the name of the dead man and his date of birth.
Today Mr Penarskit said “I have flown hundreds of these things trailing banners from the aircraft and I am really sorry if I upset or caused any concerns to people on the ground. I had been carrying the banner in memory of the person whose funeral it was and there was a lot of mourners and police on the ground. I juist want to put this incident behind me.”
Appearing before magistrates Mr Penarski pleaded guilty to flying over the funeral for 40 minutes, ignoring strict safety rules not to go below 1,000ft. Mr Penarski, who is the son of ex-professional heaveyweight boxer Alex Penarski, pleaded guilty to breaking Rule 5(3)(c) RAR offence, was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,175 by Preston magistrates. During the incident, which happened in the middle of a weekday afternoon, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was able to use radar to track the plane, which took off from Blackpool Airport pulling the banner.
A CAA spokesman said that alarmed members of the public in the city centre saw the aircraft and were concerned. The aircraft was then recorded on radar to orbit the city centre and it was at not less than 700 feet for 40 minutes.