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Action against a pilot for a breach of Schengen

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WhiskeyPapa wrote:

A couple years ago, I was arrested for illegal entry after a diversion that involved landing at a non-port of entry coming from non-Schengen into the Schengen zone. But ATC had proposed the alternate. After all tapes and my weather briefing (weather worse than forecast) were reviewed, it was clear I had acted appropriately and I got a fairly nominal fine for the border violation.

After the tapes and weather briefing were reviewed, you still got a fine (even if nominal)!? What country was this?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Airborne_Again wrote:

WhiskeyPapa wrote:
A couple years ago, I was arrested for illegal entry after a diversion that involved landing at a non-port of entry coming from non-Schengen into the Schengen zone. But ATC had proposed the alternate. After all tapes and my weather briefing (weather worse than forecast) were reviewed, it was clear I had acted appropriately and I got a fairly nominal fine for the border violation.

After the tapes and weather briefing were reviewed, you still got a fine (even if nominal)!? What country was this?

@WhiskeyPapa, please do name and shame. Actually, I would go further than that. I would submit a formal complaint to the European Commission regarding a breach of Articles 2, 6 and 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union.

To punish a pilot for saving his own life and his aircraft in those circumstances, as directed by ATC, is to threaten the lives of us all. Preventing such homicidal nonsense is precisely the role of the Commission, as guardian of the European treaties.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

@Jacko
It wasn’t that bad. The «fine” was roughly the amount I would have been charged for arranging the police to come to admit me with 72 hours advance notice.

That morning I had called to arrange such entry but there hadn’t been enough advance warning. So the airport manager (with whom I had spoken on the phone hours before) felt I had forced myself on them. He also felt that I had no chance of landing VFR at my planned destination. This alternate (not filed as such because not a port of entry) was directly on my planned route. So the airport’s view was I deserved to have the book thrown at me. It was when everything was reviewed that it was clear that:
1) I had relied on TAFs that were too optimistic
2) A VFR flight plan had been legimately filed for the route and ATC knew from the beginning what I was doing
3) My radio communications were frequent and clear with ATC about worsening conditions
4) I stayed out of IMC
5) ATC suggested the alternate (I had actually proposed returning to my departure point—the route back had better weather. I remember being delighted when the alternate was suggested because it hadn’t occurred to me to ask for it).

I can understand where the airport manager who called the police was coming from so I really didn’t feel resentment. It looked like I had been a scofflaw at first but by the end they became much friendlier.

Last Edited by WhiskeyPapa at 22 May 04:39
Tököl LHTL

@WhiskeyPapa
You still didn’t name the airport in question?

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

@MedEwok
Nope. You never know how people might take things and I prefer to remain friends with everyone. Although there’s no real blame in this case….

Last Edited by WhiskeyPapa at 22 May 09:07
Tököl LHTL

I quite understand.

So, Instead of naming and shaming (and risking reprisals from) a Schengen member state which levied a fine to deter pilots from diverting for safety reasons, let me give two accounts of how that sort of thing is dealt with in northern Britain.

1. On a flight plan and GAR from Sligo to Glenswinton (Scotland) in my newly-acquired Maule. After crossing the north channel Scot Info gave me the Corsock METAR. Wind was something like 240/18G30. Glenswinton is a one way strip, with landing runway 21. With the princely sum of 5 touch & go Maule landings in my log book I decided that I wasn’t man enough for that particular job. Told Scot Info I would divert to Kirkbride (England) due lack of cojones. Phoned Cumbria police next day to let them know… “thanks, no problem”.

2. On a FP and GAR from Annemasse to Glenswinton. Ran into some headwind, skirted around some CBs, and generally got behind schedule. Decided to drop in to Breighton for fuel and comfort break. Told Humberside ATC, landed, informed HMRC by email. Never heard a pip from them.

Perhaps this is just the flip side of the British surveillance society in which the security services have only to press a couple of keys to see who we are and what we do – as the song goes, every move you make, every breath you take, I’ll be watching you

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

WP,

I can understand your reluctance to name the airport.

Was the fine an administrative issue, or was it imposed by court?

Do you have a criminal record as a result?

If it was a local administrative issue, I can understand you accepting it, especially if it was similar to the cost of booking customs in advance.

If it involved going to court, and a criminal record, I’d be a lot more upset!

dp

EIKH Kilrush

Administrative, no further consequences after payment. Furthermore, it was close to what I would have payed for a preplanned landing.

Tököl LHTL

I understand, but I do not agree. To accept such a “penalty”, even just a ticking-off like a naughty puppy, is anathema to me – and probably to any other British or Irish citizen. I think it is pflicht to report it to the Commission, but I do understand that you may be afraid to do so. Perhaps that explains why many Brits voted, marginally and very reluctantly, to distance ourselves from our good friends in the Union for the time being.

For some European countries, it is perhaps too soon after totalitarian rule for us to share their point of view. For instance, the Republic of Poland has a fine Constitution whose Article 32 prohibits any form of discrimination. And yet, Polish officials are content to enforce a national law prohibiting any non-Polish EU resident from applying for a transit permit to export goods via Poland from the Customs Union. Yes really, you couldn’t make it up…

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

I moved the above posts out into a standalone thread, because this is a very valuable discussion, potentially affecting many European pilots.

Jacko – I suspect the reason it would not happen in the UK is because the police know they would lose the court case. The Captain has the authority to divert to anywhere. He may have to justify it afterwards but a prosecution is not going to be possible unless he just took the pi$$ (e.g. the wx was CAVOK over a vast area and everybody knew it). A diversion due to wx taking place over some remote area could never be prosecuted because they could not prove you were lying. Police here do lots of dumb things (like police do everywhere, occassionally, not having been recruited for an IQ above a certain figure) but they tend to not bother getting stuck into complicated stuff.

They sometimes give you a harrassing type of “interview” to make the point… I got that once after arriving from Jersey and having complied with erroneous instructions on the GAR form. They were completely uninterested in the GAR form mistake, but that is how the police work everywhere. In the UK, they will know they would lose the court case. I don’t think every European country is the same as that, however… plenty of past posts with examples.

However it could also be that since the UK has a real physical border, the UK police are more set up for watching radar and flight plans, whereas mainland Europe has no physical borders, schengen or no schengen. The only meaningful physical border on mainland Europe would be a mined strip with 24/7 patrols and shoot on sight

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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