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Pilot ‘overloaded plane so he could pocket £1,000’

Crash landing: The plane in a field near the M62 PICTURES: MEN

A ‘GREEDY’ pilot caused a crash that injured three passengers by ‘grossly’ overloading his light aircraft so he could make £1,000, a court heard yesterday.

Robert Murgatroyd (below) was hired in 2017 to fly three birdwatchers to the Outer Hebrides from City Airport in Greater Manchester.

But the jury heard his four-seater Piper Cherokee was overloaded by 29st — 50 per cent above capacity — due to the weight of the ‘large’ men, their luggage and his ‘brimming’ fuel tanks. He turned around soon after take-off — crossing over the M62.

As the plane struggled, he was heard to say: ‘There’s not enough power — we’re not going to make it’, Manchester crown court was told. It then clipped a tree and came down in a field.

Murgatroyd told police he was a ‘hero’ like the pilot in the 2009 landing of a US Airways jet on New York’s Hudson River.

The 52-year-old denies charges that include endangering the safety of a person and an aircraft. The trial continues.