Archive | February 12, 2009

McCrae Flying Licence expired

February 12, 2009

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Former rally world champion Colin McRae’s flying licence was out of date when he crashed his helicopter in woodland near Lanark on 15 September 2007, just 150yards from the family home, after he was returning from a short trip to a friend’s farm. Colin (39), his son Johnny (5), and two family friends, Graeme Duncan (37) and Ben Porcelli (6) died in the crash.

In a statement, Mark and Karen Porcelli (the parents of Ben) said: “We are relieved that the AAIB report has finally been published. The cause of the crash is clearly outlined in the report. Most of the flight was captured on video and it is clearly evident that unnecessary risks were taken and that the accident was completely avoidable.”

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report into the tragedy found no cause could be positively determined. The report said disorientation, misjudgement, distraction, or other factors, may have led to this deviation. The investigation also highlighted something referred to as the “servo transparency phenomenon” which the Eurocopter company, who made the helicopter, has advised “may give a pilot who is not aware of this phenomenon an impression that the controls are jammed”.

The report made four safety recommendations including a tightening of licensing and proficiency check procedures. It also recommended that Eurocopter reviewed its information and advice about the servo transparency phenomenon. The report also said that Mr McRae’s five-year flying licence had expired in February 2005 and he was also not authorised to fly the type Eurocopter Squirrel helicopter he was operating as his “valid type rating” had lapsed in March 2007. It added: “The investigations into the pilot’s licensing history revealed several cases, between 2004 and the time of the accident, of non-compliance with existing regulations.”  The AAIB said that when Mr McRae had flown from Scotland to London in March 2006 he would have known his type rating had expired since the purpose of the flight was to meet with an examiner to renew it.

Speaking on behalf of the McRae family, Colin’s father Jimmy said: “The AAIB report, in line with the findings of our own experts, has been unable to reach any firm conclusions on the accident and it is therefore extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that we will never know the actual cause of the crash. It has been confirmed by the instructors, examiners and fellow pilots with whom he flew, that Colin’s skills as a helicopter pilot were of the highest order. This has been a very sad and distressing time for us, as it has been for the Porcelli and Duncan families, and we would now like to draw a line under this tragic affair.”

The McRae family’s solicitor, Mr Peter Watson, said: “We acknowledge that the report recognises the fact that, whilst Colin’s licence was out of date, this was not a contributory factor in the accident. Colin first qualified during the transitional period whilst the British lifetime licence system was being replaced by the European Joint Aviation Requirements five year licence and this caused considerable confusion.” He added, “We welcome the fact that the AAIB have made several safety recommendations as a consequence of this crash and that operators of this aircraft – the Eurocopter AS350B2 Squirrel – should now be informed by the manufacturer as to certain hazards and recovery actions relating to the operation of the craft.”

Source: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Colin-McRae-Helicopter-Crash-Rally-Champion-Driver-Lacked-Valid-Flying-Licence/Article/200902215221466?lpos=UK_News_First_UK_News_Article_Teaser_Region_1&lid=ARTICLE_15221466_Colin_McRae_Helicopter_Crash%3A_Rally_ ; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7884088.stm?lss

The Full AAIB Report can be downloaded here: McCrae AAIB Report

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Deloitte Football Rich List published

February 12, 2009

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Deloitte’s Football Money League, based on financial information for the 2007/08 season, features seven English clubs in the top 20 positions. Although Real Madrid are top and Manchester United in second place, Dan Jones (partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte) said: “If the exchange rate value of the pound had not depreciated, there would have been nine, rather than seven English clubs in the top 20 and Manchester United would have topped the Money League ahead of Real Madrid,”

The list’s authors said that this year’s Money League is based on figures available largely before the global economic downturn started. “Whilst next year’s Money League will show some early signs of how the changing economic environment is affecting the game’s top clubs, it will not be until 2009/10 that there is a fuller picture of the impact,” However, Paul Rawnsley, director in the Sports Business Group, said: “The unique nature of the football industry will enable major clubs to be relatively resistant to the economic downturn. Clubs’ match attendances are holding up well and clubs in each of England, Germany, France and Spain have TV deals secured well into the future at enhanced levels. Despite the challenging economic environment, the Premier League has just secured a record value for live domestic broadcast rights for the seasons 2010/11 to 2012/13, up 4% to £1.782bn. Given the worldwide popularity of the Premier League there is likely to be further uplift in value from overseas rights when they are marketed later this year.”

The Top Ten Clubs are:

  1. Real Madrid: £289.6m
  2. Man Utd: £257.1m
  3. Barcelona: £244.4m
  4. Bayern Munich: £233.8m
  5. Chelsea: £212.9m
  6. Arsenal: £209.3m
  7. Liverpool: £167m
  8. AC Milan: £165.8m
  9. AS Roma: £138.9m
  10. Inter Milan: £136.9m

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7884780.stm

The Full Deloitte List can be found at: http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/article/0,1002,cid=246693,00.html?WT.mc_id=uk_homeflash_read_fml2009

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Spanish rider, Valverde, called before doping inquiry

February 12, 2009

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The BBC reports that: Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde has been summoned to appear before a prosecutor in Italy next week as part of an anti-doping inquiry. He is to be questioned after samples he gave at last year’s Tour de France matched DNA from files of Spain’s long-running Operation Puerto doping probe.

Later, Valverde said he had not heard from the Italian Olympic Committee’s (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor but insisted he would be happy to appear before CONI.

A Spanish court closed the Puerto investigation into a blood doping ring last year after concluding that no criminal offences had been committed, although Spanish media last month reported it could be reopened. Valverde, who topped the world rankings last year, took part in the 2007 World Championships despite world governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI) trying to prevent his participation because of his links to the Puerto affair. If found guilty of a doping offence, he could face a two-year ban.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/cycling/7884562.stm

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Nadal complains about new Drug Testing regime

February 12, 2009

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Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, seems to be leading criticism against the procedure adopted by the ATP Tennis Tour, which signed the World Anti-Doping agency (WADA) protocol last year.

“It is not fair to have persecution like that,” Nadal said at the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam, “They make you feel like a criminal. Not even my mother knows where I am every day. It is very difficult to know where you are going to be tomorrow especially in a sport like tennis. Sure we want to be an Olympic sport, but I think we don’t want to pay a price like this for an Olympic sport,”

Source: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/12022009/58/nadal-re-treated-criminals.html

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