THE pilot of the death crash police helicopter which slammed through the Clutha Vaults pub roof in Glasgow was a "safe pair of hands" and a "stickler" for rules, an inquiry heard.

Alistair Rennie, a Police Scotland air observer who gave the view,  was on the helicopter on missions less than eight hours before colleagues Kirsty Nelis and Tony Collins became among ten who died in the crash.

Giving evidence to the fatal accident inquiry he said he was not aware of any issues with the Police Scotland G-SPAO before it came down in November, 2013.

In October 2015 a report from the Air Accident Investigations Branch revealed pilot error and found fuel pumps in the Eurocopter EC135 were turned off.

READ MORE: Clutha FAI: Operator of doomed helicopter stopped relying on low-fuel self-reporting by pilots after crash

The inquiry has previously heard from the AIB that five low fuel warnings came on in the cockpit, yet the helicopter continued with missions to the east of Glasgow. A “caution and advisory display” would have shown how much fuel was in the main tank, the left supply tank and the right supply tank.

Mr Rennie told the inquiry: "He was very much a safe pair of hands, is how I would describe Captain Traill. He was extremely capable, extremely confident and entirely one who would not cut corners do things as they should be done."

He agreed his police observer colleagues who died in the crash were both diligent and knowledgable.

At an earlier hearing Inspector Nicholas Whyte said that police air observers Kirsty Nelis and Tony Collins, who died in the crash, would never ignore red warning lights.

Mr Whyte, then a sergeant with the Air Support Unit, said the procedure that should have been followed states the aircraft land within 10 minutes of a warning.

Donald Findlay, QC for the family of victim Robert Jenkins, in asking about Mr Traill said: "Some people in jobs are sticklers for rules, detail and so on.   At the other end of that scale, some people are gung ho about the rules and don't pay much attention to them but get on with the practicalities. Where would you put Capt Traill on that spectrum?"Mr Rennie said: "Stickler."

"Stickler?", asked Mr Findlay.

"I would say so," replied Mr Rennie.

Asked why he would say that, Mr Rennie added: "It is my general observation of him."

Mr Rennie said if a red low fuel warning light had been displayed in a helicopter he was in, he would not ignore it.

And asked if he would expect a satisfactory explanation from the pilot, if he seemed to be ignoring a warning light, he said: "Yes, but I would anticipate that it would not be ignored though."

Mr Findlay asked: "Knowing Mr Traill as you did, you would have expected him to take action specifically over a warning?"
Mr Rennie said: "Very much so."

Earlier, the inquiry heard that there was a problem found with the fuel system of the crash helicopter four months before the tragedy.

It had previously heard that Eurocopter Deutschland, run by Airbus, had been alerted to issues with water contaminating the fuel supply of the EC135 in 2003, 10 years before the crash and that 680 fuel sensors had been returned in the six years leading up to the fatal crash because of reported “misreadings” on aircraft caution advisory displays.

The inquiry was shown a technical log for the doomed G-SPAO that revealed that four months before the crash, fuel content indicators were seen as "inaccurate".
It showed that a fuel sensor in the main tank had been replaced.

Pilot David Traill, 51; PC Tony Collins, 43; and PC Kirsty Nelis, 36, died along with seven customers who were in the bar, Gary Arthur, 48; Joe Cusker, 59; Colin Gibson, 33; Robert Jenkins, 61; John McGarrigle, 58; Samuel McGhee, 56; and Mark O'Prey, 44. 
The inquiry before Principal Sheriff Craig Turnbull at Hampden Park continues.