AN experimental test pilot who completed a report into the fatal Clutha helicopter crash disputed the findings of a Eurocopter Airbus report.

Mark Prior, a former RAF pilot who is now a private consultant, gave evidence at the Clutha fatal accident inquiry at Hampden Park.

He told the court his findings contradict the conclusions made after test flights by a Eurocopter Airbus test pilot.

Mr Prior, being questioned by Gordon Lamont, for the Crown, said: "I do not believe that this report helps at all because the conclusions drawn are based on a false flight flown."

On the night of the helicopter's fatal flight, the Police Scotland aircraft travelled to Dalkeith, in Midlothian, before going on to Uddingston, Bothwell and Bargeddie.


Clutha type helicopter 'gave false readings'

At the Dalkeith section of the test flight, the Eurocopter pilot flew in what Mr Prior called an attempt at a "perfect circle" without taking into account wind conditions on the night of the Clutha crash, November 29, 2013.

Mr Prior added: "We are trying to compare apples and pears."

The pilot was also questioned by Shelagh McCall, QC, counsel for Lucy Thomas, the fiancee of Captain David Traill, who was killed in the crash.

Mr Prior said it was likely that Mr Traill had tried a manoeuvre called autorotation to try to slow the fall of the helicopter once its engines had flamed out.


Fuel system fault found after Clutha crash

The test pilot, with more than 40 years flying experience, said it was an "extremely demanding" skill.

Mr Prior was also questioned by the counsel for Airbus, saying again that the report did not take account of conditions of the night of the crash.

On the night of its final flight, Mr Traill, 51, flew with Police Scotland air observers PC Tony Collins, 43 and PC Kirsty Nelis, 36, to East Lothian before travelling to Uddingston, Bothwell and Bargeddie.

It is known that the helicopter gave out five low fuel warnings before it crashed. A low fuel warning should compel a pilot to land within 10 minutes.

Gary Arthur, 48, Joe Cusker, 59,Colin Gibson, 33, Robert Jenkins, 61, John McGarrigle, 58, Samuel McGhee, 56 and Mark O'Prey, 44, were killed in the bar.

The inquiry in front of Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull continues.