Nuisance aviator Florin Olteanu had plagued residents of Hayling Island by repeatedly flying his paramotor – a paraglider wing with a petrol-driven propeller – over the coast and above premises.
His aerial antics sparked complaints from across the island, prompting a major investigation by Havant Borough Council, Hampshire police and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The 48-year-old builder reportedly ignored repeated warnings from the authorities to stop his illegal flying over Hayling.
The Romanian national, of Devonshire Square, Southsea, was fined £3,000 for his actions.
But speaking to The News, Mr Olteanu insisted he had done nothing wrong and claimed his flights had all taken place above the coast – not near properties, which had been claimed by authorities.
Now the 48-year-old has vowed to appeal his conviction. He said: ‘I’m looking to appeal against the conviction. I need to look for a very good lawyer to get into this.
‘I’m not continuing to fly for now. But I will take them to the highest court and then I will fly again.’
Mr Olteanu said he has been flying for more than two years and has a paragliding and paramotor licence.
The amateur pilot pleaded not guilty to breaching any of the aviation rules but was prosecuted by magistrates for flying at a height less than 500ft above the ground and water.
He added his £3,000 fine had been a massive blow, following two years of Covid heartache, which has seen his income plummet.
‘I feel very bad,’ he added. ‘My income was less than £4,000 last year because of Covid-19.
‘Of course I will pay [the fine] a little bit at a time. But I’m going to appeal to the highest court. I was flying above the water. I was doing nothing wrong.’
A spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: ‘Mr Olteanu refused to heed warnings from the Havant Borough Council and flew his paramotor low along the beach and seashore, close to people and buildings, repeatedly.
‘We would like to thank the witnesses who provided the witness and photographic evidence in this case and gave up their time to come to court to give evidence at trial.
‘The rules in relation to low flying are clear and exist for the safety of everyone, and the Civil Aviation Authority will prosecute those who break the rules.’
Mr Olteanu was found to be in contravention of SERA.5005(f)(2), and Article 256(6) of the Air Navigation Order 2016 which resulted in a fine of £1,500. He must also pay £1,500 court costs and a victim surcharge of £150.