Judicial authorities yesterday confiscated the helicopter of a man suspected of landing on a road in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水).
After questioning, the pilot, surnamed Chen (陳), was released on bail of NT$500,000 (US$17,262) as police investigate him on breaches of the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法).
On Sept. 13, Tamsui residents reported to police that a helicopter had landed and taken off from a road near buildings and trees, posing a danger to the public, while some people provided the authorities with photographs, enabling them to identify the aircraft as a US-made Robinson R22 helicopter.
The Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office said that flying the helicopter was illegal because no permit had been issued for it by the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
The pilot faces up to a five-year sentence and a fine of up to NT$1 million, prosecutors said.
Although no permit has been issued, aviation enthusiasts reportedly said the owners have been known to fly the R22 occasionally, although mostly in rural locations.
Aviation experts said that the civilian use of helicopters is strictly regulated.
There are only 15 sites approved for the take-off and landing of civilian aircraft, assuming that the pilots are licensed to fly their particular aircraft, have passed serveral stages of testing, perform the mandated safety checks, and keep required maintenance records, among other requirements.
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