THE Red Arrows jet formation team was forced into a mid-air U-turn when a pilot gatecrashed their display above stately Chatsworth House.
Peter Furnival brought the show to a halt when he unwittingly flew a small light aircraft into the temporarily-restricted area at 1,500ft, Chesterfield Magistrates heard.
“The Red Arrows had a visual sighting of the unknown aircraft and they had to break off the display to prevent any serious incident,” said Joseph Hart, prosecuting for the Civil Aviation Authority.
“The aircraft remained in the area for about five minutes and then swept around and came out of the restricted zone. The display then re-started.”
Furnival, aged 59, hired a plane on September 3 last year at Burton-on-Trent and, without checking notices warning about flying restrictions, set off.
He said: “I saw the Red Arrows in the distance and my immediate thought was, ‘What on earth are they doing here? The shock was unbelievable. I haven’t flown since - my confidence is shattered.
“I made a fatal error. I can only say I am sorry and it will never happen again.”
Furnival, a self-employed carpenter from Walsall, admitted being the commander of an aircraft which flew into restricted airspace in breach of the Civil Aviation Act pertaining to jet formation display teams.
Magistrates were shown radar images of his mid-air brush with the Red Arrows and fined him £600, with £650 costs, saying it must have been a distressing experience for all concerned.