Bass Strait pilot’s plea bargain

Lawyers are plea bargaining over the fate of a New South Wales man who crashed a plane off Tasmania’s north-east coast in 2013.

Newcastle man Shayd Hector has been charged with one count of reckless operation of an aircraft, one count of flying an aircraft without a licence, and one count of acting as a pilot of an aircraft having consumed alcoholic liquor during the eight hours immediately preceding departure.

Mr Hector has pleaded not guilty and is expected to face a hearing on November 8 in the Launceston Magistrates Court.

But the court heard on Thursday that his NSW lawyer Spencer Ferrier and Commonwealth prosecutor Ian Arendt had had numerous “meaningful” discussions over what course of action to take.

In July, it was revealed that the latter two charges against Mr Hector were likely to be dropped.

Magistrate Sharon Cure has arranged for the both sides of the bench to meet in court again on November 1 to discuss the matte further.

“If it settles, I’ll be able to vacate the hearing date,” she said.

Mr Hector and his passenger Joel Nelson flew an ultralight aircraft out of Bridport in October 2013, en route for Flinders Island.

The journey took a turn for the worse when they ran into engine trouble at altitude over the Bass Strait.

They crashed north-east of Bridport and needed to rescued.

They suffered minor injuries.