MONTAUBAN, FR – A French court has convicted a pilot of manslaughter in a 2018 incident that resulted in the death of a wingsuit flyer. The pilot, who was also operating the aircraft without a valid license, collided with the skydiver moments after he leaped from the plane.
The victim, 40-year-old Nicholas Galy, was an accomplished aeronautical engineer and skydiver. According to Le Parisien, the incident occurred over the French countryside, and the Montauban criminal court delivered the verdict this week.
The pilot, identified in previous reports as Alain C, received a 12-month suspended sentence and a one-year prohibition from flying. Before his retirement, Alain C was the chief pilot at the Midi-Pyrénées Skydiving School Association.
During a hearing on September 19, Emmanuelle Franck, the lawyer for Galy’s family, criticized the pilot’s “recklessness or negligence.” The court’s president also mentioned a communication breakdown between the pilot and Galy.
At the time of the accident, the single-engine plane was ferrying Galy, another wingsuit flyer, and several parachutists over the Bouloc-en-Quercy region. Wingsuit flyers, who wear webbing-sleeved jumpsuits, can glide in the air for longer periods than regular skydivers.
The fatal incident occurred when Galy, the last to jump from the plane, was hit by the aircraft as the pilot began a rapid descent. The plane’s flight path was not discussed with the wingsuit flyers, leading to the collision with Galy, his subsequent death, and the automatic deployment of his emergency parachute.
A camera attached to another wingsuit flyer’s helmet captured the event used in the investigation. The pilot maintained his innocence in court, arguing that he was not responsible for Galy’s death and that the flight path was reasonable given the straight-line trajectory of wingsuit flyers.