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Last Updated: Monday, 1 September, 2003, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Pilot 'made unforgiveable error'
The scene of the crash in 2001
The plane caused severe damage to the house it landed on
A brain surgeon who crashed his plane into a house near a Sussex airport had miscalculated how much fuel he had on board, a court has been told.

Chichester Crown Court heard Donald Campbell, who is accused of endangering safety, had wrongly converted US gallons into litres and ran out of fuel as a result.

The 54-year-old was flying into Shoreham Airport near Brighton in April 2001 when the crash happened.

His twin-engine Piper Seneca plane came down in a street near the airport, partially demolishing the house on which it landed.

'Miscalculated conversion'

The family who lived in the house in West Street were out at the time.

The court heard Mr Campbell, from Battle in East Sussex, was flying from Sheffield in Yorkshire to Shoreham.

The prosecution said Mr Campbell had made an error when filling his US-manufactured plane with fuel before take-off, apparently miscalculating the conversion from US gallons into litres.

The court heard as a result he set off with 23 gallons, instead of 30 gallons of fuel.

Mr Campbell was described as "negligent" and the jury was told it was "unforgivable" to run out of fuel when flying over a residential area.

Mr Campbell denies endangering the safety of an aircraft and endangering the safety of any person or property.

The case continues.

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