Taping pilot-ATC conversations a hobby, says detained Britons

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 20:32

New Delhi: A hobby has proved costly for two
British nationals detained at a posh hotel near the airport
here for allegedly recording conversations between aircraft
pilots and the Air Traffic Control (ATC).

The two British -- Stephen Hampston (46) and Steve Martin
(55) -- were detained by security officials along with hi-tech
gadgets from a room at Radisson hotel located in the periphery
of the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Official sources said the two British nationals had
called up the hotel from London before their trip to India
specifically demanding a room overlooking the airport.

"The investigators were shocked to find that they were
recording the conversation between pilots and the ATC which is
totally illegal," a senior Home Ministry official said.

The duo had checked in four days ago and were now being
questioned now by officials of security agencies. When
confronted about the recording, they told interrogators that
it was their hobby, raising serious security concern.

Sources said the duo, who were also believed to be
tracking the movement of flights arriving and departing from
the airport, were allegedly in possession of powerful
binoculars and other sophisticated equipment.
Delhi Police has been asked to find out the provisions
of the Indian Telegraph Act violated by the British nationals
and if so directed them to book the duo.

The British High Commission has been informed about their

Some blogs available on the internet put up the
conversation between pilots and the ATC.


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First Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 20:32

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