Sky pilot has his wings clipped

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The Independent Online
The Word of God is commonly thought to come down from the heavens, but one ardent evangelist found himself in court after his attempt to preach from on high.

John Holme, a Pentecostal lay preacher, took to the skies with a paramotor - a foot-launched, motor- powered paraglider - strapped to his back, but only managed to reach a cruising height of 20ft. A gust of wind sent him flying off course straight through a housing estate, where he narrowly missed several trees, a couple of chimneys and a bird table.

The 39-year-old computer software sales manager said yesterday: "I wanted to try and get through to kids on council estates and I needed something with some cred. I thought maybe if they heard this voice booming out of the sky they would think it was God."

Unfortunately for Mr Holme, the magistrates of Salisbury did not see it that way and he was fined pounds 1,050 with pounds 250 costs for breaking three CAA regulations relating to flying too low in a built-up area and without airport authority.

But it will take more than a fine to quell the evangelical zeal of Mr Holme. "You must bring the word of God to the people by moving with the times," he said.

"I had been preaching from a converted double-decker bus and had been thinking of using a hot air balloon and a loud speaker instead.

"The experience has not put me off. I have had other goes over fields since and I am determined to get a pilot's licence. I believe it is an exciting way of spreading the word of God."

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