The former boss of an RAF base who was caught driving a Highland road at 105mph kept his driving licence yesterday.
Retired Group Captain Robert “Robbie” Noel, who was commander at RAF Kinloss from 2008 to 2010, appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court and admitted a charge of careless driving.
He was fined £600 and had his licence endorsed with six penalty points.
A mobile speed patrol clocked Noel, who was made an OBE in 2006, travelling at excessive speed on a stretch of the A832 at Achanalt, near Achnasheen. A sheriff recently described it as taking over from Daviot on the A9 as “the most notorious speed trap” in the Highlands.
The offence occurred about 9.48am on August 17 last year when Noel was taking one of his two sons from their home in Victoria Road, Forres, to the Isle of Skye for a day trip, the court was told.
Defending, Willie Young told Sheriff David Sutherland that his 49-year-old client’s driving licence was essential to him.
He said: “He was taking his son to Skye for a day trip. The journey had been a slow one and he was concerned about the manner of driving of a car behind him. There was also a vehicle in front and he elected to overtake it to put some distance between him and the car behind.
“His car had an economy mode and he switched to sports mode to carry out the manoeuvre. With the benefit of hindsight, he should have pulled over and let the vehicle pass.”
Mr Young explained to the sheriff that Noel set up his own company providing consultancy to the defence sector. He added that Noel was also one of three directors in a second company providing consultancy to the private sector and his requirement to drive was essential to the business.”
Mr Young asked the court not to impose a disqualification.
Group Captain Noel was commander at the Moray base, where he spent 14 of his 23 year RAF career, for two years. He returned to Kinloss in 2008 following his appointment as assistant director (air) in the Directorate of Joint Commitments with MoD.
Gp Capt Noel was the last officer commanding 206 Squadron and over saw its disbandment in April 2005 during the Government military drawdown which cut the Nimrod MR2 force by 25%. He then took on the role of commanding officer of Operations Wing at the Moray base where he was responsible for the delivery of Nimrod aircraft capability overseas while maintaining its UK operational commitment.