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Lydia Schiavello’s Husband Andrew Norbury Says He ‘Nearly Died’ When His Private Jet Allegedly Malfunctioned Mid-Air; He Is Suing Plane’s Manufacturer As He Claims The Jet Was “Unairworthy”

Andrew Norbury, the husband of Real Housewives of Melbourne star Lydia Schiavello, is suing the company that made his private jet after he claimed it malfunctioned mid-flight in a terrifying high-altitude scare, according to News Corp Australia.

Norbury was reportedly flying the $4 million plane when it plummeted 2000 feet a second in April 2011, his lawyer Ian Freckelton QC alleged.

The plane was flying normally on a trip from Merimbula to Essendon Airport when it suddenly turned sharply, Freckelton told the court.

In an “extraordinary and life-threatening event” while it was cruising on autopilot, “the aircraft did something that it had never done before,” he said.

“It took a powerful, uncommanded turn to the left. One of his passengers was actually thrown out of his seat. Over 15 hair-raising minutes he was “able to wrest control of the aeroplane,” Freckelton said, according to News Corp Australia.

Freckelton claimed this was happening while the jet was “plummeting toward the ground.”

“He nearly died,” Freckelton said.

Andrew's purchase of a private plane “allowed everyone to attend meetings in a more timely and efficient way,” his lawyer said.

The private jet cost Norbury over $US4 million ($AU5.4 million) when he bought it in 2007 from Kansas-based Cessna Aircraft Company since renamed Textron Aircraft Inc.

He is also suing aerospace parts manufacturer Rockwell Collins Inc as part of the suit, which is claiming breach of warranty as well incidental costs.

The lawyer acting for Textron, Hamish Austin QC, argued it was Norbury’s “basic airmanship” that was at fault. He claimed there had been no reported problems for four years prior to the incident and two test flights afterwards with no identified problems, reported News Corp Australia.

He said the flight was “bookended” by two “striking facts.”

“There was never a problem before and there hasn’t been a problem since. What it will boil down to though is this: The pilot should have hand-flown the aircraft, instead of leaving it to the autopilot.”

The lawyer acting for Rockwell Collins, Peter Wallis, also argued the pilot’s flying had been at fault.

“Mr. Norbury believes that he is very competent pilot,” he said. “It is human nature … to rate oneself higher than is warranted in all circumstances.”

However, the following day, both parties returned to court to try to settle the lawsuit. On Tuesday, Norbury’s lawyer Gideon Boas told the court the jet was “unairworthy”.

“The evidence will be that it is worthless,” he said, according to News Corp Australia. “No sane person would get back in that aircraft or fly it again. It may well have scrap value.”

Norbury has not felt comfortable flying the plane since the 2011 incident, his lawyer told the court on Tuesday.

Mr Norbury is a successful architect and head of much-awarded architecture firm METIER3 as well a property developer, and is worth a reported $50 million. He has made several cameo appearances on RHOMelbourne since his wife joined the Foxtel hit reality series when it first premiered in February 2014.

Photo Credit: News Limited