Trevor Roche flying at the air show|
A FORMER RAF pilot and Gulf War veteran was killed yesterday when his “jinxed” plane crashed in front of 600 spectators at a military air show.
The pilot, Trevor Roche, was flying a 1923 de Havilland DH53 Humming Bird, one of the world’s rarest planes, when he lost control and crashed in a field just 300 yards from onlookers.
Mr Roche, in his 40s, was taking part in the Military Pageant Airshow at Old Warden Aerodrome, home to the Shuttleworth Collection of vintage planes, near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.
According to the trust website, the plane, first built in 1923 and rebuilt in 1960, had a history of problems.
It was damaged during a forced landing caused by engine failure in 1980 and did not fly again until 1989 when, after another engine failure, it was grounded.
However, the engine was replaced in 2000 and following test flights the following year it was put back into service.
Mr Roche died instantly in the crash after the engine of the monoplane with a 30ft wingspan started to stutter minutes into the flight at about 9.45am. No one else was injured.
Organisers immediately cancelled the event and the Air Accident Investigation Bureau have opened an investigation.
Mr Roche, a former chief pilot for the Shuttleworth Collection, had flown for them since 1995.
He served in the Gulf War as an RAF Tornado pilot before becoming a commercial pilot with British Airways, which saw him take control of Boeing 767s and 777s.
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