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Air crash inquest: Dad tells of family's huge loss
THE father of a young pilot who tragically died in a mid air crash has expressed the family's “huge loss” as a long awaited inquest began.
James Beagley, who lived in Marlow, died aged 34 near Coventry Airport in August 2008.
He was a passenger in a Cessna 402 aircraft which collided with a small solo-piloted plane.
His family have been fighting for answers ever since and an inquest finally started yesterday in Leamington, Warwickshire.
In total, five people lost their lives in the accident.
Alan Beagley told the inquest his son James had “absolutely adored” flying and had gained his full licence at just 21.
The retired helicopter pilot, of Strathcona Close, Flackwell Heath, said: “His death has been a huge loss, not only to myself and the family, but to many people who knew him.”
An aeronautical engineering graduate who studied at Kingston University in Surrey, James, or Jamie as he was better known, worked as a member of the ground crew at West London Aero Club.
He then joined the Reconnaissance Ventures Limited at Coventry Airport in 2007.
On the day of the accident he and his fellow crew members, including pilot Sophie Hastings, 28, from Woodville in Derbyshire, Sybille Gautrey, 33, of Towcester in Northamptonshire and John ‘Harvey’ Antrobus, 28, of Fillongley were undertaking instrument landing system calibration training for RVL.
Jamie had been offered a job as a first officer for Atlantic Airways and was due to start the following month.
The inquest heard from Geraint Herbert, a senior inspector for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, who described the findings of a report into the accident which was published in December 2010.
The Rand hit the Cessna side on at about 700ft, causing the latter’s right engine to explode as it travelled at a speed of 106 knots or about 120mph.
Investigators have identified several factors which contributed to the collision, which happened in Class G, or ‘uncontrolled airspace’ in which pilots are expected to take all possible measures to avoid other aircraft while air traffic controllers are expected to provide sufficient information to assist this.
The report says the likelihood or the crew of the Cessna being able to spot the Rand in time to carry out effective avoiding action was reduced by the small size of the kit plane, its position relative to the larger aircraft and the high rate of closure between the two.
It also says that insufficient and inaccurate information was provided to both pilots to assist them to avoid the collision, that the aerodrome controller’s sequencing plan, based on an incomplete understanding of the nature of the Cessna’s flight was unlikely to have been successful and there were no effective measures in place to give the larger aircraft priority over traffic in the visual circuit.
The inquest, for which a jury will return a verdict, is expected to be concluded by Friday or Monday and will include statements from eye witnesses, air traffic controllers, safety and medical experts and the group managing director for RVL.
Statements from family members of other victims have also been read so far.
The inquest continues.