Norfolk

Killed Old Buckenham pilot David Jenkins was a British champion

David Jenkins Image copyright Wildcat Aerobatics
Image caption Pilot David Jenkins, who died in the crash, was an aerobatic champion

A pilot who died during an airshow launch had twice held the British advanced aerobatics title, it has emerged.

Oxford University-educated David Jenkins died when his Edge 360 plane crashed at the Old Buckenham airfield on Wednesday.

Mr Jenkins, from Stanton, Suffolk, was in his 60s and first flew as a teenager in Welwyn Garden City.

It is understood Mr Jenkins' next of kin has been informed of his death.

Norfolk Police were called after witnesses reported the aircraft falling suddenly to the ground.

The investigation into what happened will be handed over to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and a file into the death of Mr Jenkins will be prepared for the coroner.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The area was cordoned off following the crash

Mr Jenkins was a member of the Wildcat Aerobatic Team, based at Old Buckenham Airfield, near Attleborough, where the event was taking place.

He was named British Advanced Champion in 2012 and 2013 and had won more than 40 medals in aerobatic competitions.

Mr Jenkins was a member of the UK team at the 2012 aerobatic world championships.

Adrian Willis, a close friend of Mr Jenkins and a chief instructor with the British Aerobatic Academy, said: "We are all really, really sad. He (Mr Jenkins) was a really top bloke.

Image caption Chief instructor with the British Aerobatic Academy Adrian Willis paid tribute to his friend Mr Jenkins

"He helped others and spent his time generously."

Alan Cassidy, chairman of the British Aerobatics Association, said Mr Jenkins was a "great mentor" adding: "Dave helped people whenever he could.

"He was a very experienced pilot and a genuine and thoroughly nice man. It is a tragic loss."

He said the cause of the crash was not yet known.

Image copyright Geograph/Adrian S Pye
Image caption The plane was operating from Old Buckenham Airfield in Norfolk

Even if Mr Jenkins had been wearing a parachute, said Mr Cassidy, he was flying too close to the ground at the time to have deployed it in time.

"If you fly these aeroplanes in this kind of way, some of the margins of safety you expect in everyday life will be reduced a little bit."

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