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AIR CRASH INQUEST OPENS 4 YEARS ON.

Byline: Duncan Gibbons NEWS REPORTER

AN INQUEST into the deaths of five people in a mid-air collision near Coventry gets underway next week.

The horror crash near Coombe Abbey Country Park in August 2008 involved a twin-engined Cessna 402 and a Rand KR2 kit plane.

All four people on board the Cessna were killed, including Harvey Antrobus, a 28-year-old former Bablake School pupil, of Shawbury Lane, Fillongley, and 34-year-old James Beagley, of Broad Street, Warwick.

Along with pilot Sybille Gautrey, aged 33, of Towcester, and Sophie Hastings, aged 28, from Swadlingcote, they all worked for Bagintonbased aerial survey company Reconnaissance Ventures Limited (RVL). The fifth victim was ex-RAF pilot Brian Normington, aged 70, of Blackdown, Leamington, who was at the controls of his self-built kit plane. He had 40 years' experience as a pilot and was a member of Coventry's Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Flying Group.

A jury inquest into the five deaths starts at Warwickshire Justice Centre, in Newbold Terrace, Leamington, on Monday, and is set to last two weeks.

Both planes were trying to land at Coventry Airport when the accident happened.

Both aircraft came down towards the front of Coombe Abbey - one to the right and one in Birchley Wood.

Witnesses said it appeared the Cessna pilot managed to steer the stricken aircraft away from nearby homes before it came down.

In 2010, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said both planes had been correctly maintained and serviced, and both pilots were properly licensed.

Its official accident report said the collision occurred because the "respective pilots either did not see the other aircraft, or did not see it in time to take effective avoiding action."

It said a contributory factor was that "insufficient or inaccurate information was provided to the pilots" by air traffic controllers at Coventry Airport who had an "incomplete understanding" of the nature of the flight of the Cessna, which was engaged in flight calibration training.

The report said: "By the time the risk of a collision was identified, it was too late to devise an effective method of resolving the situation."

Further factors included the small size of the kit plane, the speed of the aircraft and the fact both planes were in uncontrolled airspace, it added.

The AAIB urged the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure air traffic controllers complied with a requirement to ensure a "safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic."

CAPTION(S):

CRASH SCENE: Wreckage from the Cessna and victims (left-right) James Beagley, Brian Normington and Harvey Antrobus
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 3, 2012
Words:418
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