Tributes paid to man killed in plane crash

Air crash
Air crash

Tributes have been paid to a Selston man who was killed when the plane he was flying in crashed into a field at the side of the M1 in Watnall.

Robert ‘Alan’ Eaves (76) was killed along with John Gill (70), of Belper, after their Cessna F150L light aircraft crashed on Saturday June 14 between junctions 26 and 27 of the motorway.

The pair, who died at the scene, were both ‘valued members’ of Hucknall’s Merlin Flying Club, which owned the plane.

Cllr Gail Turner, a member of Selston Parish Council who knew Alan, described how he had played a pivotal part in the Selston Area Residents’ Association, set up to fight a landfill proposal at Bentinck.

“Alan was a good friend of mine and all the members of the Selston Area Residents’ Association,” said Cllr Turner. “All the members of the group are totally shocked by what has happened and our thoughts are with Pat his wife, who is quite an incredible lady too.

“We will all miss him greatly. He was good fun and we will miss that sense of humour. His loss is a loss to the village - he did a lot for the village and he never sought glory for it.

“He was part of the team for years, right up to the day we won our battle and was instrumental in researching air pollution and the effects of particulate matter on people, which formed a major part of our objection.”

Coun Turner said Alan also liked art and was a member of Selston Art Club and enjoyed hill walking and going on walking trips to Norway.

“Alan also loved his flying and when he retired from his job at Rolls-Royce he became a member of Merlin Flying Club.

“He was an intelligent man who lived a very full life.”

Both men were experienced pilots and were flying recognised circuits at the time of the accident.

A post mortem examination, which took place on Tuesday June 17, ruled out any medical condition contributing to the crash.

A full investigation is under way buy the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).