Former RAF Halton apprentice killed in USA plane crash

Brian North with his homemade plane
Brian North with his homemade plane

A retired engineer who began his career at RAF Halton and lived in Aylesbury has died after a homemade plane he was flying crashed in America.

Brian North was flying a replica First World War SE5a bi-plane fighter aircraft he built in his garage when it came down and caught fire in Colorado.

Mr North completed an apprenticeship at RAF Halton in the 1950s and went on to become a wing commander, specialising in engineering, and travelled around working on Harriers.

Tributes have been paid to him on a professional pilots’ website. One user described Mr North as a ‘true gentleman, an excellent engineer and a fellow aviator’, while another said his death was ‘a sad loss to the world of light aviation’.

The accident, the cause of which is currently unknown, took place about a mile north of Front Range Airport in Adams County during a recreational flight on Wednesday, reports claim. Mr North was flying solo at the time.

Mr North is said to have spent years building the plane in the UK before shipping it to the United States about two years ago when he and his wife moved to Parker to live with their daughter, her husband and three grandchildren.

The crash will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Authority.