Tributes paid to Panshanger taught pilot who died in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 11:33 23 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:54 23 April 2015

David Jenkins was a member of the Wildcat Aeronautics display team. Photo: Wildcat Aerobatics/PA Wire

David Jenkins was a member of the Wildcat Aeronautics display team. Photo: Wildcat Aerobatics/PA Wire

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A champion aerobatics pilot who learnt to fly at Panshanger Aerodrome has died during a practice display.

David Jenkins died when the Edge 360 plane he was flying crashed at Old Buckenham Airfield in Norfolk yesterday (Wednesday).

Mr Jenkins, who was born in 1953, was participating in a media event to promote this year’s Old Buckenham Airshow.

Mr Jenkins, a member of the Wildcat Aerobatics display team, failed to recover from a spin and onlookers watched in horror as the plane crashed to the ground.

Police confirmed that despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Mr Jenkins died at the scene.

A statement on the Wildcat’s website said: “It is with great sadness that Wildcat Aerobatics confirm the death of David Jenkins - “Wildcat 3”.

“David was killed during an aerobatic practice at Old Buckenham airfield on Wednesday 22 April 2015. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has been informed.”

It adds: “David joined Wildcat Aerobatics in 2013, to bring a new dynamic to our existing two ship display by flying his Edge alongside our two Pitts Specials. We were honoured to fly alongside him.

“David was highly respected on the ground and in the air and will be greatly missed.

“His family and friends are very much in our thoughts and we ask that you respect everyone’s privacy at this difficult time.”

Peter Spencer, secretary of the Fersfield Flying Group, based in south Norfolk, said: “He was a wonderful pilot. I first joined the air group 22 years ago and he was my hangar neighbour and he was always there for advice and support.

“He welcomed me into the group and he was a good friend.”

Mr Jenkins was introduced to flying at Panshanger when he was a teenager.

After a career in fibre optics he was persuaded to get his private pilots licence by a work colleague.

He has been flying aerobatics for over 10 years and was a regular competitor across the UK.

He was the British Advanced National Champion in both 2012 and 2013 and the British Standard Aerobatics Champion in 2005.

Did you know Mr Jenkins? You can pay your tributes below or by contacting the newsdesk on 01707 375 676.

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