‘Flying was his passion’ say family of tragic plane crash pilot

Pilot, Bryan Allsop with his wife, Sylvia.
Pilot, Bryan Allsop with his wife, Sylvia.

The family of a light aircraft pilot who died in Apperknowle over the bank holiday weekend have said flying was ‘his passion’.

Bryan Allsop, 79, died after his Europa plane crashed into a field next to Summerley Airfield shortly after 1pm on Sunday.

Pilot, Bryan Allsop with his plane, Dolly.

Pilot, Bryan Allsop with his plane, Dolly.

A highly experienced pilot, Bryan had been flying light aircraft for 25 to 30 years and had been due to celebrate his 80th birthday this week.

Bryan’s stepson, Paul Stevens, 46, of Chesterfield, said: “Flying was his absolute passion. He would have flown every day if he could.

“His plane - Dolly - was his pride and joy.

“It makes us happy that he died doing something he loved.”

It makes us happy that he died doing something he loved.

Brian’s stepson, Paul Stevens

The accident is believed to have happened at the beginning of Bryan’s third flight of the day.

On the second flight, he dipped his wings for his wife Sylvia when he flew over their Walton home.

However, when he set off on his third, one of his fellow pilots on the ground could tell that something was wrong.

“He wasn’t picking up speed or height quickly enough,” said Paul.

The scene at Summerley Road, Apperknowle. Picture: Dan Hayes.

The scene at Summerley Road, Apperknowle. Picture: Dan Hayes.

“It was either crash land somewhere in Dronfield or bear left and into the field.

“He turned left, but because his engine had cut out he couldn’t do anything but nose dive into the field.”

Bryan hit the ground somewhere between 150 and 200 miles and hour - and was killed instantly.

Bryan’s wrecked plane has now been taken down to Hampshire for investigation - a process that could take many months.

The scene at Summerley Road, Apperknowle. Picture: Dan Hayes.

The scene at Summerley Road, Apperknowle. Picture: Dan Hayes.

In the meantime, Paul and Donna Russell, Bryan’s stepdaughter, are currently with their mum Sylvia ‘all the time’ - along with his daughter from his first marriage, Wendy.

In their torment, the family say the idea that Bryan may have averted a bigger disaster by avoiding houses on the ground has given them some solace.

As well as his stepchildren Paul and Donna and daughter Wendy, Bryan also had two sons from his first marriage - Steven and Gary - seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.