Tributes have been flooding in for Selston pilot Alan Eaves, who was tragically killed after the aircraft he was in plummeted to the ground.
Mr Eaves, 76, and John Gill, 70, of Belper, died at the scene near junction 26 of the M1, after their aircraft fell from the sky.
Neil Perkins, a member of the long-running Hucknall-based Merlin Flying Club of which both men were members, said the club had been left shocked and saddened.
He said: “The club is deeply distressed by this tragic accident.
“The club want to send our sincere condolences to the families of the two people who died. John and Alan were two valued members of the club and we are all saddened by this loss.”
Selston parish councillor Gail Turner also paid tribute to Mr Eaves, of Mansfield Road.
She said Mr Eaves had played a pivotal part in the Selston Area Residents’ Association, set up to fight a landfill proposal at Bentinck.
She said: “Alan was a good friend of mine and all the members of the Selston Area Residents’ Association. 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.
“He was instrumental in researching air pollution and the effects of particulate matter on people, which formed a major part of our objection.
“Alan was an intelligent man who liked art and was a member of Selston Art Club. He was very fit and enjoyed hill walking, and going on walking trips to Norway.
“Alan lived a very full life. He loved his flying and when he retired from his job at Rolls-Royce he became a member of Merlin Flying club.
“He was a man who recognised right from wrong and he would do something about it.”
Both men were experienced pilots and were flying a Cessna aircraft owned by the club. A post-mortem examination, which took place on Tuesday, June 17, ruled out any medical condition contributing to the crash.
A full investigation is now underway by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) in a bid to get to the bottom of the cause.
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and the police attended the scene of the crash, on Saturday, June 14. After, a spokesman for EMAS said: “Frontline staff responded to an incident involving a light aircraft which came down close to the M1 between junctions 26 and 27.
“We received the call at 1.24pm and immediately dispatched a range of resources including specially trained staff from our hazardous area response team, the Derbyshire Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, solo responders and incident managers. The first resource arrived on scene at 1.30pm.”
Merlin Flying Club was set up over 50 years ago, by former employees of Rolls-Royce and their families , with the purpose of learning to fly. The club operates from the airfield on the Rolls-Royce’s Hucknall site during the weekends only.