'˜Flying was his passion' say family of tragic plane crash pilot

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

Wednesday, 31st May 2017, 1:52 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 10:04 pm
Pilot, Brian Allsop with his wife, Sylvia.
Pilot, Brian Allsop with his wife, Sylvia.

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

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

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

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Pilot, Brian Allsop with his plane, Dolly.

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

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

The accident is believed to have happened at the beginning of Brian’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.

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

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.

“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.”

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

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

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

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

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

Pilot, Brian Allsop with his plane, Dolly.

As well as Paul and Donna and Wendy, Brian also had two more children from his first marriage - Steven and Gary - seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

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