Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex: Plane crash which claimed lives of two men was an accident - inquest

09:00 18 December 2012

Emergency services at the lake following the accident

Emergency services at the lake following the accident

©2011Eastnews Press Agency/Martin Rose Eastnews Press Agency 267 Straight Road Colchester, Essex England + 44 (0) 7721 528134 + 44 (0) 1206 575484

TWO men died when their light aircraft crashed into a lake in Essex after spinning to the ground during an aerobatic training exercise, an inquest has heard.

Instructor Simon Hulme, 33, and his 43-year-old student, Spencer Bennett, were killed when their plane crashed near Langford on April 28 last year.

An inquest jury sitting in Chelmsford returned verdicts of accidental death after hearing nearly two hours of evidence.

It was unclear which pilot was in control of the two-seater Yak 52 RA3585K when it plummeted towards the ground in an inverted spin.

The pair, who were on the third day of the three-day formation flying school, both had controls with the arrangement being that the student would fly the plane under the instructor’s supervision with the instructor taking over if felt necessary.

An examination of the plane after being pulled from the lake found the controls had meant for it to carry out the manoeuvre and was in the process of being corrected from the spin but it was thought the aircraft was already too close to the ground to be able to rectify it.

Witnesses said they thought the plane plummeted from around 1,800ft but it would have needed to be at a height of 2,500ft to come out of the manoeuvre and continue flying safely, the inquest heard.

It was unlikely the spin was intentional but there was no evidence that Mr Bennett had received any training in it or carried one out before, Tim Atkinson, senior investigator at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, told the inquest.

Mr Atkinson, who attended the scene of the crash, said recovery from the manoeuvre could have been adversely affected by the pilots’ unfamiliarity with it, ambiguity as to who should be in control and the pilots being unsure of the controls.

Mr Bennett and RAF pilot Mr Hulme, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, were joined by two other planes flown by students and their instructors as they carried out a series of manoeuvres.

The pair were in the middle of the formation, with one of the occupants of the plane at the back filming the sequence with a video camera strapped to his helmet. Jurors were shown the video which showed the only partially visible plane appear to spin to the ground before it could be seen many metres below in the lake.

Routine toxicology tests found no evidence of alcohol or drugs in either man’s system that could have contributed to the crash.


Rail travellers hoping to enjoy weekend days out in London in early 2017 are facing four months more disruption on the main line as Shenfield station is rebuilt.

An inmate at HMP Highpoint who held prison staff hostage for more than three hours with a makeshift ‘shiv’ to get himself transferred to another prison has received a 16 month jail sentence.

Corrie McKeague’s disappearance has left his family suffering an “indescribable” void in the 32 days since the RAF Honington airman vanished from the centre of Bury St Edmunds.

Pic Simon Parker

Traffic queues on the A14 eastbound by the A140 turning after a lorry crashed into  the central reservation

There are long delays on the A14 eastbound at after Claydon this evening following an accident.

Everyday our readers send in photos to iwitness24 that they have taken while out and about along the Suffolk coast, visiting one of our many beauty spots or while relaxing in their own gardens.

Felixstowe town centre looking busy and vibrant.

Two Suffolk communities have been praised for revitalising their high street “as a unique place for living, working and shopping”.

The boy was riding a scrambler bike (stock image)

Two men are reported to have produced a “firearm and knife” when they allegedly robbed a 13-year-old boy of his scrambler motorbike in Jaywick.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24