Service planned for helicopter pilot

A MEMORIAL service is being planned for a pilot who died when the helicopter he was flying spiralled out of control and crashed to the ground.Matt Radford, 34, originally from Worlington, near Mildenhall, died, along with his businessman passenger, from multiple injuries sustained in the crash, which happened near Bournemouth airport on March 3.

A MEMORIAL service is being planned for a pilot who died when the helicopter he was flying spiralled out of control and crashed to the ground.

Matt Radford, 34, originally from Worlington, near Mildenhall, died, along with his businessman passenger, from multiple injuries sustained in the crash, which happened near Bournemouth airport on March 3.

A funeral service for Mr Radford was held in Bournemouth last Friday, April 16 and his parents Dennis and Gloria are now planning to hold a service to remember their son in the village where he grew up.

Dennis Radford told the EADT yesterday: "It's all been a bit traumatic, the funeral went well, if that can ever be said of a funeral, and we are planning a memorial in Worlington."


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He said the details of the memorial had yet to be finalised but he and his wife hoped it would be some time in July. Mrs Radford earlier said of her son: "He was a great guy and he loved the sky."

Since their son's death the Radfords said they had received numerous letters of support, some from parents who had also lost their sons, which had helped them deal with the tragedy.

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The cause of the accident is not yet known and the Air Accident Investigation Branch has launched an investigation.

Although its preliminary findings have been released a spokesman said it could be several months before the investigation is completed and its findings published.

Inspectors said it was evident that the helicopter had hit the ground at high speed, and although the pilot had reported being in difficulties immediately prior to the crash, he had not indicated exactly what was wrong.

The preliminary report also includes an air traffic controller's description of a fireball which erupted as the helicopter hit the ground.

The helicopter, an Augusta A109, was owned by Stephen Curtis, 45, managing director of Menatep, the parent company of Russian oil giant Yukos, who died along with Mr Radford.

Mr Curtis, who lived near Bournemouth, had not held a pilot's licence and consequently had frequently employed Mr Radford to fly him back and forth between Bournemouth and Battersea Heliport.

Matt Radford, was a former pupil of Mildenhall Upper School and ran his own helicopter company ,Red Aviation, which offered executive trips, flight training and leisure trips out of Bournemouth.

Last month an inquest into both men's deaths was opened and adjourned until a date yet to be arranged.

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