Pilots killed in airport crash

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The Independent Online
THE PILOT and co-pilot of a British Aerospace Jetstream aircraft on a training flight from Prestwick airport in Strathclyde, Scotland, died when their aircraft crashed within the runway area.

The aircraft, a Super31 model normally used by British Aerospace for demonstration purposes, was engulfed in flames within sight of the airport's main control tower.

BAe last night named the two men who died as Captain Bill Sample, 42, of north Ayrshire, and First Officer Russell Grace, 25, from south Ayrshire.

The twin-turboprop Jetstream is one of BAe's most successful products, with 365 sold worldwide since its launch in 1967. It is recognised within the industry as having a fine safety record, although in 1989 a Jetstream 31 on a training exercise crashed in Saudi Arabia, killing three British airmen and two Saudi Royal Airforce students. Essentially a luxury mini-version of larger jetliners, it is aimed at executive markets.

Most sales of the aircraft, built at BAe's Prestwick plant, have been in the US. Prestwick was largely unaffected when BAe announced a drastic cost-cutting programme for its UK operations, and continued to be the main training and test centre for Jetsream pilots.

BAe confirmed last night that no passengers or potential customers were in the aircraft when it crashed. The Civil Aviation Authority said: 'It got airborne and then rolled to the right, and smashed back down on to the runway. It was immediately engulfed in fire.'

(Photograph omitted)

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