People have expressed their shock and sadness following a tragic incident in which one of the Folland Gnats based at North Weald Airfield crashed during a display at Carfest where money was being raised for Children in Need at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
The plane was seen to fall to the ground in woodland. Chris Evans who helped to organise the event reported that the pilot had died.
North Weald Airfield is owned by Epping Forest District Council. It is the home-base of several historic aircraft collections and display teams.
Flags at half-mast
Council Leader Chris Whitbread, speaking on behalf of Epping Forest District Council expressed his shock at the news and offered his condolences to the family and friends of the pilot Kevin Whyman. He said: “I understand that 2 Gnats from North Weald were performing at the display.”
“One is safe but Kevin Whyman has tragically lost his life. My heart and my condolences go out to him, his family and his friends. North Weald is a close-knit community of pilots and aeroplane enthusiasts. There is a very special spirit of friendship and camaraderie at the airfield. People will be hurting at this time.”
Flags at the entrance to North Weald Airfield are flying at half-mast.
Heritage Aircraft Trust said: “The Heritage Aircraft Trust, operator of the Gnat Display Team is very sad to announce the loss of one of its display pilots, Kevin Whyman, at an airshow for CarFest at Oulton Park today. Heritage Aircraft Trust will be working with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Board to determine the cause of the accident.”
“Kevin was a Royal Air Force trained fast jet pilot whose enthusiasm for flying the Folland Gnat was infectious. He will be greatly missed by his family, the Team and many friends. Kevin leaves a wife and young daughter. Please respect the privacy of family members and of the Team at this most difficult time.”