A PILOT from Pitton died after his aeroplane crashed while he practiced for an air show, an inquest heard.

Trevor Roche, 52, crash-landed the vintage De Havilland DH53 Humming Bird in an airfield just before the Military Pageant Air Show at Old Warden Aerodrome near Biggleswade on July 1 last year, after losing control in strong winds.

Mr Roche was a former test pilot at Boscombe Down, had served in the RAF and worked commercially for British Airways. He had 14,780 hours of flying experience, but the inquest heard in windy conditions the plane would have been “challenging” even for an experienced pilot.

Mr Roche took the plane for a trial flight, which should have lasted around ten minutes, in the morning.

Policeman John Walker told the inquest he had been in the control tower that morning and his attention had been drawn to Mr Roche’s plane.

He said the plane appeared to be making a turn, but the manoeuvre changed from a rounded curve and the aircraft dropped nose first into the ground.

An Air Accident Investigation Bureau report said the most probable cause of the accident was that the pilot lost control in gusty wind conditions.

Mr Roche suffered a severe head injury in the accident and died instantly. A jury recorded a verdict of accidental death.