Inquest jury told pilot killed in Stourton crash was unlicensed

Stourbridge News: The scene of the crash which killed Andy Tollerton The scene of the crash which killed Andy Tollerton

A MAN who was killed when his microlight aircraft hit power lines in Stourton was unlicensed to fly, an inquest heard.

Andy Tollerton was told he had not completed the training course to be qualified and no record could be found of him holding a pilot’s licence, Staffordshire's coroner heard.

Mr Tollerton, aged 52, died when his Pegasus twin seat aircraft plunged to earth after hitting high voltage wires at 5.53pm on October 6 2013, as he attempted to land in a field off Bridgnorth Road.

The father-of-two suffered fatal head and chest injuries when the single-engine craft hit the ground however a post mortem found no burns consistent with electrocution.

A specialist from the Air Accident Investigation Branch told the inquest, held at Staffordshire County Council chambers, that the aircraft was mechanically sound and well maintained but did not have a certificate of air worthiness.

The reason for the collision is unclear, despite being unlicensed Mr Tollerton, an HGV driver from Gerald Road, Wollaston, had records showing more than 90 hours flying experience and had flown from the field, at Barrett’s Coppice Farm, on a number of occasions. The weather was also good at the time of the crash.

Investigator Robert Vickery told the jury after he examined of aerial photos of the scene, taken by an unmanned police aircraft, it was possible Mr Tollerton may not have been aware of the hazard.

Mr Vickery said: “I believe the cables, posts and the angle of the sun conspired to hide themselves causing Mr Tollerton not to see them until it was too late.”

The hearing was also told no alcohol or drugs were found in the dead pilot’s body.

The court heard evidence Mr Tollerton normally flew for around 40 minutes at a time but had cut the doomed flight short and was landing after around 15 minutes in the air.

He suffered with kidney stones and the hearing was told if they had moved it could create extreme discomfort however there was no evidence to suggest this had taken place and he seemed in good health prior to take off.

Mr Tollerton used contact lenses but none were found during post mortem examination or at the scene, but Mr Vickery told the jury they may have come out during the accident.

The jury concluded there was no obvious reason for Mr Tollerton to have flown into the power lines and his death was the result of an accident.

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