Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Ex-RAF wing commander named as victim of Dubai plane crash

Flt Lt David Phillips was in the twin-engine aircraft when it crashed on Thursday night

The crashed aircraft was a DA42 model, manufactured by Chinese company Diamond Aircraft Industries, based in Austria. Image Dubai Media Office via Twitter
The crashed aircraft was a DA42 model, manufactured by Chinese company Diamond Aircraft Industries, based in Austria. Image Dubai Media Office via Twitter

An ex-RAF wing commander has been named as one of three Britons killed when a light aircraft crashed near Dubai International Airport on Thursday.

David Phillips, an aviation expert, is the first of the four victims of the tragedy to be identified.

A South African national is also known to have been on board the Diamond DA42 aircraft when it crashed near Mushrif Park at around 7.30pm.

Mr Phillips worked as an air traffic control examiner and was an experienced pilot, logging more than 3,000 hours of flight time.

On Monday, his former colleagues from 83 Squadron Air Training Corps paid tribute to him on social media.

“It’s with heavy heart that we have to inform you of the death of our commanding officer Flt Lt David Phillips,” said one person on Facebook.

“Our heartfelt condolences are with his family at this tragic time.”

Further tributes were also paid to Mr Phillips on a number of aviation forums, where he was fondly remembered as ‘Spot’.

It is not known if he was piloting the four-seat, twin-engine aircraft at the time of the crash.

The incident closed Dubai International Airport for about an hour, with several flights delayed or cancelled as a result.

Mr Phillips, who is reported to be from the north east of England, worked for the British Royal Air Force from 1985 to 2003, where he achieved the rank of wing commander.

The Diamond DA42 aircraft was owned and operated by UK firm Flight Calibration Services (FCSL) and was evaluating navigation aids at Dubai International Airport.

Dubai is a major global aviation hub and is seeking to boost the number of its tourists as part of efforts to diversify the city’s economy.

Navigational systems on one of the airport’s two runways are currently undergoing repair work and Shoreham-based FCSL specialises in calibrating and inspecting ground-based navigation aids like radar and instrument landing systems.

Police and flight crash investigation vehicles near the site of the incident in Dubai. AP Photo / Jon Gambrell
Police and flight crash investigation vehicles near the site of the incident in Dubai. AP Photo / Jon Gambrell

The company has had a contract with Dubai International Airport for maintenance since November 2018.

Chinese owned Diamond Aircraft is understood to be aiding investigators with a post crash report. A statement issued by Dubai Media Office said a technical malfunction had contributed to the crash.

The emirate's last major aircraft accident was in August 2016 when Emirates Flight 521, from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India, crashed on the runway at Dubai International.

All 300 passengers and crew survived, with 30 taken to hospital, mostly with minor injuries or for precautionary check-ups.

The fuel tank of the Boeing 777 exploded in an ensuing blaze, killing firefighter Jassim Al Baloushi, 27, from Ras Al Khaimah.

Updated: May 20, 2019 07:35 PM

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