Tributes to plane crash pilot

The family of a pilot killed when a light aircraft came down near Oxford Airport have paid tribute to him.

Anthony Corr, 55, from Stratford upon Avon (right), who was known as 'Tony' to his friends, was killed when the Piper PA31 he was flying crashed crashed into a field near the A4095 in Bladon just after 2pm on on Friday 15 January 2010.  He was one of Ryanair's most experienced pilots.

Richard Leonard, 45, from Chipping Norton, who was also onboard, also died.

More than 45 firefighters were called to deal with the flames.  They had to use 4x4 vehicles to get to the wreckage, because snow and the remote location made it difficult to get to using normal fire engines.

Eyewitness Isobel Squibb-Williams, 20, told the Oxford Mail: "I heard the engine struggling. He must have circled two or three times over the village.  He really did seem to be trying to avoid the houses."

Tony's family have released the following tribute to him through police:

"A charismatic, determined and courageous personality always there for others and full of joie de vivre.

Mentioned in Dispatches in 1989 for EOD work in Northern Ireland.

A superlative pilot whose great passion was for aviation. He has worked for Ryanair in that capacity for many years.

Taken from us too soon, he leaves behind his grieving widow, Krystyna, and his two daughters, Aleksandra, 26 and Antonia 21.

Greatly loved and missed by all his family."

Tim Gibson, Ryanair's Birmingham Base Captain, paid the following tribute:

"Captain Tony Corr was employed by Ryanair since 2003 and was one of the senior and most experienced pilots in the Company. 

"When I was appointed by Captain Ray Conway, Ryanair Chief Pilot, to set up the new Birmingham Base in May 2006, one of the first questions I asked was who is going to be my Base Type Rating Examiner (BTRE)?  When I heard that it was Tony, I knew, despite the fact that he was ex Army and I’m ex Air Force, I could not have picked anyone better!

"Since then, Tony has been a key member of the team – always willing to offer his support, advice and the benefit of his vast experience.  He was one of the most professional pilots I have ever come across and I am sure that there are many pilots, not only in Ryanair but other companies too, who have benefitted from his advice and guidance at some stage in their careers.      

"Tony’s sudden and tragic passing on 15 January 2010 will leave an immense void and he will be missed by all his colleagues at the Birmingham base and throughout the company.  He was one of the most likeable pilots, nothing was too much trouble for him and he got on with everyone with a sense of humour and I personally, will miss his cheery banter whenever he walked into the crew room or when we met on the flight deck.

"He had a tremendous sense of humility and an unassuming nature that belied his position and experience yet he knew instinctively how to get the best out of his charges whether it was teaching a young cadet at the very start of his flying career, checking a crew in the simulator or indeed a Base Captain on a line check!  Tony, you were one of that rare breed of inspirational pilots.

"The phrase “...he lived for flying” could not be more appropriate.  Ryanair, and the aviation world in general, has lost one of its finest characters.  Fate once more has hunted an aviator well before his time. 

"Our thoughts are with your family and friends at this time."

The Air Accident Investigation Branch are looking into how the crash happened, and say it's too early to pinpoint a cause.