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21 December 2011, 17:20
A Leicestershire man who was killed in a light aircraft crash has been named.
Martin Hickin, from Coalville, died following the incident in the Great Stretton area on Sunday.
Opening an inquest at Leicester Town Hall into the pilot's death, Coroner Catherine Mason heard that Mr Hickin's aircraft - a red monoplane - had been in a mid-air collision with another plane.
Family and friends, including Mr Hickin's partner, Tracy Clark, were at the hearing.
The inquest heard evidence from Detective Sergeant Mark Tuttle, from Leicestershire Police.
He said officers were called to reports of a mid-air collision between two aircraft at Stoughton airfield just after 2pm on Sunday.
They searched the area and found two aircraft at two separate sites, he said. It was clear the two aircraft had been in a mid-air collision, he added.
Mr Hickin was found in the wreckage of his plane. He died at the scene from his injuries, Det Sgt Tuttle told the hearing.The pilot and passenger in the other aircraft escaped with minor injuries.
The coroner heard that Mr Hickin had been identified from dental records during a post-mortem examination carried out yesterday.
A cause of death has not yet been determined.
The hearing was told that Mr Hickin was a regular flier, either as pilot or co-pilot, and had held a private pilot's licence ``for many years''.
Leicestershire Constabulary is working with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch to investigate the circumstances leading to the collision.
Det Sgt Tuttle told the inquest: ``Investigations are at an early stage and are ongoing into how the accident happened.''
Adjourning the inquest to a date to be set, Mrs Mason said: ``I offer my sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Hickin and thank you for attending this hearing here today.''
We are devastated by the tragic news of Martin?s death. Martin was a wonderful, generous and warm individual who was dearly loved by all his family and friends.
His death has left an enormous gap in all our lives. Martin's bereaved family includes his two daughters aged 20 and 15.
Martin had always loved flying and had been a member of the air cadets in his youth.
He was a civilian glider pilot instructor for the RAF in his twenties and gained his private pilot?s licence a number of years ago. Martin was a very experienced pilot who loved nothing better than to spend his weekends and holidays in the cockpit as a pilot or co-pilot.
He had flown all over the UK and to many destinations in northern Europe. Martin was fully aware of, and recognised, the risks associated with flying.
We are relieved that the two people in the other plane involved in the accident survived this horrific mid-air collision and know that Martin would be too.
We are grateful to Leicestershire Police, the Leicestershire Air Club and the Air Accident Investigation Branch for all their help and support.