Spitfire crash victim identified
THE Queensland and UK flying communities are mourning the loss of a friend after a plane crashed into a paddock off Lagoon Pocket Road, on the outskirts of Gympie on Friday afternoon.
The pilot of the spitfire replica, which crashed just a few kilometres from the Gympie Airport at Kybong, has been identified as Professor Barry Uscinski.
Gympie police are still investigating the crash and Recreational Aviation Australia (RAA) has been assisting police.
Operations Manager of RAA said it was too early to say why the plane crashed.
He said Dr Uscinski was a member of RAA and the plane was registered with the RAA.
Dr Uscinski, who was a very experienced pilot, was an Australian citizen but moved to the UK in his mid-20s where he spent most of his adult life.
A spokesperson from the Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield, near the Brisbane Valley, said Dr Uscinski’s family had been notified.
“We’ll miss him, it was a sad loss,” he said.
The spokesperson said Dr Uscinski was well-known and had a lot of family living in the area.
“We just knew him as the Professor. He was always good for a chat, but he didn’t speak much about himself.”
The spokesperson said he had been a long-time commercial pilot.
Dr Uscinski was an experienced pilot and was one of a handful of pilots who competed in UK aerobatics competitions, flying Tiger Moths.
On the day of the crash Dr Uscinski – in his mid-70s – had just picked up his plane after it received maintenance in Gympie.
He had grown up in Brisbane, where he was a member of the Air Training Corps in school before gaining his commercial pilots’ licence and in his 20s studied at Cambridge in the UK.
Later he stayed on at Cambridge as a researcher. Recently he had been working in ocean research.
Watts Bridge-based Australian Aerobatic Club Captain of Flying, Mal Beard, who had worked and flown with Dr Uscinski, said it was a sad loss.
“He was an extremely intelligent, genius-type bloke, who was working in restricted stuff in England for the defence department,” Mr Beard said.