Shock over pilot death

editorial image

There was shock in Hilsborough this week when local driving instructor Stephen McKnight was tragically killed whilst flying a light aircraft in Newtownards.

Mr McKnight, who was 55 and lived in the Culcavey area, was a former policeman and said to have been an experienced pilot.

The father of two died on Tuesday morning (April 7) at the Royal Victoria Hospital shortly after the crash at Newtownards Airfield.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch travelled to Northern Ireland following the crash to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr McKnight’s death.

McMcKnight was also the secretary of the Dromore Walking Club and Alan McFarland, chair of the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs, said fellow members were stunned by his death.

“He was a well-known member of the walking fraternity,” said Mr McFarland. “Those who knew him are certainly devastated by the news.”

Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, called for the accident to be thoroughly investigated.

“This is devastating news for the McKnight family, who are well known and respected,” said Mr Donaldson.

“No-one expects to receive this kind of tragic news. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.

“Stephen was pursuing a past time that brought great joy to his life but sadly it ended in this tragedy.

“There must be a full investigation by the aviation authorities as to what happened.”