Olympics judge dies in school plane crash
A PILOT who served as a judge in the London 2012 Olympics died when his plane crashed near Chilcompton on Monday.
Glenn Paeckmeyer, born in 1947, had been at the Olympic Great Britain selection shoot in Evershot, near Dorchester, over the weekend.
The plane crashed into the gardens at Downside Abbey and pupils at the attached exclusive Downside public school were moved into the building from the sports field.
The aircraft came down between Chilcompton and Stratton-on-the-Fosse, close to Abbey Road.
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Witnesses in Chilcompton said that as the aircraft had passed overhead it was virtually silent before the engines suddenly roared into life shortly before the crash.
They said there was a massive bang at the plane hit the ground, then sudden silence.
Chilcompton farmer Andrew Coombes rents fields near Downside Abbey and said he had been rounding sheep up and sorting out lambs when he heard what he described as sounding like "Red Bull's stunt team" practising.
Mr Coombes, who said there was drizzling rain and fog at the time, said: "It sounded almost like stunt flying, I thought it was strange because it was so foggy and thought they were above the clouds. Then I heard a sound like a van door slamming and then silence. I didn't take a lot of notice but then I heard the sirens."
Father Michael Clothier, the prior of Downside Abbey, was at the scene shortly after the accident and said prayers. In the evening, pupils and staff were invited to a special mass in the school to pray for the pilot and his family.
Mr Paeckmeyer was well known in the field of clay target shooting and was the discipline representative in the Universal Trench category for the British International Clay Target Shooting Federation.
He was also an International Technical Official on the shotgun jury at last year's Olympic Games.
The Clay Pigeon Shooting Association paid tribute to Mr Paeckmeyer, saying: "It is with great sadness that news has been received that Glenn Paeckmeyer has died in an aeroplane accident."
Mr Paeckmeyer is believed to have been flying back to his home in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, from a Somerset airfield.
Police, fire and ambulance services were quickly on the scene.
No one on the ground was injured and Mr Paeckmeyer was the only person on board.
Mr Paeckmeyer was a director of ABC Charter Hire, and one of three registered owners of the crashed Socata Tobago TB-10 aircraft.
The company was recently dissolved.
His former business partner, Stephen Wilson, said on Tuesday: "He took on flying late in life. I flew with him several times and was quite comfortable with him – he was not a risk taker.
"It's a very untimely tragedy and everybody is shocked."
Avon and Somerset Police say they are no longer involved in the investigation surrounding the crash.
A police spokesman said that the matter had been handed to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Accident Investigation Branch.
A spokesman for the CAA said that no details about the case would now be released until they had closed their investigation.
They were unable to say when the investigation would be complete.
The aircraft was due to have its airworthiness certificate renewed on October 17.