A crowd of more than 15,000 observed a minute’s silence at the Foynes Air Show at 1pm yesterday in memory of Howard Cox, a pilot who was due to take part in the show but died in a plane crash on Saturday night.
The second annual Foynes Air Show went ahead at the request of the family.
The air show was dedicated to Mr Cox, 67, an aircraft engineer from Devon in England, who was widely regarded as an experienced aviator.
A photograph of Mr Cox was taken by another pilot friend on Saturday as he flew another plane over Brittas, Co Limerick, just a few hours before his death.
Mr Cox’s BD5 jet, which he built himself out of kits, came down in the townland of Garrabane, north of Dungarvan, Co Waterford, close to Clonea beach.
With its red exterior and missile looks, the BD5 had been hotly anticipated at the air show.
“He was going to perform a low pass over the crowd today and there would have been a screaming sound from the engine,” said a source. “As I understand it he didn’t do stunts in it. The plane’s sheer look and speed and its loudness was what enthralled people.”
The pilot was also due to perform in his Stinson Reliant single-engine four- to five-seat high-wing monoplane, used by the US Army in the Second World War as a utility aircraft.
Paying tribute to the late Mr Cox, his friend Gerry Humphreys, who is also a director of Foynes Air show director: “The organisers would like to express their deepest condolences to the pilot’s family, who have requested that we proceed with the air show.”
“We have decided to proceed with the show and dedicate the event to our colleague’s memory.”
A source said the organisers were “devastated” at hearing the news of Mr Cox’s sudden and tragic death.
“It’s a very small community. They’re all very close so it is a hard time for everybody concerned. Obviously his family are heartbroken,” the source said.
“The show is going ahead at the request of the family. It’s a horrible situation.”
Mr Cox is survived by his wife Elizabeth and son Peter.
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