Bungay aircraft crash: Pilot 'leader' in field, friends say
A pilot whose vintage aircraft crashed in Norfolk, killing a passenger, is one of the country's leading Mustang aviators, a friend has said.
Maurice Hammond's P-51 Mustang came down at Hardwick airfield, near Bungay, at about 15:35 BST on Sunday.
His passenger, a man in his 80s, died at the scene. Mr Hammond, from Eye, Suffolk, was airlifted to hospital.
The family friend said: "He is probably in the top three or four pilots of this marque of aircraft in the UK."
Air accident investigators are expected at the airfield, which remains closed, later.
The P-51 D Model Mustang was in flames when emergency services arrived at the airfield, about 10 miles south of Norwich.
Charles Christian, who saw the plane come down, said it appeared to approach the runway normally, with its landing gear down, before he heard a small explosion after it disappeared behind some trees.
The American plane was one of two Mustangs owned by Mr Hammond, who is in his fifties and a regular at airshows.
It was built by North American Aviation in Dallas, Texas, in 1945 as one of a batch of 10. It was restored by Mr Hammond.
A family friend said: "He is a phenomenal engineer.
"You couldn't fly with somebody technically more competent. He is regarded as a leader in his field."
Mr Hammond is considered an expert on vintage plane restoration and his work has been featured in a Discovery Channel series, Plane Resurrection.
He remains in a stable condition in hospital, friends said.