A HOLBROOK flying instructor has died after his light aircraft crashed near Adelong at the weekend.
Ben Dumbrell, 65, a former Tumut deputy mayor and passionate aviator, was found dead inside the wreckage of his KR-2 plane about 6.15am yesterday in a paddock off Califat Road, Adelong.
The crashed plane, believed to have come down near a private landing strip, was reported to police by the property manager.
It is understood officers used mobile phone tracking technology to locate Mr Dumbrell’s phone.
His family had reported him missing on Sunday night after he hadn’t been heard from since leaving home for a flight to Holbrook about 9am on Saturday.
Although the cause of the crash is not yet known, it is believed to have occurred soon after take-off.
Mr Dumbrell had flown since he was 24 and was a flying instructor with Holbrook Flight Training.
Holbrook Ultralight Club president Bryan Gabriel said there was a real sense of loss among its members.
“He was just one of the most loyal and willing members the club’s ever had,” Mr Gabriel said.
“He was one of those men who took great pride in passing on knowledge to others.”
He said Mr Dumbrell, who had been with the club for at least four years, was in the process of regaining his chief flying instructor status and it is understood he was on his way to one of its monthly meetings.
“He always liked to get here early and catch up with everyone,” Mr Gabriel said.
Mr Dumbrell spent more than a decade on Tumut Council and was deputy mayor in 2011.
Former mayor John Larter said Mr Dumbrell had been a wonderful ambassador for Tumut but he was never really recognised for his community work
“What you saw was what you got with Ben Dumbrell, he was a straight shooter and as honest as they come,” Mr Larter said.
“He was visionary too — he could see things for the betterment of Tumut.
“He wasn’t just a token councillor, he was always pushing the boundaries to improve things.”
Speaking of the accident, Mr Larter said: “I’m sure if he was going to go, that would have been how he’d want to go, he loved flying.”
“It’s just an unfortunate accident ... the last thing he would want is anything negative (to be said) of the aviation industry.”
Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators are expected to work at the crash site for up to three days.
A report is being prepared for the coroner.