Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 14:07 UK

Teenage plane crash victim named

Nicholas Langley-Rice
Nicholas was a charming young man with good morals, his parents said

A 15-year-old who died in a mid-air crash when his trainer plane collided with a glider in Oxfordshire on Sunday has been named by police.

Air cadet Nicholas Rice, from Calcot, in Reading, Berkshire, died along with 62-year-old RAF reservist Michael Blee, in the collision over Sutton Courtenay.

A civilian glider, Henry Freeborn, from Lee-on-the-Solent in Hampshire, managed to parachute to safety.

The Ministry of Defence said it had started a thorough investigation.

Nicholas attended The Elvian School in Reading, where he was known to friends as Nik.

Flying passion

Headteacher Sue Manser said "Nick was a well liked and respected pupil at the school. Friends, fellow pupils and staff at the school are devastated by the news."

He was also a member of the Combined Cadet Force and his parents Julia and John said he aspired to become an aeronautical engineer.

In a tribute on Tuesday they said he was "creative", "single minded" and "charming", "with a lovely sense of humour".

The teenager was passionate about flying and skiing and also loved music, "living for his electric guitar". He was also learning the piano.

Nicholas Rice's headteacher Sue Manser says he "was a real gentleman"

His parents said he was a popular boy with good morals. They added: "This is a great shock to us and he will be missed by everyone."

It is believed Nicholas was having a flying lesson and took off from RAF Benson on Sunday afternoon.

Witnesses said they saw the single-engine Tutor RAF aircraft nose-diving into fields at Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon.

Resident James O'Neill said he heard a plane flying very low over his house, followed by a thud. His wife then watched the aircraft and the glider spiralling to the ground.

The German-made Standard Cirrus glider was removed on Monday and the single-engine Tutor RAF aircraft would be moved later, police said.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating and a Ministry of Defence spokesman said it was too early to comment on the cause of the crash.

He said "whatever action is necessary" would be taken to "prevent a recurrence of this tragic event", following a thorough investigation.

In February, two Air Training Corps cadets and their RAF instructors were killed in a mid-air crash between two light aircraft in south Wales.

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