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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 12:24 GMT
Glider death would be 'perfect'
A 48-year-old pilot deliberately plunged his Pegasus glider into the ground in a 150 mph nosedive, an inquest has heard.

Earlier Peter Palm, from Long Bredy, Dorset, had told a fellow glider pilot it would be the perfect way to die, a court at Honiton heard.

Mr Palm, a first officer with the Air 2000 airline, put his plane into the dive in April at Blackborough near Cullompton, Devon.

Greater Devon coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland recorded a verdict of suicide.

Mr Palm, who was also a former Royal Navy pilot, was happily married with a good career, the inquest heard.

He had become a father for the first time three years earlier when his daughter Alice was born after 13 years of trying.

Favourite glider

The only indication he gave of any intention to take his own life was when he told a fellow glider pilot two weeks before the crash that he loved flying his favourite glider so much he would like to die in it.

Chartered surveyor Robert Lee, a fellow glider pilot at the Devon and Somerset gliding club at Broadhembury, near Honiton, Devon, said: "The committee of the club had recently decided to sell the Pegasus and he was keen to purchase it and was seeking people who may want to buy it in a syndicate.

"He said something to the effect he really loved the aircraft and there would be no better way for him to die than whilst flying it and that I should remember that if anything ever happened to him.

"I recall replying 'Don't say that for God's sake, you will tempt providence'.

"I remember thinking it unusual because he was such a communicative and good-humoured man.

"I just thought he was indicating the satisfaction he got from the gliding experience."

Tests showed the aircraft had no problems with its air frame or controls which could have caused the accident.

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