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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 18:48 GMT
Dead Tornado navigator is named
Mike Harland
Mike Harland, 44, who worked for BAE Systems
A navigator who died after ejecting from an RAF Tornado fighter aircraft has been named.

Mike Harland, 44, who worked for BAE Systems, died after leaving the aircraft during an "inverted roll" on a test flight over Norfolk on Wednesday.

The pilot later landed the aircraft at RAF Marham and the ejector seat was found near the Sandringham estate.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) board of inquiry would investigate the incident, an official said.

A BAE Systems spokeswoman said Mr Harland was married with two children and lived in Lincolnshire.

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director for the Military Air Solutions business within BAE Systems, paid tribute to Mr Harland.

"Mike worked for BAE Systems for four years and was a well-known and much respected member of the team," he said.

The death of a member of British Aerospace Systems aircrew is a sad loss both to the company and to the station
Group Captain Osbourne

"He will be deeply missed by all of his colleagues and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

"We will give our full support to this Inquiry and we will do everything we can to support Mike's family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time."

Mr Harland's body was found in a field at South Creake and was pronounced dead at the scene.

He is said to have ejected while the aircraft was flying upside down.

A tape of the pilot's conversation with controllers has been heard by the BBC.

A police helicopter hovers above the scene where the body was found
The navigator's seat was found near the Sandringham estate

It describes the moment the pilot realised his navigator had ejected from the aircraft. He told controllers he had not seen a parachute.

The MoD said the aircraft was flown by a civilian crew from BAE Systems, but would not speculate on the causes of the navigator's death until an investigation has been carried out.

In a statement RAF Marham's station commander, Group Captain Osbourne said: "Our sincerest condolences go to the family, who are in our thoughts and prayers.

"A board of inquiry to investigate the cause of the incident will be convened and the results published in due course."

The MoD confirmed no other aircraft were involved in the incident.

BAE Systems are responsible for maintaining the Tornado fleet based at RAF Marham.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The pilot's words in the cockpit



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