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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Parents pay tribute to pilot son
Tim Cook
Tim Cook was due to start a new job with EasyJet
The parents of a pilot killed in an air crash have paid tribute to their son.

Chris and Pat Cook said Tim was a "great guy". The 35-year-old's aircraft disappeared from radar and radio contact on Friday morning.

He was returning from a routine run to the Western Isles. Tim's body and the debris from the Cessna were found in Wester Ross on Saturday.

Air accident investigators are continuing their inquiry.

Chris Cook, speaking at a news conference at Dingwall Police Station, said: "Tim was a great guy who absolutely adored flying - which is a consolation for us, that he was really doing the job he loved."

After getting an engineering degree, Tim had applied to the RAF, only to be told he was too tall to be a pilot - though he could have become a navigator.

His move on to his next employer, which was imminent, was indicative of how other people recognised his qualities
Basil O'Fee
Highland Airways
Instead, he saved his money from his first job in Hong Kong and went to America to learn how to fly.

Mr Cook added: "It was the only thing he wanted to do."

The pilot's father said that Mr Cook's brother Matthew, 38, was travelling north from London on Monday - but Tim's fiancée Helen was "too overcome" to make the trip.

The couple were due to marry in May, and Tim, who had lived in Inverness, was due to start a new job with EasyJet at the end of this week.

Mr Cook added: "We were looking forward to the wedding very much, but it was just not to be."

Mr and Mrs Cook thanked all those involved in the search for their son, who had been flying a Highland Airways aircraft.

Wreckage found

As the family struggle to come to terms with their loss, Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) inspectors were beginning the logistical nightmare of accessing the remote crash scene and making sense of what happened.

Tim's twin-turbo Cessna disappeared near Ullapool in Wester Ross, while on the return leg of a regular run delivering newspapers to Stornoway.

The F406 10-seater aircraft disappeared from the radar screen at RAF Lossiemouth at 1130 BST on Friday in the Loch Broom area.

Search teams
The search operation covered a vast area
The aircraft was last seen on radar north east of Beinn Dearg, to the east of Loch Broom, and the wreckage was found close to there on the flight path.

Investigators visited the site over 2,500ft up Meall Feith na Slataich, a ridge of the Munro Seana Bhraigh, east of Lochbroom, near Ullapool. It is an area rarely accessed by climbers.

Senior inspector Philip Taylor explained: "This was clearly a tragic accident that we'll investigate thoroughly. We'll seek to establish, as far as we can, what happened.

"It will be a painstaking process and could take six to nine months for a report."

Basil O'Fee, of Highland Airways, said Mr Cook was highly respected by his colleagues.

He said: "Tim was very much moving through a progression most satisfactorily.

"His move on to his next employer, which was imminent, was indicative of how other people also recognised his qualities."

Missing plane search called off
22 Oct 04  |  Scotland
Body recovered in aircraft search
23 Oct 04  |  Scotland

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