The pilot who crashed a vintage plane into a National Trust property in Northamptonshire yesterday is the owner of a high-end watch firm, whose watches are worn by Tom Cruise, Orlando Bloom and Hugh Laurie.
The Chronicle & Echo has learned that Giles English (pictured above, left, with Nick, right), who owns Bremont Watch Company, an award-winning British luxury watch manufacturer, was flying the 1930 Gipsy Moth light-aircraft yesterday when it suffered engine failure and crashed in a field at Canons Ashby House.
Mr English lives in Moreton Pinkney, Just over one mile away from the crash site, and is a co-owner of the 83-year-old light-aircraft (pictured earlier this year).
The 11-year-old boy, who was a passenger in the vintage aircraft, has also been named as Oliver Nuttall.
A spokesman for Bremont today praised Mr English for “an incredible job” after he crash landed the plane in a field. The spokesman said both casualties are “on the road to recovery”.
The near tragedy comes after Mr English’s father died in a fatal air crash in March 1995.
Mr English’s brother, Nick, and father, Dr Euan English, were training for an air show in their World War Two Harvard and while practising formation aerobatics they got stuck in an “inverted spin” and crashed, killing Euan.
Nick, who co-owns the Bremont firm with his brother Giles, broke more than 30 bones in the accident.
An ex-RAF pilot, Euan taught the brothers to fly and was active in the historic aircraft industry
The pair went on to form Bremont and now make watches worn by celebrities including Tom Cruise, Orlando Bloom and Hugh Laurie, while Bear Grylls served as a field testers for the firm’s prototypes.
The firm makes aviation-themed chronometers.
A statement from the watch company today said: “We are sorry to say that yesterday morning Giles English and his young passenger, Oliver Nuttall, were involved in a vintage aircraft accident near to their home airfield in Northamptonshire, following an engine failure.
“They were only a mile away from landing and reports are that Giles did an incredible job at putting the aircraft down in some very difficult terrain. Both pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries but thankfully both are on the road to recovery.”
Today, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed a formal investigation will be carried out “via correspondence”.
It means investigators were not sent to the crash scene and the probe will now be carried out through a series of interviews.
Last night, the wreckage was removed from the site.
A neighbour of Giles today described him as “a perfect family man.”
The woman, who only wanted to be named as Denise, said: “Giles is a wonderful father, just a great parent and perfect family man.
“He has lived in his home for quite a long time with his wife, who is a teacher, and his three young daughters.
“I believe he was taking the young child who was injured out for a ride in the plane, that is the sort of man he was, very kind.
“I imagine he must feel terrible about what happened, but everyone here is just so happy that both of them have survived this horrible accident.
“Giles is an utterly charming young man, I moved in to the area three years ago and he came round with a bottle of champagne to welcome me straight away.
“He loves his girls and built a pool for them, which was great, considering the recent hot weather we’ve had, it was lovely to hear them all playing together.
“He is an enchanting man and always full of life whenever I see him.
“I believe the family are at the hospital as the cars they use are currently not in the driveway.
“Giles usually spends most of his time at home or working in Switzerland.
“I think all of us here are just glad that he is okay, to hear he is in a stable condition is very reassuring, this could have been a whole lot worse.”