'Aviation Legend' Among Four Killed In Mid-Air Collision
An aviation 'legend', a world champion and a 'fantastic' teacher are among the four people killed after a two-plane mid-air crash in regional Victoria.
Chris Gobel, 79, died alongside a 27-year-old Melbourne West woman when their plane collided with another soon after they took off from Mangalore Airport around 11.30am on Wednesday.
The woman, a Thai national, was due to fly home on Thursday with her mother.
Ido Segev, 30, and Peter Phillips, 47, were in the second plane and also died in the crash after flying from Tyabb.
The two training flights hit mid-air near Mangalore Airport and authorities found the planes a few kilometres from each other, with the bodies of the victims inside.
Peninsula Aero Club president Jack Vevers paid tribute to the highly-experienced men who died, and was yet to find out more details about the woman.
He described Gobel as a "legend in aviation", whose loss is "just immense".
Bendigo Flying Club paid tribute to Gobel, who ran Bendigo Aviation Services.
"Chris Gobel, a key aviation figure in Bendigo, was in one of the aircraft in his role as pilot examiner for Moorabbin Aviation Services," the post on Thursday said.
"Chris was about to retire after a long aviation career with airline captain, flying school, charter and pilot examiner roles."
Segev had been connected to the Peninsula Aero Club for years and Vevers said he was a "wonderful person" with proven skill.
"Ido (was) another highly-talented guy, world champion in flying radio control aircraft and drones. Also a flying instructor himself, aerobatic pilot, a display pilot for air shows," Vevers said.
Devastated loved ones of Segev paid tribute to the world-class pilot on social media.
"Words can not express the way we all feel now. Our beloved Ido Segev is no longer with us," Adi Kochav wrote on Facebook.
"He will be remembered by all of us, worldwide. Our deepest condolences to his family. He is survived by his mother and father and his brother and sister."
Phillips was the lead instructor at Peninsula Aero Club, after a career as a pilot and having grown up at the club.
"He was a very talented man, a fantastic teacher and well-loved by all of us," Vevers said.
"He has left behind a young a family."
Inspector Peter Koger Mitchell described the crash scene as "devastating" and said both planes were cleared to be in the airspace at the time.
"You couldn't even tell it was an aircraft... It is a big tragedy for both families... Neither plane was incinerated, they both hit the ground very hard."
Koger said one plane crashed immediately while the other continued to fly about two kilometres from the airport before crashing.
"Both planes were flying in a similar area, one plane had just left from the Mangalore Airport, the other plane had come from another airport but we are still trying to establish where that is," he told reporters.
"At this point, we are not sure why both aircraft were exactly on the same trajectory or why they were in that area."
Police are investigating why police planes had clearance to fly in the same airspace at the same time and whether weather played a factor in the crash.