Keystone Law’s international aviation lawyers James Healy-Pratt and Owen Hanna are representing the family of former RAF pilot David Ashley as an inquest begins into the cause of his death.

At the pre-inquest review hearing, which took place on Tuesday 4 October at Bournemouth Coroner’s Court, the court heard how Mr Ashley was working as an independent contractor for Leonardo SpA, an Italian aeronautical company, and carrying out his first familiarisation training flight when the fatal crash occurred.

Mr Ashley died after the military jet he was in came down on Monte Legnone near Colico, Lombardy, on Wednesday 16 March 2022. David and the test pilot, Giampaola Goattin, ejected shortly before the aircraft crashed into a mountain. Mr Goattin was taken to hospital and survived the crash.

The safety of the M-346 jet has been questioned by Mr Ashley’s family, who noted the aircraft has continued to fly since his death in air shows at Farnborough and Fairford.

Mr Ashley’s family have launched a High Court claim against the makers of the military jet, Leonardo SpA, and the test pilot for £1 million.

An investigation is ongoing in Italy as to whether or not there will be criminal proceedings.

James Healy-Pratt said:

“This is an important first step for Mr Ashley’s family in seeking justice for his death. Unfortunately, these criminal proceedings often run on for a considerable amount of time. The next inquest review is scheduled to take place in February, and we will be taking all necessary steps to progress the family’s case in the interim.”

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