'He was the best in the world - now he's not coming home'
The pilot who died when his plane crashed in Longford told his mother he loved her before making his final flight.
Air accident experts and gardaí are carrying out investigations after William Hillick, from Co Westmeath, lost control of his new light aircraft on Sunday and crashed into the ground near Abbeyshrule Aerodome on Sunday night.
Margaret Hillick fought back tears as she paid tribute to her son. "He was the best in the world. He really looked after me after my husband died 11 years ago, and I moved in here with him.
"He was so good to me. I loved him so much. I wish God would have taken me instead."
The father of five told his mother he loved her before he left for his final flight.
She said she worried about him every time he went flying but added he was passionate about being in the air.
"It was the first time he flew that plane. He bought it from Germany. He was all excited about it, flying was his hobby. He never drank or smoked.
"Every time he went flying I would worry about him. I felt so happy when he would walk through the door, but now he's not coming home.
"He told me he loved me before he left. And now he's not coming home."
Mr Hillick, who shared a home with his mother in Knockmant, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was the owner of the family-run CQ Communications shop in Dublin city centre.