A committed rescue helicopter pilot has been named one of the victims of a plane crash in Northland on Monday.
Northland Rescue Helicopter Trust operations manager Dean Voelkerling and his passenger were killed in the small plane crash in the Kaipara District about noon on Monday.
The Rans microlight RV 7 went down at Te Kopuru, with both the pilot and passenger dying at the scene.
Mr Voelkerling had flown countless search and rescue missions and had been a member of the Whangarei Flying Club for three years.
Police have not officially named Mr Voelkerling the victim, but he was seen leaving with a passenger for his plane around midday. Newshub has since received unofficial confirmation.
Andrew Bos from Wellington Free Ambulance worked with Mr Voelkerling on and off over the years and described him as a "go-to guy".
"[He was a] great mentor, very passionate about aircraft and very passionate about helping trauma patients particularly.
"If you were calling for back-up and you knew it was Dean who was coming you'd think, 'oh thank God for that'. He was that good."
Mr Voelkerling and his wife built the light aircraft themselves, NZME reports, from a kitset, using a hangar near the club.
The Civil Aviation Authority will arrive at the scene on Tuesday.