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Pilots you knew who are no longer with us, and what did you learn from the reports?

Let me add David Philips to this thread. Many of us knew him.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

And I understand that the PIC of the Arrow which came to grief in Switzerland was a member here as well?

LSZH, Switzerland

I had just been hired at my first airline job and was still in line training when my father called me and told me that through some circumstances he was invited to join a private group for a day long event: a tour of the Flying Bulls Hangar 7 in Salzburg LOWS followed by a fancy lunch at the on site restaurant and thereafter a flight in the exclusive Red Bull DC-6. The invite was plus one and he could bring me along. Sadly, I didn’t have off on the affected day and had to decline.

Shortly after I got a call from my company: “Hey, bad news, your line training captain is sick, we don’t have anybody else, you get day so and so off”. What are the odds. Couldn’t believe my luck and a few days later the whole group met early morning for the train ride to Salzburg.

Along for the day was an old friend of my father who had started flying a few years before. He could easily afford it and spent a lot of money chartering planes from the (back then still thriving) local club. My dad had mentioned it to me a couple of times before and I was looking forward to some aviation chat. We sat next to each other and spoke mostly about flying for the next few hours on the train. He had a few hundred hours, and recently flew mostly IFR in a Seneca.

Back then I was inexperienced, had roughly only 200 hours total time, still some things we conversed about amazed me or didn’t “check out” for me and I was astonished more than once. Obviously this was a nice event, light hearted and not serious and pilots exaggerating a bit is nothing unusual.

I did get a “feeling” during our talking and tried to respond and say what I think as honestly as possible without being harsh. Fast forward and as you can guess, the day was fantastic and flying in a pristine condition DC-6, VFR over the alps to Venice and then back home makes for a lifetime memory.

As we said goodbye that night I took my dad aside and said: “promise me you will not fly with him, we can all go flying together some day when I think it’s ok, but don’t go along alone!”

Over the next months my dad called me a few times asking if I’d have time because his friend is flying here and there and had invited him (mostly nice destinations with great culinary options), however I never had time for work or personal reasons.

The last time he called me was for a flight over the alps and back at the beginning of winter, planned for the following day. My dad was pretty keen on taking up the invite to come along in the private Seneca. BUT I had to work that day and once more declined. And so did my dad.

That following day I went to work in the afternoon, it was just getting dark, a thick low overcast prevailed, and as I passed the airport office lady at the crew security she mentioned there might be a delay because a crash alarm had just been issued. I asked if she knew the registration and she gave me her guess. I then flew to Geneva (iirc) and a an ensuing phone call confirmed my fear.

My fathers friend crashed on approach, right over the outer marker, 3 people died. A very sad day, he was a great guy and we might have done some great flights together in the future. It did hit close to home.

The cause of the crash is undetermined, and my feeling might have had nothing to do with it at all. Just my story, not trying to prove a point, apart from perhaps trusting your gut a bit!

Airline/Mentor/Safety/Instructor - Pilot
Based Austria | Operating Worldwide

And I understand that the PIC of the Arrow which came to grief in Switzerland was a member here as well?

Yes indeed

I had not met him personally but many of us “knew” him. And probably many knew him personally; he was based at White Waltham AFAIK.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

he was based at White Waltham AFAIK

He flies at North Weald, RIP him & family, we come across on apron few times…

Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

Yes, sorry, that’s what I meant. I always confuse those two.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

How many dead pilots do you know, and what did you learn from the reports?

This thread has an awful heading thats in real bad taste, especially after that crash in Switzerland, Peter …. do you think that you should change it or delete it completely ?

Thanks for pointing out, it also always bothered me a bit, almost sounding like a competition. Maybe “tribute to those who left us” it something like that would be more appropriate

It’s a very old thread. Some were not happy about it but on the whole… well, one can read it, or not. A lot of people are not happy about any accident thread.

There is also the Hide button

Title changed.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Sad to discover this was „PG“:

Paul Gunnell, the pilot whose legacy is a lifetime of adventure
A UK coroner’s inquest has failed to find the cause of the light aircraft accident on July 13, 2017, which claimed the lives of two experienced pilots, including FCC member and Cathay Pacific Deputy Chief Pilot, Paul Gunnell. After two years commuting from the Channel Islands, Paul died two weeks before he was due to return to Hong Kong and four weeks before his second wedding anniversary. His widow, Kirsty Boazman, writes that he left a legacy of adventure, not an obituary.


Airline/Mentor/Safety/Instructor - Pilot
Based Austria | Operating Worldwide
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