Where Are They Now?Please feel free to post contact information here if you are looking for long lost friends or trying to find out what has happened to colleagues. Obituaries and condolences can be posted here too.
There's a buzz that Pete has finally taken permanently to the big blue yonder. Any confirmation ? If so, can someone post details of any service ? Would like to pay my respects to one of the nicest guys in the business. Blue skies, Pete, old chap.
Sadly, Peter's family confirmed the sad news yesterday afternoon. Peter passed away peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a valiant battle with the illness that, typically, he hadn't actually told many people he has been fighting for the past nine months.
Peter was a founder member of the Historic Aircraft Association and member of the BBMF, Spitfire display pilot and a superb instructor in all types of aircraft. A former CFI at CSE Oxford, he was still instructing aerobatics into his eighth decade.
It is with enormous regret I have to announce the passing away of Flt Lt Peter Thorn. ‘Pete’ was a most highly respected military pilot and instructor who gave his life to helping others to enjoy the ‘delirious burning blue’ as much as he did.
Pete was a fighter pilot and instructor who flew many fighter types in service with the RAF and FAA, including a time on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and displaying Spitfires on the airshow circuit. He spent many years teaching students to fly on Jet Provosts, Bulldogs and Chipmunks. After his retirement from the RAF, Pete had a long and illustrious career teaching at local flying clubs, being CFI at CSE Oxford, flying with the Tiger Moth ‘Diamond Nine’ Formation Team and also becoming Treasurer of the Historic Aircraft Association. Certainly, the world of aviation is much poorer for his passing but his legacy will live on in the multitude of well-trained pilots lucky enough to have had him for a mentor.
He 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' for the last time, peacefully, on 14 September 2011, after a short illness. He is survived by his wife, June, his daughter, Claire, his son, Justin and all their families who are hugely grateful for any messages of support and condolence. As well as posting on PPRuNe, anecdotes and memories can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will be a private family funeral but also there will be an ‘open’ memorial service in Woodstock sometime in the next month or so. Details are yet to be decided but I will post here when known.
Blue skies and happy landings Pete. Thank you for persevering with this particular 'low-average' pilot and for teaching me so much!
In the early hours of yesterday morning east african time I had a phone call to tell me that Peter had passed away. Only last week, he cropped up in a conversation with LP at a bar. - His ears must have been burning!!! But yesterday I walked outside from ops into an equatorial night and wept.
Peter Thorn, a true gentleman and friend. One of the finest pilots to bless the burning blue with his prescence. If god had a CFI - he just got made redundant. 'Come on old man!'
As I said to a friend who asked, (excusing errors) 'Ruth, Peter Thorn was the son of an Avro’s test pilot, he was, I think in his 80's and had spent much of his life after a career as a figher pilot in the RAF teaching others how to fly including the disabled, - he was a kind and considerate gentleman of inifinite ability who I trusted with my life and who afforded me the priviledge of flying with him and taught me much. His loss to aviation is biblical in proportion and his loss as a person is I feel more than can be born I fear. He was one of those people I cherish! A very special man.'
Flip, Sleeve, I think you should combine this thread, and perhaps the chance for people to add a few pics of the great man would be nice?
I first met him in 1980 when he cadged a lift off me in a Tri-Pacer from Oxford to Sywell. As a shiny new OATS Cadet in 1986 he remembered that flight and bought me a beer in the student's bar ("Now you're here you can't afford that stuff boy, so always grab free ones when you can!")
His beat-ups in the bright red Spitfire always gained an envious and admiring audience, he advised without patronising, always had an encouraging word for the young/inexperienced or struggling and never appeared to lose his cool with students ("please don't land like that old boy, otherwise I'll be doing a lot of explaining to Ken Meehan")
Just found his signature in my first log book, it like me is a bit battered now, and the latest book (No 6) bears testament to the fact that the lessons from Pete (and many others of his era) were well learnt and gave hugely practical advice as well as the mandatory lessons.
Happy landings Pete, and I hope God enjoys your beat-ups as much as I did.