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Paul Gunnell, RIP

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Paul Gunnell, RIP

Old 17th Jul 2017, 09:46
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Paul Gunnell, RIP

I've just seen the following on PG's Facebook feed, posted by Rick Offord:

I'm afraid I have some bad news about my dear mate PG. I quote from Kirsty his wife:
In the early evening of Thursday 13 July my precious and outrageously talented husband, Paul Gunnell (PG to most), died in a light aircraft accident just outside Marlborough, UK.
This cruel and unexpected departure has ripped a hole in my heart and existence. Paul was an exceptional man, my best friend, a natural-born leader and aviator who spent his entire career flying, amassing more than 17,000 hours privately and commercially. He died while doing what he loved most but it was not time to leave this life. We had much planned. I dearly love and so terribly miss my ‘Captain’.
Paul held dear a circle of equally talented friends including Rick Offord, a best mate and frequent 'partner in crime', who writes:
After squandering a scholarship to Oxford, PG graduated with a First from Leicester. He joined the RAF in 1982 and aced his way through flying training, picking up all the prizes and a posting to the Harrier fast jets. He became a Harrier Weapons Instructor and ended his RAF service testing and introducing the new GR7 night capability. He subsequently joined Cathay Pacific, flying the Airbus from Hong Kong then the B777 from Heathrow.
While Deputy Chief Pilot of Cathay’s Airbus fleet, PG notched up a law degree and naturally got another First. Clever and talented but, first and foremost, a gifted aviator and true friend.
He was always first to the bar, occasionally (actually, often) dipped his toe into the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, and seemed the permanent bachelor. He finally found his soulmate in Kirsty and somewhat settled down. ‘Legend’ is used too often in aviation but if anyone deserves that status, it is PG.
The circumstances of Thursday’s crash will be under investigation for some time but whatever occurred happened quickly. Paul was not alone and our thoughts are equally with the family of Gordon Davis, an experienced pilot of 18 years and many overseas flying adventures, who shared Paul’s sheer joy of being in the air.
Paul's life and legacy will be celebrated. Details will follow.
He would be upset if you didn't order a beer for him tonight.
Though I can't claim to have known PG well in recent years, I enjoyed some great laughs and scrapes with him back in the 1980s, and am deeply shocked by this news.

I can only imagine the devastating blow that this will be to those who knew him really well.

He was an aviator to his bones, and was truly a 'larger than life' character, ever ready with a practical joke (and a masterful exponent of the tactical use of bird-scarers), and full of rakish charm, but also a deeply kind and compassionate friend. I had remembered that he was ex Southampton UAS when I was on London - such is the fallibility of human memory. But I do remember him on 1417 in Belize and on 3 in Germany.
Jackonicko is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2017, 10:06
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Deepest condolences.
Edmund Spencer is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2017, 15:56
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Join Date: Dec 2000
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PG was indeed full of life during his first flying tour on 3(F) Sqn. I am saddened to hear that he is no more.
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Old 18th Jul 2017, 05:44
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Former Harrier weapons instructor dies in crash

Tributes paid to former RAF pilot following fatal crash.
Newspaper report
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Old 18th Jul 2017, 09:43
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Hadn't seen him for ages, but one of those blokes you very much hoped you'd spend time with at a future gathering, for an evening of tales of derring-do and derring-shouldn't have but did anyway. I can't help smiling when I think of him. Glasses will be raised.

Deepest sympathy to PG's wife and family, and to those of his fellow pilot.
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Old 18th Jul 2017, 10:23
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I too, am deeply saddened by the news. Sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family.
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Old 18th Jul 2017, 11:49
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Join Date: Jul 1999
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Paul and Rich were on one of the first courses I ran at Valley, the group were full of characters but sadly a number have been killed by aviation including a fellow QFI. Its an unforgiving art. RIP
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