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Ron Berry - Vale

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Ron Berry - Vale

Old 31st Dec 2020, 08:56
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: On the scrap heap
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Ron Berry - Vale

Ron passed away on Tuesday, aged 88. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for a number of years and his health began to deteriorate recently. Ron will be well known to many older generation Aussie pilots from his days as CFI at NASA Cessnock, South Pacific Aero Club, South Coast Aero Club and South Coast Aviation. He was a career instructor and a mentor to many. At one point prior to him retiring we estimated that he had trained over 200 commercial pilots, most of whom went on to an airline career.

Ron always took an interest in his students and followed their progress long after they had gained their licence. With a newly minted CPL and a job offer in PNG, Ron took me aside and said "Son, I taught you how to fly and now I'm going to teach you how to survive." At his own expense he took me up into the hills in a C206 and had me doing low level steep turns and a range of other exercises that I did indeed put to good use when I got to PNG. I was very proud when, 20 years later, I was able to have him accompany me on the flight deck as an observer as I plied my trade in Europe. It was fitting to see him awarded a Master Air Pilot certificate in 1999 by the Honourable Company of Air Pilots where, by pure chance we were seated next to DianaBarnato Walker the wartime "Atagirl" who delivered aircraft to squadrons and later joined the Ten-Ton Club by flying the 1,000 mph Lightening. Ron was tickled pink to be in such esteemed company and felt very humbled in her presence.

Ron was a gifted and tolerant instructor who knew how to get the most out of his students and always found a way to ensure you "got it" when, during periods of mind blankness you felt you weren't "getting it". His assessment of your flying skills were always honest and he had no hesitation in bringing you back to earth if he thought you were being too cocky, a trait he always said will one day kill you. His trademark pipe always hung out of the corner of his mouth and stayed put in that position, even during loops and aileron rolls.

There is a significant number of pilots who achieved their dreams as a result of the solid flying skills that Ron taught them and for that I and many others will be forever grateful. May tailwinds and clear skies accompany you on your new journey through the skies and to Evelaine, Carmen, Scott, Mark and families we extend our deepest sympathy and remember a man who was quiet, gifted and an inspiration to many.

Due to the challenges currently posed by COVID in NSW Ron will be privately cremated. A memorial service will be held once some semblance of normality returns and I will post details here once known.
Old Metal is offline  
Old 24th Jan 2021, 03:46
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cairns Qld
Posts: 87

Thanks for a wonderful post about Ron Berry, Old Metal. I had the pleasure of working with Ron for 3 years near the end of his career. I think he was nearing 30 thousand hours of ab initio training which is an amazing record. Such a wonderful and dedicated teacher. Tough at times but always fair and always, always a gentleman. There must be many pilots still flying who owe their careers and even their lives to Ron. And who could forget his favourite mantra. "It doesn't matter what else is happening around you don't forget to just fly the plane" Vale Ron Berry. Gone but never forgotten.
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