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Eric Thurston OBE

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Eric Thurston OBE

Old 25th Jan 2021, 13:05
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Essex
Posts: 8
Eric Thurston OBE

With great sadness we must pass on the news that Eric Thurston passed away yesterday at the great age of 101. We don't have any details yet regarding his funeral to pass on. I am sure that many of the PPruners will have happy memories of their training with Eric.
stapleford1 is offline  
Old 25th Jan 2021, 20:50
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Home
Posts: 5
Whilst I never knowingly met Eric, I knew many who did and always spoke kindly of him, just as any comments which mentioned him on the board were invariably complimentary. I recall an instructor of mine 40+ years ago talking about his training with Eric as we passed overhead Stapleford, in between berating me for being unable to maintain a heading.

It is nice to leave a legacy like that behind.
Equivocal is offline  
Old 26th Jan 2021, 10:03
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Cyprus
Posts: 32
Iconic. Like many others, had no personal contact but "Thurston Aviation" was, just, always there. What an innings. Rightfully, part of legendary aviation history.
Gordomac is offline  
Old 26th Jan 2021, 11:26
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Yes
Posts: 21
Very sad news indeed. I Knew Eric in the late 1970's. What an innings!!
RIP Eric. (ET 21)

Last edited by RichardJones; 26th Jan 2021 at 11:50.
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Old 26th Jan 2021, 16:53
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: France / Qatar
Age: 66
Posts: 1,036
Great career and a wonderful legacy. It was an honour to have been tested by him for my second IR reval flight, 40 years ago.

My logbook records 1hr 05min on the 4th Sep 1980 in Apache G-ASMY. As I recall, Eric arrived in the briefing room, having just returned from a charter flight in a Navajo. The briefing was short and to the point. His conduct of the test was strictly correct but at the same time helpful and not at all intimidating.

One of the many things I learned that day was that the use of QNH for landing was not automatically fatal. That particular SOP, and the use of Jepps as opposed to Aerads, was I think because Eric had done his IR training in the USA. His examining demeanor was one which I attempted to emulate myself, once I had reached that stage of my career.

I wonder how many other pilots have benefited from his wise words over the last few decades?
A remarkable man who lived a remarkable life!
eckhard is offline  
Old 30th Jan 2021, 09:22
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: London, England
Posts: 270
When I was learning at Stapleford Eric always took time to answer questions and be helpful. I spent a couple of sessions in the sim with him watching how it all worked. He had some great anecdotes too about about flying Islanders, including a Mirage that attempted to intercept him over France! We used to take turns in sitting with his wife Iris, who had Alzheimers, so Eric could teach in the sim. He insisted on using QNH ar Stapleford, which stood me in good stead. Blue skies to a true gentleman.
Rallye Driver is offline  
Old 31st Jan 2021, 11:32
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Clone of Victor Meldrew
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: england
Posts: 608
Such a sad loss.

My eighteen months working for Eric in the mid nineteen seventies as an AirTaxi pilot/ IR instructor were certainly a steep learning curve! Eric instilled into all of us his brand of good very sensible airmanship that served me so well in the decades that followed.We all learnt to operate safely in quite a demanding environment.

My time at Stapleford is filled with so many happy memories.

Rest in peace Captain Thurston OBE.

390cruise is offline  
Old 31st Jan 2021, 12:31
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: jersey
Age: 74
Posts: 3
A different breed

I flew Erics BE200 IPRA a few times for him and remember the instructions not to deface the nav log in any way and it would be dealt with after the flight. Later on an ops inspection with another operator I was berated for my untidy and illegible nav log and why couldnt it be like one of Erics. I said that they were done after the flight and the inspector said he knew but the were works of art.
Wherever he goes I am sure the paperwork will be in order.
COB is offline  
Old 1st Feb 2021, 11:27
  #9 (permalink)  
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Derbyshire, England.
Posts: 4,083
Eric did my PA31 Navajo conversion in about 1973, a really nice person to fly with and a top quality instructor and examiner. Sad that Eric has died but good that he made it to 101! A great legacy as a major contributor to safety and proficiency in aviation.
parabellum is offline  
Old 1st Feb 2021, 13:36
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 62
Yes it was a pleasure and privilege to be around him....RIP.
rifruffian is offline  
Old 1st Feb 2021, 16:38
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: SWAPS Inner
Posts: 567
Good old Eric. A legend. As a young lad cycling out to Stapleford his planes were always around and getting him to do my 1179 on leaving the RAF many moons later was like coming full circle. A gent and fountain of knowledge.
thunderbird7 is offline  
Old 3rd Feb 2021, 15:59
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: U.K.
Posts: 60
My father used to work for Eric in the late 60’s. He still talks highly of him to this day.
TFE731 is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2021, 11:31
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Essex
Posts: 99
A real gentleman of the Old School. When the ppl requirement was five hours per year minimum! He used to regularly sign off my log book. I also had a couple of free passenger trips in the Islander when he was doing a line check for someone and had some spare seats in the back. Although I never actually trained with him, he was always keen that a lowly ppl should gain some extra knowledge.
RIP Sir.
Meldrew is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2021, 21:27
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cloud 9
Posts: 329
I arrived one night in the 80’s with a Seneca to do my type rating GFT. He was such a gentleman it was like going on a jolly with a friend. People like Eric are worth their weight in gold.
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Old 28th Mar 2021, 21:47
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 269
I did my HS 125 rating at Stansted in the early 80's using Eric's 125 3B. Eric came along for the ride. He was a real gent. I noticed that plane had a massive amount of riveting around the main door. it slid upwards but someone had slid it upwards with the external handle not flush and it had jammed. They ended up having to cut through the outer fuselage skin to get to it. Hence the mess.

I always admired Eric, especially when the CAA took him to court for low flying during a practice forced landing and he won.
suninmyeyes is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2021, 00:53
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: France
Posts: 8
I have many memories of Eric. I used to cycle from school in Chigwell to work in the ops office during school holidays, after school, and also during school as history lessons weren't top of my list. Day trips away on flights, in the PA31, PA23 and the Islander were common occurrences.
Later his help with getting a PPL, and the all the associated ratings to bolt onto it and then being told in no uncertain terms to go forth and get an ATPL and pass on the knowledge he imparted to me.
Such a modest man with more experience in aviation than a 'squadron' of aces could accrue. His gentle demeanour was encouraging, as well as passing a challenge to me to succeed in my career. As a TRE I take his demeanour and example and carry it through in my career.
His caring and compassion for others was above and beyond most of those around him, a true example to the aviation world and his place in the history books of aviation.
Thanks Eric, may you rest in peace and continue to show the world the true face of aviation.
rocketfun is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2021, 02:38
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Age: 73
Posts: 4,307
I was fortunate to have Eric's guidance very early in my career: first flight with him was 14th September 1965 (Ercoupe ARHB) and he signed off my PPL course on 30th September.

Lovely bloke, a legend in our industry.
John Eacott is offline  

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