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And more sad news. . . John Lancaster

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Another long-time Vail instructor has died this week. John Lancaster, who reached the pinnacle of the profession as a top instructor, trainer, and Examiner in PSIA-Rocky Mountain, John retired from teaching skiing to follow his passion of flying helicopters several seasons ago. He put himself through flight training, and began flying professionally last summer, mostly shuttling workers to the offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, John's helicopter went down while attempting to land on an offshore platform, killing John and the single passenger.

John was a friend of mine. He and I coached and coaxed each other through the DCL (trainer) and Examiner selections in PSIA-Rocky Mountain, and John became an influential member of the RM Alpine Committee, responsible for shaping the clinic and exam process and producing support materials for several years.

We'll miss ya, John.

Best regards,
post #2 of 7

Such a shock!

I received this news last night. It shook me a bit, as John and I have been in pretty close contact since my arrival in Houston. We shared many stories about flying our respective aircraft, and the other things pilots tend to BS about.

In one of his recent letters to me, he expressed his interest in getting back into to ski teaching, part time. Since he was on a 14/14 schedule, and living in Denver during his off time, he was excited to exercise his passion for skiing once again!

We discussed the changes that we had seen over our years together in Vail, the way the industry had changed, and he told how wonderful it felt to go skiing, if only on a small hill in the Mid-West, after his broken ankle a few years ago. It had been his only on-snow experience during the several years he was doing his flight training.

He wrote in glowing terms about his wife, Lisa, and the Vet business she is developing in Denver. I hadn't seen her in a very long time. My heart goes out to her, and I share her sadness.

I will miss him, knowing we will never make another turn together, knowing we will never share another flying story, and the ski and aviation industries are both poorer for his loss.

As we signed off every letter,

Fly Safe!
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yes, Ric--I sure thought about you when I heard the news about John. I'm glad you've been in touch with him. I had not heard from John in over a year, when he was still training. But like you, his passion and excitement for flying and learning new skills was clearly evident with every story he told about it.

It would have been great to see him back on skis, rekindling his other passion. And my thoughts also are with Lisa. It is truly sad.

You fly safe too!

post #4 of 7
To say this is a shock is an understatement. Any plans for a memorial?

post #5 of 7
Another forum ... Pilots of America ... has a mention of plans and also mentions another web site he was active on ...
post #6 of 7

Memorial Website for John

Please visit www.johnlancastermemorial.com Although the last few years John has been quite immersed in helicopters, clearly skiing, and the ski community was a huge part of John's life. It will mean a lot to Lisa, and all of us, to read your stories and comments in the guestbook on the memorial site. Please spread the word to other folks who knew and loved John.

--Dan Simons. Lisa's brother.
post #7 of 7
John was a super person- I skied with him countless times here in Vail where where we both were at the Gold Peak Ski School pod. This week Vail lost another icon in Eric Windish who at 89 was truly a legend.

At least they both went doing the things they loved. We should all be so lucky.

We will miss you John and Eric....
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