Pete Coad

It is with great sadness that i have to tell you that Pete went into Hospital to under go major surgery yesterday and unfortunately did not make it through. I am sure that those of you who had anything to do with Pete can appreciate what a huge loss it is.

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PETE GOT INTO HANG GLIDING IN 1985, ALTHOUGH HE SAYS IT TOOK FOUR INSTRUCTORS BEFORE HE GOT TO CLOUDBASE.
He joined the League in the late 1980s and stayed for four years before business forced his retirement from comps, despite having more than once been selected for the British hang gliding team.
When paragliding appeared he got involved and flew until recently, but after breaking his neck, back and pelvis he now now sticks to hang gliding. Pete sold his business and retired in 2007. He returned to hang gliding competition, only to discover that although his mind was willing his body was less so.
In 2009 the opportunity arose to take over from John Aldridge as Meet Head, although Pete says he was the only person foolish enough to put his hand up. He immediately made a big impact, making the comp scene much more welcoming to new faces and making sure that the Club Class pilots were well supported. BOS and Nationals pilots regard him firm but fair. Optimistic without being unrealistic, he is always able to get the best out of the available days. Known for his sense of humour and practical jokes, Pete’s briefings became legendary - no matter how remote your landing, he would narrate your tale exquisitely as a helpful lesson to others. Health problems have forced him to hand on the baton to Nick Pain, the latest in a long line of stars in this role. Pete is much respected by the pilots and will be greatly missed at the BOS.

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Age? 58.

Marital status? Most folk wonder how Angela has put up with me for 37 years. I think that she probably thinks the same way.

Where were you born? Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

Where do you live now? In the tropics (Cornwall).

Occupation? Retired.

Previous occupations? Soldier,tin miner, salesman and businessman.

How and when did you start flying? Parachuting in the Army was my first taste of aviation and that just lit the fuse.

Which pilots most influenced you? Collectively the Kernow club. A great crowd:competitive, fun-loving, full of wind-ups and pranks. Some of them even enjoyed the occasional small sherry.

Where and what was your most memorable flying experience? So many fond memories, but the one that sticks in mind is the phone call from the great John Pendry informing me that I had been selected for the British team, a huge honour.

What is your favourite flying site in Britain? As I enjoy light-wind flying it has to be the Blorenge.

What is your favourite flying site in Europe? Annecy for the great scenery.

What is your favourite flying site in the world? I have not flown outside of Europe.

Who do you most admire in the sport? All the volunteers at both national and local level that keep our sport alive. And let’s not forget (if you are a XC pilot) the retrieve drivers that allow us to pursue our dreams.

What trait do you most deplore in yourself? I’m not sure, maybe indecisiveness.I’ll get back to you on that one - well, maybe.

What trait do you most deplore in other people? Criticising volunteers while not prepared to help out themselves.

When not flying, what do you do for recreation? I enjoy winter sports, water sports, golf, cycling and bridge.

What is your favourite piece of music? As befits my age, older music is my favourite, but some of the more modern tunes I can live with. Like David Bowie, the Stones and Elvis.

What is your favourite book? Any good mystery.

What is your favourite film? Ghost almost brought a tear to my eye.

What is your greatest fear? I don’t do fear.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Before poor health set in I was there: a loving family, good lifestyle and great friends.

What would your motto be? I love the phrase, If you aren’t living on the edge you’re taking up too much space.

How would you like to be remembered? You know - the one that looked like George Clooney and danced like John Travolta.

Skywings June 2013 : page 15


A selection of photos from various sources follow. The majority of which are from Alan Moffat

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