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Edgar Duff Seymour

A small but persistent light extinguished yesterday at about 9 PM, when Ed Seymour died. Many, perhaps thousands, of pilots throughout the US and Canada received instruction and encouragement in the sport of Soaring (as well as an example in instruction) from Ed, who almost made it to his 99th birthday on June 23. His instructional montra was "I'll teach you to fly, but not for free. You have to teach someone else to fly for free too."

He was born in 1912 and flew primary gliders back in the days when your exam as an instructor was survival without injury from your first solo flight.

Back in 1950, Ed joined the fledgling Rochester Soaring Club that started with 10 members at the Genesee Regional airport, at Jefferson and East Henrietta Roads in Henrietta NY. The group purchased a 2-22 and moved to Batavia Airport, then a grass strip at the site of the current airport (and flying off the current runway when it was grass and less than 2,000' long).

Some of our current members were present when pressed into service to cut brush to lengthen the runway on Gil Chapel's farm to 2,000' in 1958. The next year we celebrated its 10th anniversary with a photo portrait of members and machines that now hangs in our clubhouse.

Ed was inducted into the Soaring Hall of Fame when Jill Alcorn, president in the 90s, obtained a list of pilots across the US whom Ed had instructed, and whom Jill enlisted in her campaign. While pilots who now stress safety in the sky still put their own survival second to others on the ground, Ed joined Soaring when the excitement was more important than risks back in the day when a spin meant certain death.

Lucky are we who had Ed as an instructor, model and mentor.

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Posted: 5/2/2011


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