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David H. Noyes

DAVID H. NOYES died on April 6, 2009 as a result of injuries sustained in an ATV accident near his home in southeastern Ohio a week earlier. He was 74 years old.

Already at the age of 13 David had his first flying lesson in his father's Piper J3 Cub, but it wasn't until 1953 that he started flying small power planes in earnest.

Then, after being settled down with his wife and two children and with an appointment as a faculty member at the Ohio State University, College of Medicine in Columbus, he turned to gliding and took his first lessons in September 1977 at the Central Ohio Soaring Association in Marion, OH.

David obviously was a gifted student, because he soloed on April 9, 1978 then flew his Silver Altitude Gain on May 19 at the Ridge Soaring Gliderport, PA and obtained his PPL on July 22 of that same year! He fell in love with flying on the ridge and he did visit the Ridge Soaring Gliderport at least once (but often twice or three times) a year for the next twenty years. His gliding career steadily progressed with a Silver XC flight in 1979 and a Diamond altitude gain (to 31.000ft) in 1981. He also became a CFI-G in 1980 and acted as tow pilot at his club in Marion, OH.

In 1980 David bought himself more performance in the form of a Schleicher ASW19 in which he flew his 1000km badge along the Bald Eagle Ridge in 1983.

Then in 1991 he spoiled himself with a brand new Schempp-Hirth Ventus CM self-launcher and with that glider his gliding career really took off. David started flying competitions like the Seniors at Seminole, FL in 1992 and numerous other competitions. He also traveled to and flew from quite a few airfields all over the US.

But David gained national (and even international)  fame with his epic 1012km (632mi) downwind flight from Marion ,OH to Plymouth, MA on April 15, 1994 and his narrative of this daring flight was published in the January 1995 edition of Soaring Magazine. His self-retrieve with the disassembled Ventus strapped in the back of a standard 22ft U-Haul truck has become legendary.

On April 18, 1997 he made another epic straight flight of 1047km (654mi) along and even past the end of the Ridge from Ridge Soaring Gliderport, PA to Gadsden, AL.

In spite of his busy lecturing job David found time to travel the world and fly gliders at numerous famous locations, like Waikerie and Camden (Australia) - Budapest (Hungary)  Lezno (Poland),  Wasserkuppe,  Oerlinghausen and Borkenberge (Germany) Gap Tallard (France), Long Mynd (England) and Omarama (New Zealand). It was here that David and I met for the first time in December 1993 and we were to become the best of friends.

Between 1993 and 1997 David took his Ventus CM five times on what he called a Gliding Safari, in which he shared the flying and the driving for a couple of weeks with a friend, usually along and through the Rocky Mountains. I was very lucky to be invited for such a wonderful trip in 1995 and I drove and flew from Livingston, MT all the way to Parowan, UT and even crossed the Grand Canyon twice in his glider.

With his generous nature David thereafter allowed me to fly his Ventus at Ridge Soaring Gliderport, PA in 1996 and 1997 and I obtained my 1000km badge there.

But because David wanted more engine power for the high density altitude takeoff's in the western US, he sold his Ventus CM by the end of 1997 and bought a DG800B self-launcher. Unfortunately, due to a technical malfunction, this glider crashed on its third flight at Jean, NV on June 21, 1998. David (barely) survived and with his dry humor later wrote the following remark in his log book: Elevator control lost at top of S/L, landed heavily, severe damage to glider and pilot.

After 1320 flights and 2132 hours (gliding) this was, however, to be the latest entry in his log book as he quit flying altogether after that accident. Still he kept in touch with the gliding fraternity by being the President of our company Safari Glide which owns the Ventus 2CM glider I've been flying from several of the famous US gliding sites for the past five years and which was stored on his property during the winters.

Although David was slightly handicapped and in constant pain as a result of the accident, he still lived a very meaningful life and was a constant inspiration to his many friends.

David Noyes is survived by his son Gerold (a current private pilot and avid Angel Flight volunteer) and his daughter Annette (an experienced crew member for the famous EuroGlide competition).

David was a remarkable man and he will be sorely missed by all of us.

Daan Pare
The Netherlands

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Posted: 4/13/2009

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