Shane Smith has passed away

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Shane Smith has passed away

Postby jlowery » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:19 pm

This is just heartbreaking. Shane Smith passed away today in a hang gliding accident while scooter towing at Phoenix Regional Airport.

I don't have the details about the accident yet, but Eric asked me to post this to let everyone know. He said he will follow up later with additional information.

Shane recently returned from two years of missionary work in Guatemala, and had enthusiatically returned to flying.

I'd like to offer my heartfelt condolences to his parents Orrin and Dianne, to his brothers and sisters, and to his girlfriend.
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Postby Whitney T » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:51 pm

I first heard the news because I didn't make it out there today...Shane you will be missed you were our brightest star. I had a few moments with you at the meeting. Everyone was so apt to nominating you for positions and I Whispered in your ear - sorry I didn't vote for you because I just want you to concentrate on flying..we will always love you

Whitney
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Postby SorenTheStorm » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:53 pm

My true condolences to Shane's family and friends.

After just briefly meeting Shane earlier this week it was immediately clear that he was wholly in love with life and actively living it to the fullest. I hope that spirit lives on in those who know and love him. I'm sure there are many.
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Postby Tom Morrison » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:32 am

Condolences from Canada

I am truly saddened to hear of Shane’s passing and offer my heart felt condolences to his friends and family. I had the opportunity of meeting Shane and sharing some air at Miller on my first trip to Tucson two years ago just before his trip to Guatemala. I always read this forum and have been intrigued by Shane’s enthusiasm as he returned to flying again. Shane, your passing will leave a void in our lives and the hangliding community, you will be greatly missed.

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Postby Whitney T » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:06 pm

As a tribute to Shane last night after finding about 4 tatoo parlors closed I found one next to the U of A and had Shane's hangglider and a large S in back of it which looks he is working a thermal. I'll think of him everyday for the rest of my days. R.I.P. Shane
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Postby John Wolfe » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:23 pm

Words are insufficient to express my sadness over this tragedy, so I will not even try.

We, as a local community, have a responsibility to learn all we can from the accident and share that knowledge with the broader flying community.

To that end, I am requesting that anyone who witnessed the incident write down what you observed and send it to me at j_r_wolfe@msn.com. I know it’s painful, but the accuracy of observations decreases rapidly with time, so please do it as soon as you can possibly manage.

Please send me the raw data without attempting to analyze it, make sense of it, or sanitize it. I will then correlate the observations, and I will likely be talking with each of you to clarify points of confusion. One of the end products will be the accident report, fully devoid of names, that I must file with USHPA.

Perhaps a much more important artifact I hope to produce is a set of suggestions about systemic changes we might make as a local flying club and suggest to the broader organization.

Thank you all for your help with this very unpleasant task.
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Condolences

Postby clspark » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:37 am

My sincere condolences to Orrin and Diane and Shane's brothers and sisters and his girlfriend.

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Postby Fred » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:38 pm

There is no way I can express how sad I felt when I heard about this today. Shane was a joy to be around and his enthusiasm was infectious. It is just so hard to believe that he is gone. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with Orrin, Diane, and the family.
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Sadness and condolences

Postby Raven » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:42 pm

I was deeply saddened to read of Shane's demise. I offer my sincere condolences to Orrin, his family and all of the members of the flying community who knew Shane. I will always treasure the times that we trained and humped gliders together; "Clear."
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Our last flight together.

Postby Eric Tucker » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:11 pm

I believe I was the last one to fly with Shane so I thought I would share a little of that experience with everyone. Me and Raquel met Shane in the Box LZ and drove my truck up to launch. It's a long drive so we had a lot of time to talk. I recall we spent much of the time discussing his and Raquel's Mormon missionary experiences. Raquel had met a Mormon man while doing his missionary time in the Philippines. She later married and had his children. We didn't realize it until later that he had died earlier that same day in a tragic car accident, which happened to be on their anniversary day.

Raquel says that Shane spoke of how lucky he was to have such a good family and to be a Mormon. You could tell how devoted he was to his spiritual growth and hang gliding. I was a little envious at how quickly he was progressing as a pilot. He was a rising star and would have been a great pilot someday....just like his father. At one point he asked me if I still got nervous before launch, so ironically we discussed the Glen Bender tragedy and how to avoid his ultimate mistake.

Shane launched first and I followed shortly afterward. Shane managed to soar over the PG launch and for a short while we flew together there. He had a perfect landing and commented that the only reason he landed was to give the PG pilot room to launch...what a guy. I'll never forget that day.

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Postby clspark » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:02 pm

That was a great post Eric thanks for the story. I am proud to be a member of a great bunch of people in SAHGA so well represented by Shane. Now that I also belong to the Chico Cloud Street Gang, I am happy to report that they too are great people. I think we all must belong to a very special organization, one that celebrates the freedom of the skies, and the memories of those with whom we have shared it.

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Postby lewsmith » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:39 pm

I just got back from Shane's funeral service. It was very moving. Eric Tucker's posting was also meaningful for me. I believe Eric was talking about a December 18 flight. Shane landed to give a PG pilot plenty of room to launch. I might have been that PG pilot. I was the only pilot at the upper launch. As it turned out, I chickened out and hiked down.
Later, Shane told me that a Harris hawk landed on his HG nose just after he landed. Kirk (one of the visiting San Diego PG pilots) flies with a trained hawk. It must have been a magical moment.
Shane first flew solo at age 12 on my very old Excaliber PG. I sold that PG to Paul St. Onge and Orrin eventually got it. If I remember the story correctly, Shane's first flight was at Sheba Mountain near Flagstaff.
I will miss Shane.
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Re; Shane

Postby RossinAz » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:57 pm

Orrin and Diane- I am so sorry for your tragic loss. I was at Box Canyon last month when Shane had the hawk land on his glider. This was the only day I got to fly with Shane. What an incredibly positive enthusiastic pilot. He will certainly be missed.
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Postby jlowery » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:34 pm

Ross, I'm not able to see that page. It's telling me I don't have permission to access the album. Is it public?
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