It is with grand sadness that I am posting here to tell the news of Grampa Dave (David McCord) passing away in Iceland last sunday, Aug 13th 2017. He was well loved all around the planet.
Grampa learned to paraglide with me in summer 2012 (the summer of the first Nationals in Pemberton).
Jim and I decided to stopped teaching paragliding. Pemberton is not an easy place to learn, way too unconsistent without the right terrain, no training hills and long retrieve driving. It usually takes 2 full summers to become a P2 pilot in Pemberton. Therefore we decided to stop.
I had no other students...we basically refused everyone else...and this man got me...with his charm, his ~keen~ attitude and the many friends we had in common...after enough begging on the phone, I agreed to finally meet him !
We did a lot of kiting that summer ! Almost every evenings, I would pick him up after work... in several places in Pemberton, even on strong inflow evening we would go play in the wind...sometimes when too strong : he would take the left risers of my old wing, I would grab the right risers and without being clipped to anything we would run around and laugh at the airport and we were happy we just spent time together and kited , kited and kited more...! Until I would agree that he was ready...but that took a while....
After 2 months of kiting and a few tandems... YES Grampa was becoming 'antsy' to have me say that he was ready ...we sent him off for his first flights on McKenzie and he was the happiest man on Earth !! I then became really grey hair...then white Hair...and we laugh saying it was thanks to him...he used to jump in his harness to early, and used to do what most beginners are `USED TO` to scare their instructors with...and he was definitely making me pull my hairs out ! I for sure was swearing myself I do not want to teach this sport anymore.
Only 6 flights he had in the Fall 2012 ...and finally he left Pemberton for the winter and kept doing his instruction in South Africa where he met another lovely instructors ladies from Iceland and more Icelandic pilots. Anita and Asa & Sami. He flew in Ontario, had a few Tree experience, nothing serious. But he was proud of the stories and was sending me pictures of him in the Trees, videos of him crashing...I was by then real "white hair" and didn't care anymore about my hairs, but still was worried about him like his 'mother of paragliding".
He was a member of HPAC of course and WCSC. He then became better pilot and his athletism (playing tennis regularly) was definitely improving his skills to become a better pilot and para-launcher. He had to re-learned to launch in higer winds in Hermanus and Iceland...(as Pemberton barely has those launching conditions we could send him in safely).
He started doing a few long beautiful X-country flights here in Pemberton. He lost his buddy friend Judd in summer 2014 and that was really hard on him. Grampa (or Lucas like some of us called him), travelled to fly in Mexico with us, flew in Chile, South Africa, Iceland and all over other flying sites in the worlds. His first flight from Penon to the Lake was memorable and his trip to Valle de Bravo was accomplished when he finally flew to the Lake that day ! He will never forget his smile !!
Recently he was telling me that he more likely became a `ridge soaring` pilots and that flying strong thermal conditions was impressive to him again. He simply was flying so much in Iceland that the Pemberton Thermals were quite something new to get accustomed to !
He flew here during the 2017 Nationals and was volunteering during the Event. He travelled to Revelstoke early August and learned to SAT with Peyman. He got so excited and so happy he was telling everyone how that felt and how proud he was. I congratulated him...even though inside of me (I was scared again...something happen to the old goat) I had my stomach rolling inside out again. I smiled and said : ` awesome Grampa, that is fantastic`, I was so happy for him. His happiness was contagious ! His love was contagious. I loved him so much like my family. He always cared for me.
He then returned to Iceland on August the 6th, where I believe he flew the jet plane beside the Icelandair pilot in the front cockpit, a friend of ours was the pilot. Great experience Grampa !
Last sunday the 13th I received a call from Sami who was really closed to him in Vik with the whole paragliding community to tell me a terrible accident happened. Grampa deep spiraled and went all the way to the ground.
http://icelandmag.visir.is/article/cana ... sand-beach
I was in schock or course and went through many phases of being really sad, angry (want to kick him in ass again...) and accepting the fate. Grampa is now gone. I will miss him dearly. His spirit will always be here in Pemberton, in Vik, in South Africa Hermanus.
Grampa Dave lived the life to the max, he was partying until 3.30am that same day, he was flying hard, he was living the life like there is no tomorrow...and he was right. He was 68 and his charm was still hypnotizing many women around the world. He was a "f*** legend" like they say in Iceland.
Gisli also made a webpage on his honor to share stories and music (soon a way to share in favorite music - a playlist for all-):
His daughter Meaghan from South Africa is trying to get to Vik to see him (Grampa had no travel insurance..) , if you met Grampa and can participate to the fundraising, feel free to donate a little something here and read the story :
We are trying to get all together on Saturday to celebrate his life here in Pemberton, fly...in McKenzie. We just want to get together and be internationally with the celebration happening in Iceland and South Africa that same day, August 19th 2017.
Stay tuned for more infos.
Fly safe, fly high for Grampa.
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