January 25, 2014

Peter Ambrose Hearne

It is with regret that I announce the death of Peter Hearne who died at Lasham Gliding Society on Friday 24th January 2014.  Peter was in the clubhouse at the time attending the wake for David Innes when he became unwell.  Despite the best efforts of Lasham staff, a member (who is a retired doctor) and latterly the paramedics, he unfortunately succumbed.  


Peter's early interest in aviation included being Assistant CFI of the Cranfield College of Aeronautics flying club in 1949. He then joined BOAC and was involved with the Airways Aero Club in his spare time. This eventually lead to Peter being one a small group who succeeded in forming the Silver Wings Gliding Club for BOAC and BEA employees and leasing Booker from the Air Ministry (although instruction for members was initially carried out at Lasham). After heading up the experimental flying and engineering operations of BEA's Helicopter Unit  Peter moved on to have a distinguished career in the avionics industry, running Marconi Avionics at Rochester an finally retiring as a board member of the GEC company. He was then able to spend more time in his second home overlooking Gap airfield in the French alps and flying his Ventus 2CT.


Peter served as President of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1980/81 and has been a Vice President of the British Gliding Association since 1998. In

2004 he donated the British Gliding Association 1000K Trophy for the fastest 1000km flight each year starting in the UK.


He was in a number of syndicates at Lasham and was an early convert to motor gliders.  After his SHK, Kestrel 20 and Ventus, he part-owned a DG400 with Pat Swoffer and then a Nimbus 3DM and 4DM with Simon Marriott and Ian Strachan.


When a board member of the GEC company he organised social events for VIPs at Lasham during a  number of Nationals.  A marquee would be erected outside the clubhouse and sumptuous lunch would be served, with members of the Lasham Committee and GEC executives hosting government ministers, MPs, barons of industry, Admirals, Generals and Air Marshals and Prince Phillip, all of whom were able to see Lasham at its best.  Flying was laid on by GEC and the VIPs were able to see Lasham from the air and carry out short soaring flights.  This was fitted round the Nationals schedule and was great free publicity for LGS.


Peter's visits to Lasham have been less frequent following a stroke four years ago, but he always had great affection for our club, and attended the Vintage week that we held last year.