Our friend and fellow airpark member, Bill Currier, departed this life on June 23, 2005 in a fatal accident at Perry Airport, near Wagner, SC. He will be sincerely missed, but he will live on in each of our memories
Below are some of the fond memories we have of Bill from days gone by.
Bill Currier was such a relaxed and humble individual that you would hardly have suspected that his aviation background was so illustrious ... until you had the privilege to sit and chat with him for awhile. Then, he might nonchalantly mention a tantalizing tidbit which made you realize that he had lots of aviation experience. For example, he graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado ... he had thousands of hours in the F-86 Sabre and F-102 Delta Dagger aircraft in the active Air Force and the Air Guard ... he flew some of the first missions at the beginning of the USA's involvement in Vietnam ... he was an instructor pilot in the T-33A Shooting Star ... he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel ... but he did so in a manner that also made you realize that he was not an egotistical guy ... just regular, good ole, unpretentious Bill.
Above, Bill is shown beside his last project ... a RANS S-10 Sakota. This plane was built from a kit and sports a Rotax 912 engine ... which is easily visible without the engine cowling below. Bill flew the aircraft around like this for awhile. He personally took the Rotax 912 to Lockwood Aviation in Florida for needed upgrades.
Here's another photo of Bill in his new joy. Notice the sleek profile of the S-10 ... which will improve even more once the engine cowl is installed. The paint scheme is not quite finished; Bill plans a "gamecock" theme of white, maroon, and black. He also has a bit more "tweaking" to do overall. Bill's first flights in ground effect were made on July 28, 2004 ... just after this photo was made.
Here's another photo of Bill (under wing) making some last minute adjustments to the plane before Bill's first flight "around the patch" on Monday, August 2, 2004. His first flight drew a gathering of friends ... seen in the background. Several neighbors also awaited at various points along the runway to witness the flight.
Above, Bill is shown giving a "thumbs up" and broad grin after his successful first flight ... as daughter Meg and several flying friends look on and congratulate him. Congratulations Bill!!
On May 16th, 2004, Bill gave a presentation to a local flying club. Above, Bill tells the members about his experiences ... while wife, Irma Jeanne, looks on and assists with the photos. His tales and photos enthralled club members ... for example, having an engine disintegrate while training a student in a T-33, then having to drop his wing tanks and barely making the runway ... just barely topping out a thunderstorm at 45,000 feet hovering at stall speed at max performance in a F-86 with that same service ceiling ... just a few of his considerable treasure-trove of stories.
Bill is shown above in his former military uniform ... complete with the white oak leaves on his shoulders and cap. Well ... so what if he had outgrown it a little bit
He was also a math teacher in civilian life. His most recent teaching position was at Midlands Technical College. He has been a general aviation pilot for many years ... and he owned an Aeronca Champ for many years ... but recently sold it. He is originally from Vermont, but now makes his home at Gilbert International Airpark near Gilbert, SC. However, he still considers Vermont his home and usually returns there during the summer months each year.
These photos were taken on June 4th, 2005 at Bill and Irma Jeanne Currier's home at Gilbert Air Park. We had a BBQ chicken dinner, a good meeting, and a great time. (Note: These activities were less than a month before Bill's death.)
In the left photo, Bill is shown attending the meeting with his daughter, Marta Currier, in the background.
In the center left photo is excellent hostess, Irma Jeanne Currier ... refreshment pitcher in hand, ready to serve.
In the center right photo is George Flanagan, Bill's friend, neighbor and author of the touching poem "My Final Flight".
The right photo is a group photo of the activities on that date.
For more on the military jets which Bill flew, click below.