Gliding champ, Ray Lynskey dies

Former world gliding champion Ray Lynskey, of Marlborough, has died, aged 54, after a short illness.

The well-respected member of the aviation fraternity became world champion in 1995 in Omarama, Otago.

Mr Lynskey was also the first glider pilot to complete a 2000- kilometre non-stop flight. In 1990, he flew from Woodbourne Airport to Lumsden in Southland, then to Wairoa in Hawke's Bay and back to Blenheim. His Nimbus 2B glider covered 2026km in 15 hours that day, at an average speed of 135kmh at heights of up to 28,500ft.

Marlborough Gliding Club vice-president Mike Dekker said Mr Lynskey's illness was a great shock to the gliding world.

"Ray has been a great inspiration to many, many people through the years," he said.

"It's sad to see him go."

Mr Dekker said Mr Lynskey had recently increased the amount of gliding he was doing.

"We were all expecting great achievements from him."

Mr Lynskey was a trend-setter among the international glider fraternity. He pushed the limits, but did not take undue risks.

"He was someone who kept to himself, but he was a deliberate and methodical person in terms of setting his goals and he worked steadily towards them.

"He was a measured sort of a pilot. He didn't take risks. He was careful and calculating."

Mr Lynskey was a Marlborough Gliding Club committee member and its chief tow pilot. He recently sold a hangar to the club, which Mr Dekker said had helped the club.

His funeral will be held at his hangar at Omaka Aerodrome at 1.30pm on Saturday.

The Marlborough Express