Remembering aviators who died in 2020

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Aviator and musician John Denver captured the feeling of flight in On the Wings of an Eagle, where he sings, “Oh my home is in the mountains, I am free, I am free. I am one with wind and eagles, I am free. Given wings to sail in gracefulness, the sky, the sky. Given voice to sing in breathlessness, I find that I can fly, fly away.”

These pilots understood that feeling of freedom in the sky and made significant contributions to aviation.

Historian, author, and retired Air Force Col. Walter Boyne

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Walter Boyne, a bomber pilot, author, and former director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, died January 9 at age 90. The military pilot began a decades-long writing career in grade school and went on to author numerous aviation novels, historical books, and more than 1,000 articles based on his flying experiences and acquaintances. Boyne was a major influencer in the early days of the museum, where he served as the facility’s director in the 1980s.

Team Chambliss pilot Steve Andelin

Steve Andelin, a member of Team Chambliss, died January 24 in a crash during in Guatemala. He was piloting a Zivko Aeronautics Edge 540 painted in Kirby Chambliss’s Team Chambliss Red Bull livery when the aircraft slammed into a ramp during practice for a private airshow, killing Andelin and two people on the ground. Team Chambliss recognized Andelin in 2018 for his “deep expertise” with the Edge 540 Red Bull Air Race Master Class aircraft when he crewed the season-ending race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His experience as a test pilot for the manufacturer and aeronautics degree were among the highlights of his aviation career. Andelin, of California, was a 2003 member of the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Team—along with Chambliss. He learned to fly in his father’s Aeronca Champ, held A&P and IA certificates, and was a retired Boeing 787 captain.

Twin Tigers airshow performer Mark Nowosielski

Tiger Airshows performer Mark Nowosielski died January 25 in a fatal crash that also killed Nathan Sorenson, the 13-year-old son of pilot, Twin Tigers team owner, friend, and mentor Mark Sorenson. They died when the Mustang II homebuilt aircraft flown by Nowosielski crashed near Big T Airport, a private airfield in metropolitan Atlanta. Nowosielski and Mark Sorenson entertained EAA AirVenture and Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo audiences with snap rolls, stalls, and inverted flight during

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