A top pilot remembered

Funeral service Tuesday for Langley resident Brett Loftus

Langley's Brett Loftus

The people who knew and loved Brett Loftus were planning a celebration of his life for 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon (July 12) at the Boundary Bay Airport Terminal in South Delta.

The tall good-looking 25-year-old with the easy smile spent thousands of hours at the Delta airport, first learning to fly as an outstanding student at the BCIT program run by the Pacific Flying Club (PFC), then as a well-regarded instructor himself at PFC.

Langley City resident George Le Francois remembers Loftus as a considerate neighbour with an excellent sense of humour who loved flying.

Another neighbour, Tina Calder recalled a young man “full of life” who would hold the elevator for the older residents of the apartment complex where he lived.

Pat Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer at PFC, said students would “literally line up” to fly with Loftus, who served as as mentor and inspiration to his apprentice pilots.

“He was a shining light,” Kennedy said.

“He was our go-to guy.”

On a Facebook memorial web page, David Hodgson talked about “a great mentor and an even better friend” who taught him to succeed.

“Even though you are gone, every time I lift the wheels off a runway I will try to achieve everything you expected of me,” Hodgson wrote.

“I miss you buddy.”

Another writer, Kelly Friesen, recalled Loftus as a man with a “beautiful, kind and loving spirit.”

After Loftus died in a July 5 in plane crash north of Harrison Lake during a training flight with 23-year-old student Joel Nortman, BCIT temporarily suspended classes for students in the airline and flight operations program and made grief counseling available for staff and students.

BCIT issued a statement describing Loftus as an “exceptional alumnus” and a flight instructor who “touched the lives of many BCIT students and staff in an extremely positive way.”

The public announcement of the memorial service said instead of flowers, donations can be made to the BCIT Foundation in Brett’s name for the Brett Loftus Scholarship.

Loftus talked about his love of flying in his online resume, saying it is “an industry that has captured my imagination since childhood.”

He graduated the BCIT course with the “top pilot” award and began working at the flying school in May of 2009, where he specialized in advanced airmanship training

He also won awards for best private pilot written exam mark and  best commercial pilot written exam mark.

Bill Yearwood, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board, said the fatal crash occurred in mountainous terrain full of optical illusions and wind currents that challenge the navigation skills of experienced pilots.

Yearwood could not determine the cause of the crash from the on-site inspection of the wreckage, but he believes it was “operational in nature,” meaning it had to do with the performance of the aircraft in mountainous terrain.

– with files from Chilliwack Progress.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Art in the time of COVID: how a Langley exhibition managed it

Holding the charitable event depended on which phase of restrictions were in effect

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

OUR VIEW: Fox fight continues

Thanks for keeping this courageous young man’s vision alive 40 years later

Lantern Park townhomes set to open this Sunday on Aldergrove/Abbotsford border

Developer Peter Reimer said more homes, including a mid-rise complex, are in store for the future

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read