David T Bligh

January 3, 1948 – March 28, 2019
Dave slipped Earth’s surly bonds on March 28th. Born in New Westminster, son of Ronald and Hilda, he is survived by his wife Jan, brother Roger (Kim) and Allison, and extended family and friends. Dave’s final flight came in his 71st year after a courageous battle with cancer.

Dave graduated from BCIT as a Mechanical Engineer and joined the RCAF in 1968, attending Officer Candidate School and Primary Flying School where he learned to fly Chipmunks. Dave continued his training in Gimli on the Tutor and T-33 where he was awarded his wings, and then on to Cold Lake for F5 and CF104 training followed by a posting to Europe on the 104. Dave’s military career brought him back to Cold Lake on 417 Sqn. OTU where he took on a role as an instructor and instrument check pilot, and acted in various flight safety capacities. Highlights were numerous and included a one-season tour with the Dead Eye Zips, a five-ship CF104 aerial demonstration team and, later, the Alberta Arrows 3-ship team formed to celebrate the Alberta centenary.

Dave’s third and final military tour was with the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment where he was Manager of Standards on the T-33 and CF104, providing support for the staff of test pilots. In 1979, Dave joined CPAir. His airline career began on the DC8 as a Second Officer Instructor Check Pilot, before being promoted to First Officer ontheB737andDC10. Recession and lay off saw Dave working for Transport Canada, flying thee Twin Otter, Beaver and King Air while working in the Aeronautical Services branch, redesigning VTA and VNC charts. Dave returned to the airline and earned his command on the 737, assuming additional responsibilities as Senior Instructor Check Pilot for Zip before moving to the Airbus 320 fleet, from which he retired at the then compulsory age of 60. Undeterred by retirement from the airline, Dave’s passion for flying led him to Air700 where he flew a corporate jet for a further nine years, marking a continuous 48 years in aviation and more than 25,000 hours accumulated before hanging up his headset in 2017. But aviation was not the only love of Dave’s life.

When he was 16, Dave met Jan while riding his motorbike – and so began a life-long love affair. They married in October of 1969, just prior to Dave’s posting in Europe with the RCAF and enjoyed a three-year-long honeymoon overseas, leading to a marriage of 49 years. He was an avid runner and biker and throughout the years was able to enjoy travel, motorcycling, fishing, and golf. His last few years saw him out and about in his dream car with Jan and dog Demi.

Dave’s life will be celebrated in May, specific date and location TBA. Dave and Jan thank all the caregivers at the NRGH Palliative Care and the Trillium Hospice, with a special thanks to Dr. Marlene van der Weyde. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Dave’s memory to the charity of your choice is appreciated.

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