FOURTEEN planes took to the skies on Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of the deaths of Ralph Buchanan and Graham White, who were tragically killed in a plane crash off Barlings Beach last year.
On the morning of July 6, 2014, Mr White, a well-known flying instructor from Wagga, and Mr Buchanan, of Mossy Point, embarked on a short assessment flight as part of a two-year review of Mr Buchanan’s flying qualifications.
It is believed lock nuts in the plane’s cable elevator control system vibrated loose over time and caused the crash about 10 minutes after takeoff.
Sunday’s flyover was organised by Mr White’s son-in-law Paul Smith and the Moruya Aero Club, of which both men were well-respected members.
Mr White’s daughter Rebecca Smith flew in her dad’s RV-4 plane, and Mr Buchanan’s daughter Hayley also took to the sky.
Following the flyover friends and family gathered at the Moruya Aero Club to share stories and lunch in commemoration.
Gary Smith and Mr Buchanan attended a Moruya coffee group known as the “Table of Knowledge”, which informally “solved the problems of the world”.
They also both volunteered for TeenSafe Driver Program.
“He was a good mate so it’s a sad, sad loss,” he said.
Mr Buchanan’s close friend and business partner, Rudi Langeveld said it was difficult to equate a beautiful day like Sunday with the tragedy that happened a year ago.
He remembered the good times, as well as the unfairness of it all.
“Ralph’s remembered on a daily basis,” Mr Langeveld said.
“I go to his house every now and then and I expect him to walk out. I see a (Toyota) HiLux and you expect Ralph to be in it.
“He’s no longer here but he is not forgotten.”
Tumut’s Ashley Parker attended the event in memory of Mr White, who he described as a serious man who was passionate about flying.
“Graham covered the whole state teaching people how to fly and do testing,” he said.
“He was a bit of a local champion. If you were flying with Graham he would sit there and shake his head, or put his head in his hands, when you did something wrong.”
Prue Beckett of Broulee received flying instruction from Mr White and her daughter Holly remembers well the times he took her out for aerobatics. “He’s one of the top instructors in Australia and was very well-known internationally as well,” Ms Beckett said.
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