I've had my fair share of memorable flights over the past 7 years, but today's flight was definately one of the most. Some of you already know Dave Vermeech but for those that don't I'll share. I met Dave through my EAA chapter when he offered to help me do some riveting on my plane. At the time Dave was completing his own airplane, an RV-9A. We became friends and would try to get together on occasion. When his plane was completed he took me on 2 or 3 flights and we'd often hang out his hangar before or after EAA meetings. He was always more than willing to offer advice or lend a hand when I needed it. Dave seemed to always make the best of everything and usually commented "No Worries" or "Good Times".
Unfortunately in late 2009, Dave started having some speech problems, followed by other muscle type problems. It took doctors a little while to figure it out, but they finally determined that Dave had ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). ALS is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease with most affected patients dying of respiratory compromise and pneumonia after 2 to 3 years. It's been real tough for everyone watching Dave's disease progress and knowing that one day it will kill him.
Here are some pictures I rounded up from over the last several years.
Here's Dave in the back of Harry's Rocket on a flight we all took to Tillamook Oregon in October 2007.
Here at the 2009 Scappoose RV Flyin
Here at the Reno Air Races in 2009.
In March of 2010 Dave came and helped me hang my engine.
In October 2010 Dave knew his flying days were numbered and wanted to get a video of his plane flying before having to sell it. So Smitty and I flew chase in his 6A to take pictures and make a video.
Down but not out, Dave was a big help during my move to the airport.
Now pretty much confined to a wheelchair, Dave was able to make to be part of my first engine start, and later my first flight.
And now today. Getting worse but still laughing and smiling. Earlier in the week Harry and I installed a ceiling bracket in my hangar that we could hook a come along to. I also brought a harness home from work.
It wasn't easy but we got him loaded up.
Pretty hazy today but real smooth. We passed these ballons near Harvey field in Snohomish.
Things cleared up a little as we turned west towards the San Juans.
Dave passed away on September 6th 2011.