John Moyle, noted aviation enthusiast, passes -1/16/13


Today brought the sad news that John Moyle, an aviator known to many people in the Corvair movement, passed from this world yesterday. He was a relentlessly positive person in a world were that is an ever more scarce quality. He was a devoted family man and the best of friends to many people who knew him. His attitude on any potential challenge was “Why not?” The world is full of people who are quick to think of all the reasons why something won’t work, can’t or shouldn’t be done.  John had enough positive energy to counter legions of such people and the charm to make many of them crack a smile at the same time.

Oshkosh homebuilders dinner 2003, a great night. Clockwise from left in foreground, John Moyle, Pat Panzera, and George Willenbrock, on the right, aircraft designer Ed Fisher and myself.

In a few short paragraphs it would be very hard to describe the positive work of John Moyle in aviation. He was a tremendous volunteer for any task, large or small. Need help setting up Corvair College#5? Just ask. Got a plane in Europe that needs to be in California? He was on it. Pat Panzera always credited John as being Contact! magazine supporter #1. Many experimental aviators met John at airshows because he frequently staffed the Contact! booth. His overwhelming positive energy and super gregarious nature made him a complete natural in the position. John attended a number of Corvair Colleges, many west cost builders meeting him at #5 and #13. He wrote a great number of magazine articles and contributed a lot to unseen tasks like editing. He still found the time to own a lot of different experimental aircraft and do a fair bit of flying.

You didn’t have to spend very long in his company to see that he only wanted to do things that were fun, but directly benefited others. He was just the opposite of people who always ask “what’s in it for me?”. If John was doing something, you could be sure it had a strong element of some greater good. If I am painting a picture of some very large version of Gandhi, let me correct this by saying that John was also a lot of fun and had a wicked sense of humor.

John knew many of the best parts of aviation, the moments he made by working to put himself where the fun was, where things were going on, where people were doing things. He also knew the somber side of flying as well. His brother was killed in a Glasair III crash approaching Oshkosh 2001. Other than marking the first anniversary of the accident, John didn’t speak much of it, but it was certainly an emotional burden that he quietly carried. I suspect that it stole a lot of the personal joy from flying for him, but if it did, he never said so. He was the kind of guy who wouldn’t let his personal loss dampen the positive day of others.

Most people find it hard to be positive, even when things are going well for them. John Moyle was positive at all times, good and bad. He was the genuine article, the real thing, a person who understood what Roosevelt was saying when he spoke of “A man who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause..”, and his life was far richer for embracing this creed. He was one of a kind, and we won’t have someone quite like him again.

Blue skies and Tailwinds John, thanks for everything, you left aviation a better, richer, friendlier place than you found it.-ww

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