MRU pilot Reynold Johnson remembered by family, friends at Calgary funeral
Former commercial pilot and fellow aviation instructor, Jeffrey Bird, died in plane crash last week
Family, friends and students of Reynold Johnson paid tribute Friday to the Mount Royal University aviation instructor, after he was killed a plane crash near Calgary last week.
"He gave so much of himself to other people," said aviation student Taylor Jackson.
"He was so much more than an instructor," she said, adding that Johnson was an open and giving man who quickly became a grandfather figure to the future pilots at MRU.
The 30-plus year veteran pilot was flying a twin-engine Tecnam owned by the university when it went down in the Waiparous area, roughly 100 kilometres northwest of Calgary on Monday, Feb. 13.
A private funeral was held at St. Michael's Catholic Community in southwest Calgary.
MRU instructor Jeffrey Bird, 35, who was flying with Johnson, was also killed in the crash.
The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. An update is expected on Monday.
Johnson joined the school's aviation program in September 2016, after retiring from a long career as an airline pilot and finding that he missed flying, his family said.
He had logged over 20,000 flight hours in 15 different types of airplanes in his career, which included jobs as a crop sprayer, flight instructor and an airline captain.
Along with flying, his family says Johnson was an avid golfer, skier and grandfather.
"He was proud of his aviation career but most important to him was his family — his beloved wife Brenda, son Lucas ... and daughter Maryse," said his obituary.
"He was a proud and devoted grandpa to Isaac, Abigail and baby Jacob. The last photo taken of Reyn is of him lovingly holding his newest grandchild, born just three days before Reyn's passing."
A memorial for Bird was held last week in Calgary.
The Tecnam the men were flying was one of three twin-engine aircraft owned by Mount Royal.
The school also has five single-engine Cessna 172s in its fleet, which operates out of Springbank Airport west of Calgary.
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