My dear wife of 43 years, Linda Austin, suddenly was taken from me Tuesday, June 3rd.  She was my best friend, companion, and co-pilot. Our sons, Hugh and Patrick, and I will miss her greatly. She had an incurable, debilitating and progressive neurological disease, but did not die from that. Her passing was near-instantaneous and she did not have any pain or suffering. God was merciful.

Some might question why I would post this here, but read further:  Linda had flown with me in that right seat for most of my 2700 hrs,  in good weather and bad, and never complained or was alarmed. In challenging conditions, she'd simply look at me, lay her hand on my arm, and say, "Is it going to be all right?"  She knew I would not lie, I'd always tell her what was going-on and what to expect. Typically, I'd summarize: "Linda, it'll be all right."

Linda also occupied that right seat for the majority of the 235 hrs we had accumulated on the STOL CH750. This "low and slow" flight was a new experience for her, and she immediately loved cruising our beautiful Sequatchie Valley in East Tenneesse. She loved being able to actually look down and study the ever-changing beauty of the farms, forests, ridges, and lakes. Her neurologic disease, Frontotemporal Degeneration, was beginning to slow down her mobility as it was affecting her walking, but she had no problems in the 750's comfortable cabin. Once airborne, I could see all the tension lift and she would almost melt into the seat and relax.

Because of her love of flight and the sense of freedom it provided, especially in the 750, she would beg me to take her up at every possible opportunity. For me, think what a lovely problem that was! Monday afternoon, June 2nd, we flew the Valley. Once we had settled-down into a low and slow cruise, I looked over at her - she looked at me, smiled, and said, "I just love this!" The next day she suddenly collapsed and passed right in my arms - likely a massive embolus or coronary - but she felt no pain and did not suffer.

So, the toils and troubles of building that airplane seem pretty minor right now, the reward for Linda and me was priceless.

Linda, it'll be all right.



Views: 1532

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


My condolences to you and your family for your loss. What a beautiful story to share of your life-long partner of 43 years and her love of flying .. thank you.


My sincere condolonces, John.

Thanks for sharing the beautiful story.

John - a beautiful story about a very sad time in your life.  Linda will be in your thoughts each time you fly the 750.  Thanks for posting this for our benefit.


Wayne Huk, Osoyoos BC Canada


I'm extremely sorry to hear of your loss. I've been with my wife for 50 years, and can imagine the pain you're going through at this time. I've always considered the loss of a loved one, the most difficult thing we face in life. The only thing that seems to help a little at a time like this, is staying close to family.




Add my thoughts and prayers to you and your family - words cannot convey how your sharing of this has touched us all in some way.  My deepest sympathy...


John, thank you for sharing this with us. I offer the most sincere condolences on the passing of your precious wife and friend. Your message inspires me to make time with my own wife and family.
Thank you.


God bless your wife and you.


My condolences as well for your loss. You have priceless memories of your flying with your wife. As the pain fades may you have many more memorable flights. Thank you for sharing. God Bless.


Linda is now soaring with the eagles and her skies are forever blue. Linda will be with you where ever you may be.

John, I had already sent you an email, then read this (I had to effectively sign up again after my long absence), and I broke into tears. I'm so sorry to hear this. What can one do except consolation? You're welcome here any time, and you can call on us any time for anything. And thank you for all you have done for us, and for being your own true self.

Rose and Wayne Tyson

Thanks for sharing.

My thoughts go with you John.  How wonderful you could share the skies with your best friend of 43 years.


New from Zenith:

Zenith Planes For Sale 

Classified listing for buying or selling your Zenith building or flying related stuff...

Custom Instrument Panels
for your Zenith

Custom instrument panels are now available directly from Zenith Aircraft Company exclusively for Zenith builders and owners. Pre-cut panel, Dynon and Garmin avionics, and more.

Custom Upholstery Kits for your Zenith Aircraft:

Zenith Vinyl Upholstery Kits

Zenith Apparel from EAA:

Zenair Floats

Flying On Your Own Wings:
A Complete Guide to Understanding Light Airplane Design, by Chris Heintz

Builder & Pilot Supplies:

How to videos from

Developed specifically for Zenith builders (by a builder) these videos on DVD are a great help in building your own kit plane by providing practical hands-on construction information. Visit for the latest DVD titles.

Aircraft Insurance:


West Coast USA:

Pro Builder Assistance:


Transition training:

Golden Eagle Aviation

Pianosa Flying Farm

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty for all your building and pilot supplies!

© 2021   Created by Zenith.Aero.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service