Wednesday, November 20, 2013
RIP Walt Darran
You died on November 15, 2013 after a battle with cancer. You leave your beloved wife Christine, two sons, two grandchildren, your extended family and many friends and colleagues who love you. May you rest in peace.
It is my loss that I never got an opportunity to meet you in person. However, I have known you through your presence on the Associated Aerial Firefighters (AAF) Website. It was not long after I began writing about aerial wildland firefighting in early 2009 that I first ran across your posts and articles on the AAF. It did not take me long to learn that you flew as a tanker pilot for CAL Fire before you retired. I only recently learned that you flew in Vietnam and flew for the airlines. You did not just retire and disappear, you continued to have the best interests of the tanker biz in mind through your work with the AAF where, among other things, you served on their board as well as working and writing about safety in the tanker biz. Over the last almost six years you have taught me a lot about the tanker business. Somehow saying thank-you seems wholly inadequate.
I suspect that you may have been a quiet follower of my blog over the years and you quietly had my back. Thank-you. We exchanged e-mail a couple of times, and you were most generous with your time, answering my questions and steering me in the right direction. Somehow saying thank-you seems wholly inadequate.
I know that you are flying in favorable tail winds. I offer my thoughts and prayers for your family, friends, colleagues and all who love you and mourn your death.
To learn more about Walt's life, you might want to read some reflections on Walt's life by tanker pilot's and friends on the AAF webpage. Bill Gabbert, of Fire Aviation reposted an an interview with Walt that he did earlier this year.