Popular Boundary Bay flight instructor remembered
About 200 people squeezed inside the Boundary Bay Airport Terminal Tuesday afternoon (July 12) to remember a friend, brother, son and beloved flight instructor.
Brett Loftus, 25, was one of two men killed July 5 when the Cessna they were flying crashed in the mountainous terrain north of Harrison Lake after taking off on a training flight from Boundary Bay Airport. His 23-year-old student, Joel Nortman of Vancouver, also died in the accident.
Both were members of South Delta-based Pacific Flying Club (PFC).
"The club is a lot lonelier today without Brett. Brett loved flying, he loved his students, he loved his friends and family and he never seemed to come in without that smile that we will treasure forever," PFC chief operating officer Pat Kennedy told the somber crowd.
Loftus, a Langley resident, graduated from the BCIT airline and flight operations program, run by PFC, and later became a highly sought-after instructor with the club.
Before giving his tearful speech, fellow flight instructor Cam Friesen pulled on a blue Ryan Kessler jersey—a piece of clothing that Loftus was known to wear for weeks on end.
"What can I say about someone who devoted their entire life to being such an amazing friend, brother and son?" asked Friesen.
The pair had only known each other since 2007, when Loftus became a student of Friesen's, but they quickly bonded over barbecues, late-night visits and their shared fondness of Jim Carrey movies.
When John Rudolph decided to get his pilot's licence later in life, he was skeptical about hiring an instructor who was younger than his children. But he soon learned that Loftus possessed a maturity separating him from the boys.
"You met him, if you were older, you walked away saying 'What a respectable young man.' If you were younger, you would walk away feeling respect," Rudolph said.
He said Loftus was always smiling and full of energy—even during their 6 a.m. lessons.
In lieu of flowers, guests made donations to the BCIT Foundation for the Brett Loftus Scholarship, set up by his family.