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Ron Chapel

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It is with great sadness that I relate the passing of Ron Chapel. Being the private and quiet man that he was we did not know he was ill. He died in his favorite place, Montana. Just this past year he had told me that he had one of his Ryans almost ready to fly and hoped to be attending our next Ryan Fly-in. If you want to send his wife, Carolyn, a note I found this address for Ron in Livingston, MT about six blocks from the Yellowstone River which is where he told me he was located. It is: 316 South C St, Livingston, MT 59047. Ron was the kindest and most thoughtful man I have ever known. On a Ryan trip across from Harvey Bay to Lightning Ridge, Australia, I can still hear Ron asking Oce if he had "the little man in the teepee"... the antiquated GPSs we were flying required that you keep a line inside an upside down "V" if you were on course. It was not an intuitive instrument and Oce was "up in years" so Ron had worried that Oce would get off course and there was nothing below us to help in navigation. The xeroxed sectionals we were given at the company that rented us the safari craft did not have any territory on them right of our course...so, it would have been easy to get lost if you did not stay with the group, and fly "the little man in the teepee". That was Ron's quiet way of helping Oce and checking on his safe progress. That was the way he always was with other pilots, never judgmental or condescending.

Gary Niva has received word that the owner of one of Ron's Ryans, now in France, is planning on adding Ron's name to the cockpit as a memorial. That is very fitting! All of us feel very fortunate to have known him. Ron restored many a Kinner Engine and was one of our "go-to" Ryaneers when you had a question about the aircraft. He was a consummate pilot and a wonderful friend to us all! Ron, you will be missed!

Lynne Orloff

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