Johan Bossuyt, who died in a trike accident in
Everyone who saw Johan fly was struck by the natural elegance of his style. If any man was born to fly, it was Johan. The paramotor seemed to be an organic part of him. In certain paraglider pilots we find a natural balletic grace that comes from a complete affinity between pilot and wing; but in paramotoring this is harder to achieve, given the added dimension of thrust and the bulky, draggy contraption which the pilot is obliged to wear on his back. If Johan appeared to wear it lightly, it was because he had a complete affinity with the engine. He understood its mechanics intimately, and at championship meetings would set up his stall as a part-time repair-man.
Johan could put on a show, but was never ostentatious. More shy than extrovert, he was also a perfectionist who demanded a lot of himself and had a quiet confidence in his ability to achieve it. Like many top pilots, he was always the one out flying, practising his technique, when the competition window was closed. And when conditions ruled out flying altogether, he was the one on the field ground-handling. Early in the morning, and sometimes even after dark, Johan was out there mesmerising us with his wingovers and crafted low-passes. In
If Johan worked hard to achieve these effects, it was with the indulgence of his wife Veerle, who travelled with him and supported his efforts. The Belgian tent at competitions was always a social hub, bubbling with hospitality.
Johan had bought a trike that had rekindled his early excitement for flying something new. He was flying this trike on Saturday 7th of January at 11:50am when he died. Those that knew Johan will cherish his memory and our ongoing thoughts are with his deeply loved family Veerle, and their three children Arthur, Astrid and Aline, and with the family of his passenger Bert Declercq who also died in this accident.
(written for Skywings January 2006)
If you would like to view a video of Johan flying there is a beautiful farewell tribute on their Time2fly (foto-video tab, photo of Johan) web site here