9758 SHAWN CORWYN COYLE
8 Jun 1950 to 19 Jun 2021
It is with sadness that the Class of ‘73 reports the death of Shawn Corwyn Coyle who joined the CF and commenced his military college life at Royal Roads in the fall of 1969.
Shawn was born into a military family on 8 June 1950 in Pembroke, ON to Donald and Helen Coyle (both deceased). His dad retired as a CWO in the RCE, and Shawn’s subsequent growing up was mainly in Chilliwack, BC and North Bay, ON. Shawn always had an interest in flying, and his appetite was further wetted by being awarded his Private Pilot’ Wings through Air Cadets in 1967 in St Catharines, ON.
He attended RRMC and RMC from 1969 to 1973. Interestingly two of the other 16 Air Cadets on his Air Cadet Private Pilot course also joined the CF in 1969 and went on to graduate from RMC in 1973: 9635 Gerry Bayles RMC 69-73 and 9811 Rick Martin, the latter like Shawn spending his first two years at RRMC. So Shawn was never without buds.
During his time at Royal Roads, Shawn was a proud member of Hudson Flight and 3 Squadron. During his first year, Shawn was on the College Cross-Country Team…when asked why he liked running, his favoured response was : ‘because it feels so good when I stop’. Like others, Shawn was also keen on intramural sports and was a solid team player. He also showed his aviation interest by actively participating in the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute Club. Second year saw him as second slate Cadet Wing Training Officer (must be that Air Cadet background) and doing well academically (not common in second year). Many remember his technical abilities which enabled him to hook into the Public Address system and, for a short while, his Radio Free Poop-Deck broadcasts with 9826 Frank Parker entertained the whole of Nixon Block. Shawn maintained his Hudson loyalty when he attended RMC as one of only a very few select members from RRMC to join Hudson Squadron (No.1). He liked the highly individualistic nature of being a Frigateer, and reveled in the very tight comradeship that was evident throughout the Stone Boat. He graduated with a Civ Eng degree, but at RMC he also displayed an artistic side…a half dozen of his poems were published in the RMC Log. Throughout his time at Military College there was one important constant in his life, and that was his high school sweetheart Bev whom he married within a week of graduation.
Post graduation saw Shawn enjoying his other passion – flying. He went on to be awarded his CF pilot wings off CF-5s (as did his two former Air Cadet Pilot coursemates), in 1974. He subsequently converted to helicopters and was posted to 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Petawawa the following year. He spent a full tour with 427 and subsequently by his own desire was channeled into test flying. He was posted to the Empire Test Pilot Course at Boscombe Downs in the UK, in 1979, and stayed on as an exchange officer until 1982 when he was posted to Canada’s Aerospace and Engineering Test Establishment. He left the CF in 1984 to serve as a test pilot for Bell Helicopters in Fort Worth, TX. He then instructed at the US Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxtent River, MA from 1985 to 1989. From 1989 to 1992, he was the Principal Rotary Wing Instructor at the International Test Pilots School in Cranfield, England. He remained in the UK as an Independent Aviation Consultant until 1995 and then came back to Canada to become an Engineering Test Pilot at Transport Canada until 2001. He then assumed Branch Chief responsibilities for the Helicopter Program at the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, CA until 2004. He subsequently had short stints as an Emergency Medical Service Pilot in Mojave, as Director of Flight Operations at Agusta Helicopters in Philadelphia, and as Director of Certification at Aerosimulators in Belgium and the USA until 2007. In 2007 he created his own Aviation Consulting Company, Eagle Eye Solutions LLC. He has written extensively on aviation-related topics and was often called upon for accident analysis and expert testimony. In addition, he published six major books on helicopter-related topics including: 40 Years Afore The Mast Volume 1 and 2; Cyclic and Collective; The Little Book of Autorotations; and Helicopter Aerodynamics Volume 1, 2 and 3.Of note, in 1997 Shawn and two of his RMC classmates (9657 Ron Davidson and 9719 Kent Smerdon) founded Aeroserve Technologies Ltd. They and their company were inducted into NASA’s Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2009 for their successful commercialization of their Airtab Vortex Generator, which was originally a device conceived for the transport of the Shuttle on the Boeing 747, and is now widely employed throughout the world, particularly in the trucking business. Shawn also separately received the Helicopter Association International’s Excellence in Communications Award in 2013.
Shawn’s health had been deteriorating over the last few years, but he was still active in accident investigations and sought after for his expertise. He went downhill fast about a week prior to his passing, and, he died in McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, Vermont on 19 June, 2021. He is survived by his wife of more than seven years, Tricia Coyle (nee Patricia G Coleman) of Charlotte, Vermont; his children and grandchildren: Erin (b75 m03 Ben Coppin and children Joseph b05 and Beth b07) of Ely, UK; Patrick (b77 m01 Sarah and children Pippa b04 and Dexter b10) of Northhampton, UK; and Katie (b85) also of Northhampton; as well as by their mother, Shawn’s wife of 33 years, Beverly Coyle nee Nicholls, of Long Buckby UK. He is also survived by his brothers Allan (m Jeanette) of Kelowna, BC and Eric (m Jyoti) of Calgary, AB and his nieces Krysta Coyle and Anjali (m. Keith Inman and their children Cadel and Jackson).
Due largely to COVID travel-related restrictions, Tricia advises that Shawn’s cremated remains will rest in their home in Charlotte, for now. She reports that Shawn often joked that his was a life with no fixed address, but he will finally have one. In accordance with Shawn’s wishes, his ashes will be eventually laid to rest in the Coyle family plot in Princeton, BC in a largely private ceremony. That said, for most of us, all we have to do is to look up to the sky to remember Shawn.
Tricia also advised that she and Shawn considered that their preference was for charitable donations in Shawn’s name, in lieu of any flowers/cards that some might consider sending. Both concurred on three charities closest to their hearts: the McClure Miller Respite House which provided Shawn the very personal, warm and uplifting care in his final days; the Shuttleworth Air Museum, a favorite in the UK that they hoped to revisit; and the Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa (which includes at least one of the helicopters Shawn flew). Details of these charities are as follows: McClure Miller Respite House, 3113 Roosevelt Highway, Colchester, VT, 05446, USA; Shuttleworth Trust, c/o Shuttleworth, Old Warden Aerodrome, Nr Biggleswade, Bedfordshire SG18 9DX, UK; and Canada Aviation and Space Museum, 11 Aviation Parkway, Ottawa, ON K1K 2X5, Canada. Email addresses of interest follow: Tricia Coyle, email@example.com ; and Bev Coyle, firstname.lastname@example.org .
From the 1972 RMC Log (an untitled poem by Shawn Coyle)
When again shall
I tread the mornings air
On wings of soft silver
Silken cool in the rainbow sun
When again shall
I hold thee
Naked, cream soft in my arms?
When again shall
I walk this
Earth in my childhood?
When again shall
I see your
Eyes moisten at my depart?
For I go on a journey
From which there is no return
A journey of few friends, but true.
Shawn, good luck with your test flight of your new set of wings. You are fondly remembered. TDV. Prepared on behalf of the RMC Class of ’73 by fellow classmate and helicopter pilot, 9847 Ken Sorfleet.