Vale Alan Patching

It is with great sadness that we advise of the passing of Alan Patching on Saturday 12 March. He was 97 years old (approaching 98) and he passed away peacefully at home. 

Alan was a Patron of the AHSA, an honorary life member and served as AHSA Vice President for many years.

Born in Queenscliff in 1924, Alan was educated at Point Lonsdale State School, Geelong Junior Technical College and then Gordon Institute of Technology in Geelong. He joined Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in early 1943 and moved to Aeronautical Research Laboratories after the end of the war, where he worked on pioneering investigations into metal fatigue in aircraft structures. This work took him to Woomera and also to a secondment in Farnborough, UK. 

Alan became involved with gliding in 1943 when he helped construct a primary glider while he was with CAC. Over a period of some 69 years he flew more than 140 types of gliders in 12 countries. He commenced flying powered aircraft in 1970 and flew over 35 types, mainly aero towing. 

Alan was a member of the Victorian Motorless Gliding Club, later to become Melbourne Gliding Club. In 1994 Alan was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to Australian gliding. In 2007 he was awarded the Lilienthal Medal, the highest FAI gliding award, for his services to the International gliding community over many decades, in particular for his substantial contribution to glider airworthiness and sailplane fatigue life.

Ever cheerful and smiling he will be missed from the ranks of the AHSA. Alan is survived by two daughters (Margaret and Rosemary) and daughter-in-law, Ruth (widow of Ian Patching) and her son Tighe Patching.