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Wed, Jan 16, 2008

Gone West: Flight Instructor Eddie Duffard

Logged Over 65,000 Hours In The Air

A legend among flight instructors in Baton Rogue, LA has passed. Eddie Duffard, who taught literally thousands of people how to fly and logged over 65,000 hours in the air doing it, passed away Monday at the age of 86.

Duffard was a World War II Navy veteran, and later worked for chemical manufacturing and supply company Ethyl Corp. But he spend much of his time either at Metro Airport (BTR), or plying the skies above it.

"It was his passion and he gave it to others," former student Thomas McGuire told The Baton Rouge Advocate. "He absolutely loved being in the air."

McGuire was but one of over 5,000 students Duffard instructed. He said Duffard was more than one could ask for in an instructor, combining discipline and an in-depth knowledge of regulations with humor, and a sincere love of flying.

Another one of Duffard's students, Chuck Harris, said the lessons he learned from Duffard probably saved his life at least twice. In particular, Harris said, Duffard used sayings to make important lessons stick -- including "The only time you got too much gas is when you’re on fire."

His 1976 Piper PA-28 Archer II was plastered with such signs, Harris recalled.

"Duffard always told people that the best thing he ever did in life was marrying Rose," his wife of more than 60 years, said Harris. "The next best thing was learning to fly."

A memorial service is tentatively planned for January 18, according to a statement on the website of Duffard's flying school.

FMI: Duffard Flying Service website

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