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The helicopter community is mourning the loss of renowned author and test pilot Shawn Coyle, who died on June 19, 2021.
Coyle’s passing was announced on the Facebook page of the 427 Squadron Association, a group for current and former members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 427 Squadron. Coyle, who graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada with a degree in civil engineering, was posted to the squadron in 1975, shortly after earning his wings. He served a full tour with the squadron before being posted to the Empire Test Pilots Course at Boscombe Downs in the U.K. in 1979, according to the association’s obituary.
Coyle served with a number of organizations as a test pilot and instructor, including Canada’s Aerospace and Engineering Test Establishment, Bell Helicopter, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, International Test Pilots School, Transport Canada, and National Test Pilot School. A prolific writer, he contributed to multiple aviation magazines and authored books including Cyclic and Collective — essential reading for every helicopter pilot — and received Helicopter Association International’s Excellence in Communications Award in 2013. He was also regularly called upon as an expert witness for accident analysis.
“For decades, Shawn shared his incredible technical wisdom, experience and insight on rotorcraft with the helicopter world,” said Vertical publisher Mike Reyno. “It was because of Shawn’s wealth of knowledge that he came to Vertical to write on the technical fundamentals of flying helicopters through his regular column, ‘Torque Talk,’ which appeared within the pages of Vertical for nearly 10 years. He also wrote many pilot reports on a number of different helicopters that he flew.