friends of Gene’s are encourged to email their remembrances to LarSwan@aol.com
for posting on this site. Currently funeral arrangements are pending but
those who email will receive a private update when details are available.
Accident details/speculation will not be posted until the FAA/NTSB has
completed their inquiries.
I met Gene three years ago when he checked me out to fly his club’s
L-33. I was impressed with his professional approach to soaring and the
care and detail he put into his instruction. Gene had recently retired
from a major aviation manufacturer where he often flew cross-country delivering
aircraft to their customers. In soaring, Gene put in 110% volunteering
as an instructor and later again volunteering as his non-profit soaring
club’s president. Last summer we both raced in the 15-Meter Nationals
at Tonapah and again he impressed me with his thoughtful and cautious
approach to soaring. He was a "local" who knew soaring in the
California mountains very well. Gene was a wonderful man, one of soaring’s
unsung heros. Our hearts and tears go out to his wife, Louanne. For me
this will always be an unexplainable tragedy. Godspeed, Gene.
I remember the day we sent Gene off on his first cross-country flight
in a glider. With some trepidation on Gene's part, and some encouragement
on ours, he took off from Hemet in the Cypress Club L-13. We followed
him the whole distance, and he landed at his goal, French Valley Airport,
all of about 13 miles away. We, his crew, were all excited, laughing and
jumping around and I think Gene had a great time, too.
Gene was a professional pilot. He was skillful, careful, thoughtful and
thorough. He was a gentle and patient flight instructor. He also had a
bit of competitiveness in his nature. He used to compete in sailboat races.
So, it didn't take long for Gene to excel, flying longer and longer distance
cross-country flights. 200, 300, 400 miles plus. And he began to compete,
and to learn from the best our sport has to offer.
remember when Gene first got his ASW-27, he mentioned that some day he
would like to fly it across the country. So, naturally, when he heard
about the return to Kitty Hawk, Gene was excited about the possibility
of flying across the country in this race. He planned and prepared very
carefully typical of Gene's professionalism. I don't know exactly what
happened, but I do know that Gene was doing what he loved. We have lost
another one of the good guys.
Cypress Soaring Club
I met Gene a couple years ago in a sailing club and I feel blessed to
have known him. The thing that strikes me the most when I remember Gene
is that everything he did in his life, he did it to the fullest. And no
matter how much he accomplished, he remained one of the most humble men
I knew. I will always be grateful to him for his encouragement in sailing,
his generosity in sharing his knowledge and experiences, and his friendship.
Gene will be greatly missed by all of us at Cypress Soaring. He was always
there offering his support, encouragement, a helping hand and, occasionally,
a good flying story, whenever he could.
and Loes Ostergren:
I have known Gene since childhood in New Fairfield, CT. In the last few
years, we had reconnected folowing the death of Gene's parents. I was
always amazed by the boundless energy he exhibited and his passion for
trying something new. Although Gene's death is a personal tragedy, it
is comforting to know that he was doing what he wanted to do. Our hearts
goes out to Louanne and to Gene's children, Page and Darrell.
Allan and Loes Ostergren
I didn't know Gene very well, but it didn't take long to see the
wonderful qualities he possessed. In the short time I knew him, I saw
that he was always the first to lend a helping hand, he always had a
smile ready, and he had a great exuberance for life. My condolences to
his wonderful wife and soulmate, Louanne.
Chris Salomon, friend of the Keelswingers club
I am very sad to hear about Gene's final departure into the skies. I flew
with him at our Nutmeg Soaring Association in Connecticut of which he
was a member in excellent standing. Although a much more accomplished
pilot he made me feel
competent and appreciated. He let us know about his great ambition to
make it to Kitty Hawk in a memorable transcontinental race...sadly he
only fulfilled part of his dream. He will always be missed!
Condolences to his family who lost a wonderful person.
Nutmeg Soaring Assoc.
We recently flew with Gene during the Mifflin County Regionals in Central
Pennsylvania. Gene flew in a Duo Discus (KS) with Karl Striedieck. All
of us from Eagle Field have fond memories of our time there with him and
know that soaring has lost a very good man.
With heartfelt sympathy,
Gene and Luann have been a great inspiration to my wife and me. I first
met Gene at the Region 12 "Diamond Banquet" in 1999 where his
Diamond flights were "roasted" by Luann. Gene's achievements
helped spur me on to seeking my own Diamond badge, and it has since been
my pleasure to fly with Gene the last two summers at Tonopah Nevada, and
at Gene's home base at Hemet. Thanks Gene, you were a great competitor
and greater friend. I miss you.
If anyone should be so blessed as to pass on doing something he was so
passionate about, it would be Gene. Passion for life was something that
Gene emanated to anyone he encountered. His energy was truly inspiring.
All of us who knew him during the sailboat racing days in Long Beach,
I'm sure, would agree and remember that special time of our lives and
what a big part of that included Gene.
Condolences to his family and may they be comforted in the knowlege that
they are not alone in the loss.
What a great photo of Gene Carapetyan and his much-loved One Echo Charlie.
It was obviously taken on a beautiful day at the Hemet, California gilderport.
In the spring these flowers form a magnificent yellow carpet to greet
all who fly there. Gene expressed the joy of free flight in soaring like
the magic of flying described in the story of Peter Pan. What a wonderful
I had the pleasure of flying
with Gene giving commercial glider rides out of Thermal, California. Gene
was a quiet yet enthusiastic soaring pilot. He was quick to share his
years of wisdom from professional flying to enhance the safety of others.
Gene was a great example of a methodical safety conscious pilot. We can
all learn a lot from knowing and flying with individuals like Gene. His
untimely passing is a heartrending event. In the future I will remember
Gene every time I see the superb the yellow carpet of flowers in the pattern
at Hemet. Gene’s contributions to soaring will continue to fly with
all of us who knew him.
Twentynine Palms, California
Terry W Starks:
I met Gene while sailing on Lake Pleasant in Arizona. He was my competitiion
in the Arizona Yacht Club sailing Catalina 22's. Gene was my fiercist
competitor and one of my best friends. We did a lot together in those
days. I even crewed for him on a few offshore races in California to learn
how to sail like him. I flew with Gene a few times and respected his knowledge
of flying and always felt safe with him.
The last contact from Gene was
by email last week regarding his expected arrival at Estrella Airpark.
I drove to Estrella this morning to meet Gene and Luanne to catch up on
old times. I heard that there was an accident which delayed the race for
one day. Arriving back home I discovered this very sad news. Gene accomplished
a lot in his short life and I have always admired him for achieving his
goals and living life to the fullest. I feel Gene did what many of us
dream of doing in our life time.
My prayers go out to Luanne, Daryl and Page.
Terry W Starks
I am a 'fledgling' student at Crystal and have seen Gene there many times.
I was working the flight line as a volunteer for launch day. I will always
remember Gene's warm smile after we pushed him up the runway to tow point
as I wished him a good flight. That is the memory I keep...his smile and
watching him leave the earth like a bird. He will be sorely missed. My
thoughts and prayers are with his family and many friends. God speed to
him as he soars to his next destination........
Louanne, Page and Darrell,
Find comfort in the knowledge that Gene blessed so many people with his
enthusiasm for sailing and soaring. He will always be in my heart.
Staff Commodore, Arizona Yacht Club
now living in New Zealand
I, like the Ostgrens, knew Gene YEARS ago. I baby-sat for Gene and his
late brother Steve. My parents were good friends of Gene's mother. We
only reconnected when his Mother died. I wish I had known more about him
in later years.
He was so excited about this race, and I was looking forward to following
him in it. What a shock to go to the website and read of his accident.
I'm sure he will be missed.
Gary and Nora Telfeyan:
My husband, Gary, and I are in a state of shock to hear and read about
Gene's fatal accident. We cannot believe this has happened. A few days
ago, he sent an e mail to us about his forthcoming race. We were so excited
about it. And now to hear of this terrible tragedy! Gene was my first
cousin. His father and my mother were sister and brother. He was such
a fine, compassionate, caring and kind gentleman. The whole family is
in a state of shock. We shall miss him very much.
Our prayers to Louanne, Page and Darrell. May God give you the strength
to bear your irreparable loss. You are in our prayers.
With our deepest condolences,
Gary and Nora
It is with great sorrow that hear of Gene's accident, for he brought such
joy and meaning to my dear friend Louanne's life. He brought the element
of excitement in doing something you really want to do, and doing it with
vigor and knowledge. He will be missed tremendously by all of us who knew
him. My thoughts are with Louanne and the kids.
Richard & Sara Fossett:
This cannot be…we are stunned. Gene is now soaring among the stars.
Our hearts go out to Louanne and all his family and friends. This is a
Richard & Sara Fossett
Tucker & Kathryn Stevens:
Gene and I were first cousins. He grew up on the East coast and I the
West Coast. I have many fond memories of him and his brother Steve, due
to the fact we would visit during the summers. I was always amazed at
the grand adventures he and Louanne were involved in. Sailing through
South Pacific Islands; including a stop over at Pitcarin Island, and reaching
Japan. He even made a return sail back to his port in Long Beach. His
sailplane soaring , is again, more adventures that he would call or e-mail
about. My brother George and I will deeply miss Gene. Our prayers go out
to Darrell, Page, and Louanne.
Tucker & Kathryn Stevens
Steve and May Blankenship:
Our hearts and prayers go out to Louanne, Page, and Darrell over the loss
of Gene. We traded coasts with Gene and Louanne. We're former Californians,
and Gene spent summers on Candlewood Isle, CT as a child. Whenever he
was visiting the Isle, we would share stories of our former homes. We
loved making those connections with him. He was a great and wise man who
loved life to its fullest. Whenever we see an eagle soaring in the thermals
over the lake, we will remember our friend...Gene.
Steve and May Blankenship
Candlewood Isle, CT
Eric Smaltz & family:
Our prayers go out to Gene and his family. Gene has showed us all that
you CAN live your dreams.
Our deepest sympathy,
Eric Smaltz & family
Since meeting Gene in 1997 I have been very lucky to have someone like
him to guide me through soaring and my career in aviation. He was someone
I could turn to with any question and always get the right answer through
his vast aviation experience.
Gene had a passion for soaring that was unmatched. Luanne once told me
if Gene was not soaring he was either reading a book about soaring or
on the internet looking at a site about soaring. I will always remember
our last flight together on the day the picture was taken...following
1EC over the yellow flowers and under the cumulus at Hemet.
We had great times growing up in New Fairfield, Ct. Gene was always one
of the sparks in the activities. "One journey ended, another begins".
Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.
Hunter Pettibone &Family
Dave and Rebecca Piotrowski:
I first met Gene a couple of years ago at Candlelight Farms airport in
Connecticut. I was a relatively new soaring pilot an Gene and Louanne
were making an annual visit to the area to check on his parents home.
He was a member of Nutmeg Soaring even though he was really only there
once a year (I think). One day we somehow got talking and were watching
the clouds begin to form. I began to realize I was in the presence of
a teacher as Gene began telling and showing me how to observe the formation
of the clouds. To watch how long they lasted, to look for the curl off
the top. He went out of his way to engage the low-time or student pilots,
and he had a wonderful manner about him. My wife Rebecca and I met Gene
and Louanne for dinner not long after that and really enjoyed getting
to learn a little about this wonderful couple. They were passionate about
the things they did, and seemed to excel and do those things a quite a
high level. After that I took some instruction from Gene in Nutmeg’s
Grob and found him to be one of the best flight instructors I’ve
been with. As other’s have written here before me, he had a very
thorough, safety oriented approach to flight and I’ve tried to build
my own approach to what I do with soaring to be like Gene’s. We
stayed in touch via email and I was very excited to hear of Gene and Louanne’s
participation in the Race To Kitty Hawk. I’ve been struggling to
come to grips with the news of Gene’s accident. I know that Gene
died doing something he loved and was passionate about. I’ve always
told myself if the same happened to me it would be “OK”. But
I’ve spent the last few days pondering my own wonderful relationship
and what it would be like for both of us if one were to “leave unexpectedly”.
I think it must be hardest on the one “staying around”. Louanne,
our prayers are with you and both of your families. Gene will be missed,
but remembered by us always.
Dave and Rebecca Piotrowski
Tom & Carol Ohlin:
I first met Gene in 1979 when I joined the Arizona Yacht Club while he
was commodore. I had the pleasure of competing(kinda) with Gene in Catalina
22's and found him to be a fierce and fair competitor.
Only a few weeks ago we exchanged emails about seeing the Fall colors
in New England. Life is short.
Sincere condolences to Louanne, Page & Darrell - they have lost a
true, sincere loved one.
Tom & Carol Ohlin
Bill Ferramola and Family:
I cannot begin to express how much Gene will be missed by all of us. I
had the great pleasure of getting to know Gene while sailing many miles
with him. I will continue to cherish the memories of the times we spent
together. Over the years we have all enjoyed sharing in his great adventures.
It came as no surprise to hear Gene had entered the Return to Kitty Hawk.
He was always doing the things we only dream about.
Our heartfelt prayers go out to Louanne, Page and Darrell.With Sympathy,
Bill Ferramola and Family
Steve & Susan Brown:
I met Gene when I went active in Cypress Soaring back in 1999. He has
always been a great friend and instructor. Gene always encouraged me and
offered support and advice on all things soaring. He was the official
observer for my Silver Altitude flight. In addition, he arranged the first
Hemet Turkey Dash cross country race after Thanksgiving last year. This
event offered me my first cross country attempt. Much like his first cross
country, it was short, but fun. Gene will be missed.
Louanne, family and friends:
Our prayers, thoughts and rememberances are with you. We mourn with you.
Steve & Susan Brown
Bill Knapton 1CA:
I am one of hte soaring pilots at Hemet who flew and enjoyed the company
of Gene for the last few years. He was always a source of spirirt and
eagerness for the rest of us to follow and I for one will miss him enormously.
Bill Knapton 1CA
I've known Gene since the mid 70s and have cruised and raced with him,
Page and Darrel many times. I always got a kick out of watching him drive
up in his light blue 66 Camaro and proceed to launch his Catalina 22 with
it, wondering when his boat would drag that Camaro right down the ramp
and into the water. It never happened though.
Gene lived his life to the fullest and was a friend I will never forget.
My sincerest sympathies to Louanne, Page and Darrel.
I first met Gene in 1997 when he joined Cypress Soaring. He was an excellent
pilot and a gentle, understanding and well-liked instructor. He went on
to become the president of Cypress Soaring demonstrating his leadership
qualities. However, his strongest attribute was that he was a wonderful
person, always willing to help at any level. He had many great ideas to
make soaring more fun and at the same time safer. He organized the first
"Turkey Dash" out of Hemet last November and was very excited
about participating in the RTKH. Just 2 weeks ago Gene asked several of
us to help him because he had invited 10 people to come to our family
day and he needed help getting them all up for their first introduction
soaring flight. All that had the privilege of knowing him this kind and
gentle man will miss Gene. Our prayers and sympathy go to Louanne and
Cypress Soaring, Founding Member
I have been a member of the Keelswingers Sailing Club for just over a
year now and that is where I met Gene and Louanne. I am truly shocked
by this tragic event and will miss Gene dearly. He was always so positive
and cheerful, full of enthusiasm and always willing to help. Gene shared
many useful sailing tips and recently conducted a man overboard presentation
followed by a practice sail in Long Beach. It was such a great experience
and a lot of fun, not to mention the usefulness of knowing how to execute
this maneuver. Gene will forever be in our hearts and I pray God's blessings
on Louanne as well as Page and Darrell, whom I have yet to meet.
Al Lehman, Jr.:
Gene was a man who demonstrated the ability to set personal goals and
pursue his dreams with a passion. His exuberance for attaining life's
dreams was a real gift that I will remember forever. I had the pleasure
of racing with Gene on two Trans-Pacific Yacht races at an impressionable
young age. His positive influence and zest for life's adventures will
not be forgotten. Gene is not a victim of these circumstances; rather
a hero in pursuit of life.
May God Bless he and his family as he soars in the heavens beyond.
Al Lehman, Jr.
Ward, Jessica, and Jacqueline
Uncle Gene will always be remembered as a kind and gentle man. Our family
and our uncle’s friends have suffered a great loss. We will miss
Ward, Jessica, and Jacqueline Carapetyan
Gene has been a wonderful inspiration and a major part of my life, sailing,
learning, and living. I have sailed with Gene on two Pacific crossings,
and vicariously been along for several more adventures. Because of Gene,
I am forever blessed with wonderful memories and a lifetime of friends.
I am grateful to be his friend and shipmate…God speed Gene
I keep coming back to this page and reading all of the wonderful things
written about Gene. It is not surprising to me that so many were impacted
by experiencing Gene in their lives. Like all of you, Gene had a huge
impact on my life. Gene talked me into going to college and encouraged
to continue me when I wanted to quit. That was Gene to me...an encouraging
friend. Gene taught me how to sail, which became a passion spanning nearly
two decades now. He taught me about the Corinthian spirit...Gene the teacher.
I recall one time racing down the backside of Catalina Island, sunset,
warm breeze. Gene cooked us dinner; his "hamburger-helper surprise".
The crew took one bite and there was an uncomfortable silence. Then Gene
took one bite...the silence continued. Then Gene looked up thoughtfully
and said "time to gibe" and threw his food overboard. The rest
of the crew simultaneously did the same. We gibed the boat and kept sailing,
never looking back. That was Gene, never too proud, always moving forward.
Gene took me on my first and second glider flights about a year ago. Gene,
sharing his adventures. It was wonderful. He carefully explained indicators,
how to read them and how to react to them. Then he let me take control.
About ten seconds later, just before I stalled, he took it back saying
"no, no you're not quite doing that right...I've got it" and
didn't give it back. That was Gene, an honest friend, a careful and cautious
pilot making the right decision. Now, I find myself looking up at airplanes
in the sky and thinking of an old friend. I'm somehow certain that will
never end. I don't think he knew how much he influenced my life but I'm
pretty sure he would not take any credit. Thanks Gene, for all the great
memories, and for everything.
My prayers for strength and comfort to Louanne, Page, and Darrell.
I'm so sorry!
I met Gene for the first time at the Region 2 contest just over a month
ago when he was flying with Karl Striedieck. We talked extensively over
a two day period and found that we had mutual friends, because I, too,
had flown out of Hemet some years ago.
He was so excited to be flying with Karl, and told me after the first
day how much he had learned.
What a nice, friendly man.
What a loss.
Gary, Beth, Katie, and Jesse:
Gene shared more of his skills with others than anyone I have known.
I consider it an honor to have associated with the father of two of my
Gene wanted to help improve everyone's skills, be it soaring, sailing
or living ones life.
God Bless, our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Gary, Beth, Katie, and Jesse
Peace and Love.
From Fran Bible Gileno:
Gene was a classmate of mine at Judson School, Scottsdale, AZ in 1960-61.
We were 18 - 19 years old. 4 years later I married one of the Dorm Masters
from that school John Gileno, who at that time had a 1946 Luscombe two
seat a 85 horse power airplane. Gene was always asking John about flying
and airplanes back then. We have kept in touch over the years and last
summer while Gene and Louanne were here in Sherman, CT. we had dinner
out together. We looked foreword to the race and seeing them again this
summer. We still have the 1946 Luscombe and another plane and John spent
30 years flying Connie's 727's and 747's. Flying has been our lives! We
both will miss Gene and know that he was doing what he loved to do. And
doing it well!
John and Fran
"One Echo Charlie" Carapetyan
Gene Carapetyan is flying the RTKH for the challenge and "to fly
like Peter Pan" across America. Gene has a Diamond Badge in soaring
and is a past president of Cypress Soaring Club in California. He is retired
from Beechcraft Sales and now relies on Louanne Peck to find him in the
great expanses between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.