Personal friends of Gene’s are encourged to email their remembrances to 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.

Jim Payne:
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.

Jim Payne

Arthur Wallace:
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.

I 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.

Arthur Wallace
Cypress Soaring Club

Dawn Irwin:
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.

Dawn Irwin

Dave Boyer:
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.

Thanks, Gene.
Dave Boyer

Allan 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
Sherman, CT

Chris Salomon:
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

H.-Peter Krebs:
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.

H.-Peter Krebs
Nutmeg Soaring Assoc.

Sue McMaster:
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,
Sue McMaster

Mark Navarre:
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.
Mark Navarre

Cindy Hope:
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.
Cindy Hope
Kona, Hawaii

Jim Bagley:
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 sentiment.

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.
Jim Bagley
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
Tempe, AZ

Kathy McKean:
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........


Kathy McKean

Joyce Seale:
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.

Joyce Seale
Staff Commodore, Arizona Yacht Club
now living in New Zealand

Georgine Olsen:
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.
Georgine Olsen

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

Ginger Remy:
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.

Ginger Remy

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 great loss.

With sadness,

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.

With love,
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

Brent Cordill:
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.

Brent Cordill

Hunter Pettibone:
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
Anchorage, Alaska

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
Ventura, CA

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

Dennis Lynde:
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.

Chuck Gifford:
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 family.

Chuck Gifford
Cypress Soaring, Founding Member

Carol Lewis:
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.
Carol Lewis

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.
Payson, Arizona

Ward, Jessica, and Jacqueline Carapetyan:
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 him.

Ward, Jessica, and Jacqueline Carapetyan

Gabe Ferramola:
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

Gabe Ferramola
Rossmoor, California

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 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.

Cypress, CA

Bruce Baker:
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.

Bruce Baker

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 best friends.
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

Gene "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.