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Final Flights

In Memorium

This page is dedicated to the memory of all those Skywackers who have made their Final Flights, that they may continue to fly with us in memory.

Looking for help on this page - a photo or a memory to help remember them by.

Many of the images and much of the information currently appearing here were found on Jimmy Robertson's website:

Drew Richardson - 2016

Drew Richardson
"Drew was a retired FBI analyst who enjoyed telling the story of when he was the consultant on Alcatraz with Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage when they filmed, 'The Rock'. He was a competitive swimmer in his youth and even trained with Olympic Gold Medalist, Mark Spitz. Drew was as nice a guy as you'd ever meet and never had anything but constructive things to say about anyone. Quiet in a group, you'd often see him smiling and listening as everyone else chattered away. But one-on-one he was as talkative as they come and shared much of his enthusiasm about life, aspirations and, of course, flying. Drew flew with the Skywackers from 2011 to 2016. One of his goals was to be the oldest active paraglider pilot in the world, and at the time of his fatal non-flying related accident at age 65, he was healthy and athletic enough to make you wonder if he might just pull that off."

-Steve "Scrappy" Beach

Dale Ashworth - 2007

Dale Ashworth

Dale was an active pilot in the days of the RVHGA, and was most often seen in the company of his flying buddy Mouse

In more recent years he had been Town Councilman in Christiansburg, Virginia, and was a founding member of the airport authority and "just a very nice person ... he was always a gentleman," said Montgomery airport director Michael St. Jean.

Maggie Palmeiri - 2003

Maggie Palmeiri

Maggie was an avid cyclist in the Roanoke area and an active member of GRITS, (Girls Riding In The Streets), a group of women bicyclists who met regularly to ride and encourage other women to ride. Maggie and her husband Jim both were not only involved with bicycling, but have been involved with the sport of hang gliding for the past twelve years. She also co-edited and published two books of hang gliding stories with her husband Jim Palmieri.

Jim Palmieri has established a medical school scholarship fund in her honor at the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, where he's a professor. It will aid medical students who have dedicated their careers to rural medicine.

If you wish to donate, you can send contributions to:

The Margaret Palmieri Rural Health Scholarship
Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine
C/O Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, D.O.
2265 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Dave "Mega-Man" McCommon - 2003

Dave 'Mega-Man' McCommon
Dave was in his 60's when he started Hang Gliding - an age when many people have retired from the sport. He flew regularly for 4 or 5 years in the mid 1980's. His love of flying and enthusiasm were an inspiration to all who knew him.

Dave Higginbotham

Dave was one of the original founding members of the Skywackers

Darryl Richards - 1999

Darryl Richards
Darryl was a hang glider pilot and the son of WW Richards of the RVHGA.

Bill Bennett - 1996

Bill Bennett
Bill was a Region 9 Director, Instructor and Hang Glider pilot who was known and loved by all.
Hang Gliding Magazine Memorial and Accident Report (pdf)

Greg Lemieux - 1994

Greg Lemieux
Greg was a long time pilot that had survived the early days of hang gliding and was one of the original founding members of the Skywackers.
(updated December 27, 2023)

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