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Northern aviation community mourns Laserich’s death

Nov. 28, 2011, Yellowknife, N.W.T. - People across the North are mourning the loss of a well-known member of the aviation community.


November 28, 2011
By CBC News

Paul Laserich was found dead in his Yellowknife home on Saturday. He was 52.

The general manager of Adlair Aviation was a gatekeeper in the aviation industry. He was known for welcoming southern visitors and helping Nunavut medical travellers.

Last summer, Paul Laserich spoke at a ceremony inducting his father – renegade bush pilot Willie Laserich – into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.

But his own legacy in the aviation industry is warm generosity and strong opinions.

“You could get into the best argument in the world with him, but in the end you'd still be friends and he'd offer you the shirt off his back,” said Yellowknife mayor Gordon Van Tighem.

Joe McBryan of Buffalo Airways says it's difficult news for people in the aviation industry who are still recovering from three fatal plane crashes in four months.

“I’ve been in aviation in the North, this year has been the most tragic for loss, and a personal loss,” said McBryan. “And Paul being gone – he died in peace, and he didn’t' suffer, his old body just gave out on him.”

McBryan says he remembers his friend guiding newcomers.

“Paul would be that anchor in the centre. Anybody coming from the North would find a haven with Paul – a place to park, a ride to town, a meal. When you landed at this airport, he settled you in,” said McBryan.

Staff at Adlair Aviation say a memorial is being planned and it will take place at the Adlair hangar in Yellowknife.

“I just hope when he gets up that big air service in the sky that he has a front seat,” said McBryan.

The deputy chief coroner of the Northwest Territories says Laserich's death is not suspicious, but it is under investigation.