In memoriam... Stephan Carignan: The sky was not the limit
September 16, 2014
Aerospace test pilot Stephan Carignan
It is with sadness that we learned of the death of Stephan Carignan, dedicated NRC Aerospace test pilot of almost 20 years and loyal colleague and friend, following a valiant battle with cancer, on September 14, 2014. Stephan was a valuable team member of NRC's Flight Research Laboratory, where he was much appreciated and will be deeply missed.
At age 9, Stephan had already found his calling. His father was an airplane mechanic in Bagotville, Québec, and at that young age Stephan already knew he would be a test pilot. Before he even learned to drive, he obtained his glider's license. And that is where his illustrious career took flight. He obtained a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree in 1984 from the Royal Military College of Canada and attained his military helicopter license in 1985. In 1990, he became a test pilot with the Department of National Defense where he served 15 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), including five years as a naval aviator and four years in a military test facility.
Stephan came to NRC in 1996, where he spent over 18 years becoming one of the organization's most seasoned and versatile test pilots with almost 6,700 hours of flying time under his belt, more than 5,000 of those as a test pilot. He piloted 45 different types of aircraft and took part in a variety of high-profile projects, including flights to test many advanced vision systems and augmented control laws, and the development of the flight envelope for the NRC Advanced Research System's fly-by-wire aircraft.
Stephan's contributions to aeronautics garnered him many prestigious awards. In February 2005, he received the NRC Outstanding Achievement Award for his exceptional contribution to the Enhanced Synthetic Vision System project. In June of that year, he was awarded the American Helicopter Society (AHS) Gruppo Agusta International Fellowship Award for his contributions to the Sikorsky/NRC fly-by-wire team. He was awarded The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) Outstanding Achievement Award in April 2008 for his role in the "Integrated Visionic, Sensor, and Mission Systems for Day, Night, All-Weather Rotorcraft Operations" project.
However, he received what was perhaps his most significant accolade from the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) in December 2012. At a ceremony in London, U.K., they bestowed on him the RAeS Bronze Medal for his work leading to advances in aerospace as well as the coveted RAeS Alan Marsh Medal for his outstanding contribution to helicopter research, development and safety, which is recognized worldwide. The Marsh Medal is reserved for the exemplary members of international flight test crews. Stephan certainly was a team player, always humbly crediting his entire crew for the success of projects.
As we look back on the memorable career of an esteemed colleague and remember a dear friend, it becomes clear that for Stephan, the sky was not the limit – it was his playground.
Although not a member of the Association Tim Mace was a highly respected Test Pilot who formed the first tranche of UK Astronauts who never quite made it to space.
These notes are from a PPrune post today.
It is with great sadness that we notify you of the passing this morning of our beloved and revered friend, Tim Mace, after losing his battle with cancer. He was surrounded by loved ones. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
The Solar Impulse porject is surely one touching the edge of technology in the true spirit of research and development test flying. This Swiss led project really is on a grand scale, with an aircraft with a wingspan equivalent to an Airbus A380, but weighing less than your average saloon car. Something about this project, designed to send the single pilot aircraft around the world without a fuel source, leaves one aghast at the idea and how the foresight of a test pilot and aero engineer has been turned into reality.
Check out their videos here on YouTube for the whole story.