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May 2017
We’ve just received the sad news that Geoff Commins has died after a long struggle with cancer.  With his vast experience on Lightnings, Geoff was an irreplaceable member of many Lightning groups, including the Lightning Preservation Group and the Anglo-American Lightning Organisation, as well as the Lightning Association, and his gentle sense of humour was appreciated as much as his technical expertise.
 
Everyone in our world will have their own story of Geoff, but one which springs to mind occurred when he was doing engine runs on XR724 at Binbrook.  There were problems with going into reheat, and Geoff decided to go round to the back of the aircraft to see if the hot-shot was working.  Pip Sweetman was in the cockpit and John Watson and Dennis Wood were observing on the ground.  Geoff decided that his distance from the jet pipe was about right, but with the benefit of hindsight, another 100 metres might have been better.
 
As the engine RPM rose, Geoff leaned further and further forward until he was past 45 degrees, then went down on his hands and knees and clung to the concrete, but to no avail.  He started to slide backwards down the pan until the knees of his overalls were shredded, then disappeared into the weeds on his backside, with similar effects on the seat of his pants.  When he eventually came to a stop he walked back and said ‘She’s got some power!’  Then, red-faced, breathing heavily and indecently dressed for mixed company, he went off to get some new overalls.
 
Geoff Commins, one of the good guys.  We shall miss him very much.

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