It is with heavy hearts we report that Major General Des Barker, has died in an air accident in South Africa.
It is believed that the Patchen Explorer suffered some form of mechanical failure during a check flight whilst on approach to AFB Swartkop, where the aircraft was part of the SAAF Museum collection. The aircraft did not make it safely to the runway and claimed the lives of both Maj Gen Barker and the other pilot, Col Rama 'Dynamite' Iyer a long term friend and colleague of Barker's.
The Directorate: Corporate Communication of the national defence force, said: “The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Military Command is saddened to learn of the untimely death of two Reserve Force pilots as a result of a fatal Patchen Explorer aircraft crash during the scheduled General Flying day at the SAAF Museum in Valhalla, Pretoria. The fatal crash happened on Wednesday, 17 March 2021 at approximately 09:30am”.
Des will be known to many in the airshow and wider aviation community. He was perhaps the world's leading authority in Airshow Accidents and incident's, providing analysis, learning and messaging, to prevent re-occurrence's and saving lives. His background as a military pilot, senior military officer and test pilot, provided him with a credible background for his research and experience. When matched with his passion and commitment for driving safety standards forward, Des's authority on display flying safety was and is unmatched.
We are truly devastated by the news and the whole of the EAC Board send our thoughts and condolences to his wife Benni and his family.
Des was a true gentleman, aviator and constant support for EAC, travelling many times to present at EAC as well as providing guidance, reports and many a great tale or two. His loss will be felt by many across the Globe.
Blue Skies Dear Friend, you went doing the thing you loved.