Review of 2012 - Farewells

We recall 2012’s highlights, lowlights, near misses and power plays, and bid some fond farewells.

 © RexFeatures


The astronaut, test pilot and engineer died on 25 August, aged 82. Armstrong’s distinguished career was highlighted by his role as Apollo 11 commander, and he was the first man to walk on the moon. Before joining the astronaut corps, Armstrong also served as a NASA test pilot, flying the exo-atmospheric X-15 research aircraft. Earlier in his career, Armstrong flew combat missions as a US Navy fighter pilot in Korea. For our full obituary, visit


 © RexFeatures


The chief executive and, later, chairman of British Airways, who led the carrier for 21 years from 1983, including through the difficult period of its privatisation, died on 5 July aged 78. Marshall recognised a company’s culture could not be changed by management decree. His instinct was to engage with staff wherever possible to help shape attitudes and outcomes in all details of BA’s operation. Credited with bringing to the UK the radical notion that customer service matters, Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge is rightly remembered as a titan of British business.


 © Character Education Partnership


Sanford “Sandy” McDonnell, former McDonnell Douglas chairman and chief executive, died on 19 March, aged 89. During the Second World War, McDonnell spent two years casting uranium-238 for the Manhattan Project. After the war, he joined McDonnell Aircraft – founded by uncle James – and worked up to his first management position, playing a major role in developing the F-4 Phantom II fighter jet.


 © Orbis


The founder of FlightSafety International died on 18 October, aged 95. In 1951, while serving as Pan Am founder Juan Trippe’s personal pilot, Ueltschi took a $15,000 mortgage and launched FlightSafety. After managing the training company part-time for 17 years, he became chief executive full-time in 1968 and, 28 years on, sold the company to Warren Buffett for $1.5 billion. Ueltschi was instrumental in founding eye-surgery charity ORBIS International.




The general manager of Shenyang Aircraft died on 25 November, aged 61. As head of research and development, Yang witnessed the first launch and landing of the J-15 fighter aboard China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier on 24 November, a key milestone in a decade-long project to field such a capability for the Chinese navy. Yang reportedly felt sick when the Liaoning docked, and suffered a heart attack on the way to hospital. His death was treated at the level of a state burial.

Flight International 14 February 2012

  • Pick up a copy at a newsstand or airport shop.Find your nearest stockist (UK only)
  • If you have any problems getting hold of the issue, please contact Dawn Hartwell on +44 20 8652 3315.