Ron Bertram, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia, died in a crash near Sydney on Wednesday. Bertram was taking a Lancair 360 homebuilt for a check flight at Bankstown Airport after some routine maintenance work, according to news reports. Bertram reported engine trouble on takeoff, then crashed near the runway. The aircraft was destroyed. AOPA Australia said in a statement: "His comrades at AOPA are stunned by his loss and are very aware of how difficult it will be to follow in his footsteps. AOPA under his leadership had achieved significant milestones." Airservices Australia Chief Executive Officer Greg Russell praised Bertram's work. "The association has lost a true reformer and a person dedicated to making AOPA more relevant and valuable to the aviation industry," he said. "In memory of Ron and as a legacy to his work and role, it is of critical importance that all of us in the Australian aviation industry continue to strive to achieve his vision." Bertram, who was in his early 40s, had been AOPA president for about two years.