Tributes For John Deakin


John Deakin, a founding contributor to AVweb and a highly regarded pilot, author and aviation educator, died Wednesday. Deakin was an Air America pilot, flying throughout Southeast Asia before landing a job with Japan Airlines. He flew 747s for the airline and retired as one of its most experienced pilots. “He had more Pacific crossings than most of us have takeoffs and landings,” said AVweb Editor-At-Large Paul Bertorelli, who wrote about his passing in a blog post. “John was a larger than life character, but not the loud kind that let you know about it by making himself the center of attention.” 

Deakin wrote an immensely popular column called Pelican’s Perch for AVweb for more than a decade. Doug Ritter, AVweb’s first editor, said Deakin’s breadth of experience and brilliant writing made him a must-read for those embracing the new medium of the internet for their aviation stories. “He was an extraordinary pilot, an incredible teller of stories, an articulate and gifted writer and educator and a truly solid and giving human being,” Ritter said. “We have lost a giant.”  

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. RIP John, you’re a legend. Thanks for showing me a thing or two flying the big taildragger!

  2. I learned more about flying in general and piston engine management specifically from John than from all my other instructors combined. He was an amazing accomplished aviator.

  3. John’s series of articles here (and they were many) were the ones that made you think, entertained you, and certainly contributed to the vast and ever-increasing corpus of knowledge in our avocation/vocational activities in the realm of flight. He joins luminaries such as Langweische, Gann, Collins, and others as one of the few that not only ‘Got it’, but was able to communicate that insight in a way that you to ‘got it’.

    He was also the first stop back in the day when I visited the site in its early incarnations…and will be sadly missed. RIP John. Hope the travels west brought you a richly deserved rest from a job well done.

  4. Rest in Peace. A sad loss but he was a wonderful gift to those who knew him and/or read his work. A while back I printed out a lot of his articles and I frequently enjoy rereading them. He provided the fodder for many interesting discussions. Thanks John!

  5. John taught me all there is to know about how to run my precious historic engine. Farewell and godspeed John, LOP!

  6. I was and still am a reader of Deakin articles. It was trough them that I was interested in is book. A great aviation writer, with a very clear presentation of often not so simple subjects. After many years of following him I changed a few emails with him, with he always replied in a very kind and funny way showing that he was always on top of is game. I knew about is death a few months ago trough one of Paul’s Bertorelli article. Only now I was able to say something. I have lost above all a mentor and also a friend. Even if we have never met. Farewell John!