Canadian veteran was renowned test pilot, instructor, author.
Shawn Coyle, a longtime test pilot, flight test engineer, flight educator, and author, died Jun. 19, 2021, after a long illness. He was 71.
Coyle, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 427 Squadron and a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada and the Empire Test Pilots’ School in the United Kingdom, had more than 40 years of experience in aviation. He was consulted by numerous organizations as a lecturer and subject-matter expert in helicopter aerodynamics, flight training, simulator training, and helicopter safety.
In 1997, Coyle cofounded Aeroserve Technologies, manufacturer of the Airtab vortex generator, which was designed to reduce aerodynamic drag on vehicles, thereby saving fuel. During his career, he also worked for Bell Helicopter on the Model 400; was an instructor at the US Naval Test Pilot School, the National Test Pilot School in California, and the International Test Pilots School; and served at Transport Canada as a certification test pilot on the Bell 407, 430, and 427. He also taught a popular course at HAI HELI-EXPO®, “Helicopter Aerodynamics without Equations,” where he demystified the difficult aerodynamic concepts of rotary-wing flight.
“Shawn could explain things in such a way that an engineer would find the explanation accurate while the pilot would find it crystal clear,” says Greg Brown, HAI director of education and training services.
Coyle was awarded HAI’s Excellence in Communications Award in 2013 for his columns in industry publications as well as his books Cyclic & Collective, The Art and Science of Flying Helicopters, and The Little Book of Autorotations.
Survivors include his wife, three children, and four grandchildren.