I just found out that Bill Law, the man who has probably done more for general aviation in Western New York than anybody since Glen Curtis, just died in a plane crash.

Like most local pilots, I did my private pilot and instrument ticket check rides with Bill. He was the busiest of the local FAA Designated Pilot Examiners. He was also the Chief Pilot for the flying club – which means if there was ever a question about procedures or operations we would ask his approval. He also ran a very busy flight school and charter operation.

Bill was extremely friendly, and it didn’t matter how busy he was (and he was always pretty busy), he would have time to offer his opinion on weather, routes, air traffic control, etc. And Bill Law Aviation was just a great place to sit around and shoot the breeze with Bill and his instructors and drink his coffee.

Bill and his business manager Isabel often came to our flying club annual dinners. In some ways his business and our flying club were rivals for the dollars of the local pilots, and with the current economic downturn the rivalry became intense with fewer pilots flying fewer hours, but Bill was always friendly and good to the members and to the club itself.

I’m extremely shaken. And of course there is always the thought that if a pilot as good and experienced as Bill can die on a good VFR day, what hope does any of us have?