WICOMICO CHURCH—Ian James Duncan, 86, of Wicomico Church passed away after a long illness on August 24, 2021.
He was born January 1935 in Butler, Pennsylvania. His parents, George and Isabella Duncan, Scottish immigrants, preceded him in death; as did his sisters, Helen Armstrong and Isobel Hartley; son, William Scott; and his only daughter, Natasha Jean.
He is survived by his wife, Ilona Duncan, the love of his life, his partner in good times and bad, and his best friend for five decades. Ian is survived by three sons, David, James and Alec; and four grandchildren, Ian, Cole, Sydney and George.
Ian spent a lifetime in all facets of flying. Beginning as a hanger boy at the local Butler airport, he went to the Spartan School of Aeronautics, and was a commercial and instructor pilot by age 18. As an officer in the Air Force, and later the Air National Guard, Ian flew the Piper PA-18, the North American T-6, North American B-25, the Fairchild C-119, the Boeing KC-97, Boeing C-97 and KC-97L, the Lockheed T-33, and the Lockheed HC-130 Hercules. He retired with a rank of lieutenant colonel in 1976.
His airline career began with DC-3s and DC-7s in the early 1960s, before being hired by Pan American World Airways. Over a 25-year span, Ian flew the Boeing 707, the Lockheed L-1011, and the Boeing 747. He was a check airman on all three aircraft, became chief pilot and vice president of flight operations. He retired in 1988 and was hired by Airbus Industries to work in Toulouse, France, and retired in 1998 as vice president of technical training for Airbus Industries of North America.
While serving in various flight management roles at Pan American and later at Airbus, Captain Duncan was an active participant in numerous aviation related activities, including the Air Transport Association, IATA, the Flight Safety Foundation, Icarus and the Council of Aviation Accreditation. In addition, he worked voluntarily on numerous aviation safety sub-committees. For his many achievements, the College of Aeronautics, Flushing, New York, awarded him a Doctor of Science Honoris Causa.
For several years after his retirement from Airbus, Captain Duncan was contracted as a consultant to aviation safety and training related activities, which included airlines and the Department of Justice.
After moving to the Northern Neck in 2003, Ian joined the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Kilmarnock. For 15 years he assumed various roles in the auxiliary and enjoyed the camaraderie with others in this important volunteer work. He will be remembered for his humor, spirited wit and keen intelligence.
Ian Duncan donated his body to the Virginia State Anatomical Program for the purpose of medical studies. At a date in the future, a ceremony and celebration of his remarkable life will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.