VREF provides appraisal services to thousands of aircraft owners on an annual basis, and every once in a while we come across a story worth sharing. Aviators are passionate to a fault, and one of the many things the staff at VREF enjoy are interacting with clients that have amazing stories and backgrounds to share. While conducting research we may uncover tidbits about an owner, or the history of an aircraft that is interesting. When you are doing research for donation that involves the legacy of a loved one the appraiser usually never hears about the outcome of the work or the impact the work had on others. This is the story of a man that loved aviation, donated his life to it and now his family can enjoy the legacy he left behind through a donated aircraft.
A few months ago, we were hired to do an appraisal on a Piper Cherokee. I received an email from the aircraft owners daughter who shared with me her father had passed away and they needed an appraisal to complete a donation. As is the case with every project, once the information on the aircraft had been received we conducted research on the owner and discovered that this particular aircraft had been owned by a well-known former FAA Manager of Flight Standards Division, and expert witness whose career spanned 6 decades.
Jerry Nash began his career and love for aviation in 1959 when he enlisted in the United States Air Force. He started working for the FAA in 1970 and spent the next 20 years working his way from Principal Aviation Safety Inspector to eventually taking over as Manager of The Aircraft Maintenance Branch and Flight Standards Division. Jerry finally retired in 1990 from the FAA and began the second part of his career as an expert witness and aviation consultant, where he wrote FAA compliance manuals and worked with air carriers and repair stations.
Jerry earned his A&P license and maintained his own aircraft, his passion for teaching was felt by everyone who he came in contact with. As a mentor he helped many and was always quick to share his knowledge and love for aircraft. Jerry’s life-long love for aviation was apparent, so it is only fitting that the Piper he loved so much would continue to teach on his behalf for many years to come.
Rarely do we ever find out about what happens to an aircraft after it is donated. So, to find out that Jerry’s prized Piper would be used at a vocational school brought a smile to my face. The Nash family in honor of Jerry donated the Piper to the Westfield Technical Academy’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Division where students for many years to come will continue to be touched by Jerry’s dedication and passion to aviation.
We want to thank the Nash family for trusting VREF with the appraisal of the Piper and hope that Jerry and his legacy impact lives for many decades to come.