April 14, 2022

Remembering Bjarni Tryggvason

Jon Robinson

— Text and photos by Gustavo Corujo

Bjarni Tryggvason, one of Canada’s first astronauts and leading supporters of the country’s aviation community, passed away at the age of 76.

Tryggvason was born in Reykjavik, Iceland and grew up in Vancouver, BC. He was an engineer, a pilot, an educator and an inventor who applied the highest standard to everything he undertook.

He flew his one and only mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1997. On that 12-day mission, he orbited Earth 189 times, performing experiments on the atmosphere and the effect of space flight on the shuttle’s equipment. He retired from the Canadian Space Agency in 2008.

Tryggvason was the President of CHAA. He was passionate about CHAA and our many volunteers who help keep CHAA going. He often spoke about wanting to keep the Harvards flying up to their 100th anniversary and led lively conversations at the Board about our need to plan for the future so that we could keep our yellow birds flying for as long as possible. His leadership will be missed by everyone on the Board, and indeed throughout the entire CHAA family.

Tryggvason enjoyed flying aerobatics in the Harvard and doing formation flights, where he was a newly qualified FAST Lead. At our most recent Board meeting, he announced that he would be stepping down at the end of the year to retire to where he grew up, British Columbia, so this would be his last year flying the Harvard. Sadly, he was unable to fulfill that dream but his final flight was in one of our Harvards, HWX, doing a return to service maintenance flight just a couple of weeks ago.

“I’d like to think that he was sent on his way with memories of the Harvard fresh in his mind,” said Allan Paige, Chief Operations Officer of CHAA, on behalf of the Board.

More photos can be viewed here.