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APRIL 2022

Obituary

A tribute to Peter Ricketts aviation journalist and photographer

August 19, 1941-February 16, 2022

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April 1st 2022

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“It is was with great sadness that I learned my good friend, Australian aviation journalist and photographer, Peter Ricketts, died on February 16, 2022 at the age of 80. Read More »

“He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July 2020 and it is clear he made no public mention of his cancer, as most people, myself included, when I relayed the sad news to them were not even aware he had been ill.

That was typical Peter Ricketts behavior: a quietly conscientious and competent man who sought neither fame nor publicity.

I first met Peter in 1983, shortly after my arrival in Sydney from England when I was working for Saab-Fairchild International. He was the first Aussie journalist I had met and he endeared himself to me immediately with his ultra-dry sense of humour and his no-nonsense approach to life in general. It was the start of a long friendship. We always seemed to meet each other more outside Australia than in, since most of our social encounters involved late night drinks after long days at airshows in Farnborough, Singapore and Paris.

When back in Sydney, a daytime tradition evolved of pre-Christmas lunches at Peter’s favourite Asian BBQ restaurant in Sydney’s China Town. They were always well attended and lots of fun.

Peter’s appetite for aviation was voracious and his level of knowledge astonishing, particularly on the stories behind the stories. His passion for aviation photography was on clear display as he was always laden with cameras and lens. My enduring image of Peter is of him, with camera bags slung over both shoulders, trudging along the static display lines of an airshow – any airshow – wearing a brightly coloured cap to protect his follicly challenged pate (a shared attribute) from the sun.

Perhaps the regard for which I hold Peter is best illustrated by the invitation to his 60th birthday party some 20 years ago. It had two photographs, side by side. One was of Peter and the other was of Orville Wright, with whom Peter shared a birth date – obviously not the same birth year! The caption read: ‘One of these people is an aviation legend. The other is Orville Wright’. Quite.” By Harry Forsythe. (harry.forsythe@me.com)

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