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Record breaker Geoff was a natural.

Byline: By Gerry Holt South Wales Echo

World-class hang-glider and sailplane pilot Geoff Loyns has died at the age of 56.

THE SKY was home to Geoff Loyns.

The record-breaking hang-glider and sailplane pilot, who was born and brought up in Cardiff, was looked up to by many for his instinctive knowledge of the winds.

Despite living in America for more than 20 years, he kept in touch with many friends in Wales, many of whom will be gathering to celebrate his life later this month.

Geoff was born to parents Bertie and Alma Loyns on February 2, 1951, and lived in Laugharne Road, Rumney, Cardiff, for most of his young life. He went to Greenway Road Junior School and Caer Castell High School, before being taken on as an apprentice for Williams Alexander Foundry in Rumney, Cardiff, as a pattern maker.

He then worked for John Williams in Cardiff Bay before working in double glazing.

Geoff was a member of Penarth Judo Club for many years in the 1970s, progressing to a brown belt.

In January 1978, he took up hang- gliding. He had always been interested in flying but could not afford lessons in a plane, so hang-gliding was the next best option.

It soon became obvious he had a natural talent for it and in 1980 he visited California, home to some of the world's best hang-gliders.

He loved it so much, he decided to move and by 1981 was beginning to beat records.

Over the years, he broke world and national records for speed and distance.

Some of his achievements featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

To pay the bills, he worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker, working in millionaires' mansions, where he was respected for his craftsmanship and care.

He swapped hang-gliding for sailplanes 10 years ago. In 2001, he moved to Nevada where he perfected his talents in this other mode of flying.

He was one of only a handful of pilots in the world to be given a diamond award for his skills.

His most recent success was when he flew 1,000km in a sailplane across Nevada in under nine hours.

He was close to his daughter Martine and granddaughter Kimberly, 11, both of Penarth, whom he doted on.

Geoff died when the sailplane he was flying crashed after he had set off from Minden Airport, Nevada.

A celebration of his life is planned for October 14 at Penarth Conservative Club at 3pm.

Anyone who knew Geoff is welcome to go along.

Go to to find out more about his achievements.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 2, 2007
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