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Obituary - Michael Rentell

On 20th January 2013  Mike Rentell, Vice President of the Airship Association, died in a hospice in Kent. For more than 20 years Mike held key positions on the Association Council, first as Honorary Secretary and latterly as Honorary  Treasurer. He most successfully covered both these roles but did so much more besides.

He was  very active during preparations for Conventions composing and arranging for printing of publicity brochures and “Call for Papers” leaflets. He was always instrumental in choosing venues. For many years Mike liaised with the editors of “Airship”. He  selected printers and provided distribution lists. Through this activity, even as Honorary Treasurer, he was effectively Membership Secretary. He was deeply involved with setting up the web site shop and publication sales. He assisted in technical publications and was the only one amongst us who could master the software able to reproduce mathematical expressions. Even in his final days he was in touch with John Taylor in America on how  best to present John’s work upon the vagaries of static lift.

Mike represented the Association and its Corporate Membership during the discussions with the European Regulators  which were also observed by the FAA. These resulted in the TAR regulations which have yet to be put into practice but were drafted to create a performance specification rather than
a prescriptive constraint upon future airship designs. Mike tried very hard to get this concept accepted. Time alone will determine just how successful he was in this aspect .

All of these activities Mike undertook until comparatively recently when he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a rigourous regime of treatment which made it impossible to continue  his Association activities.

Council recognised Mike’s service and dedication requesting he become a Vice President. Mike accepted and was formally given the title last year.

Mike was unusual, a very clever man - he spoke a number of languages including Russian and German which he acquired during his Army service - who would discuss the more philosophical aspects of science with anyone one able to keep up with his broad span of learning. This very clever man was also blessed with a great organising ability and an appetite for work which was outstanding.

Added to these qualities he had  a most pleasant personality  which all who worked with him much appreciated. He was completely reliable taking any assigned task through to a successful conclusion.

The Association has lost a true stalwart and folk like me have lost a treasured friend.

Dick Chadburn

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