Walter Blanchard FRIN
09 March 2020
It is with great sadness that we report the death of former President, Walter Blanchard.
Walter was a RAF navigator from 1948 to 1957, mainly on transport aircraft in the UK and Far East, where he was the sole survivor of a Valetta crash into the jungle. Later, he also ejected from a Canberra aircraft over the North Sea.
He then spent 15 years with the Decca Navigator Company, being closely involved with the development of Decca Navigator, Loran-C and other LF systems, and flying extensively in the company’s demonstration aircraft.
In the early '70s, Walter was heavily involved with Redifon in the development of satellite navigation in the US, resulting in the formation of 'Transit', which he introduced to the European marine market. By 1976 he was was back at Decca Survey, later to become Racal Decca, specialising in Transit for geodetic use. In 1986 he became an independent consultant and was involved in the first use of differential GPS in the 'Skyfix' system, using Inmarsat satellites.
Walter was awarded Institute Fellowship in 1988 and became Chairman of the Technical Committee and Vice-President, later to become President in 1993-96. He was very active in his Presidential role, ensuring that we led the way in European navigation activity and insisting that the Institute become a very early user of the internet with 'www.rin.org.uk'.
He was awarded the Institute’s Bronze Medal in 1991 and Gold in 1995, and also received the US ION’s Thurlow Award. He was also a Livery member of GAPAN, later to become the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, a Freeman of the City of London and Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.
The Institute has lost a wonderful past leader and many members have lost a good friend. We pass our deepest condolences to Walter’s wife, Anne, and their family.
A family funeral will take place on 1 April, with a celebration of Walter's life planned for early October.
Walter F Blanchard 9 October 1930 - 7 March 2020