The passing of H. Ian “WWWringer” Smuck has cast a pall over the WingWalkers since his son, Christopher, gave us the bad news. I came to the WingWalkers via the Taipans Squadron back in 2004, and Wringer was the XO, under WWReaper at the time. I will never forget the first time I flew with the WW’s; using IL-2 (which we still use today!). I was in a Bf109, and didn’t know about Shift-F1. Ian had a voice that was unmistakable, and he told me how to fix my “problem with the gunsight.” He walked me through some things that first session, and was still walking me through all things aviation up until he passed.
I was talking to my wife about how much Ian’s passing was bothering me. I met him in person exactly one time, at our reunion in Dayton. He was the same cool, calm, and collected guy in person, that he was on TeamSpeak. I have realized over the years that the friends we make online, and talk to as much as we talk to the friends we see regularly, become as close as family. I’ve said it before, but this is my second family, and Ian was a GIGANTIC part of it.
I’ll miss his humor…err…humour 😉 I’ll miss his flying skills when he was on your team, I’ll miss the way he gave all of us tips on doing things the correct way, and I’ll miss him fixing little problems, like Shift-F1. Mostly though, I’ll just miss hearing his voice on TeamSpeak, the familiar voice of a friend that we will all miss dearly.
Rest in peace Ian. You epitomized “Once and Always.”