We have been overwhelmed by the good wishes and wonderful stories so many of you have shared with us. For us, Doug was a great brother and son, along with being a meticulous pilot, a pioneering engineer, and a giver of time and talent.

Most importantly, thank you for your friendship and generosity at this difficult time. Doug would have wanted all of us to celebrate and embrace the life he lived – he lived it well.

The Bourn Family

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tim Prachar remembers Doug at the Memorial

I’ve known Doug for what seems like a very long time. Longer than some, but not as long as some others have known him. I've known him as a best friend, fellow pilot, fellow engineer, and simply fellow man. I knew him closer than many here today, but like most, never knew all sides of this very diverse man.

Over the last week I’ve learned a lot about him, and learned many more facets of who he was, especially who he was to his family and how much he truly meant to them, and they to him. To tell you all the ways Doug made my world a better place would take hours, and I regret I have but a few minutes and can share only a small window into him.

Doug and I first met at IDEO in ’97, and bonded immediately over our shared passion for engineering, and thrill of discovering not only what makes things tick, but also the thrill of putting that tick inside of things. For Doug it was never enough to just know that something worked — one had to know why it worked, and prove that it would work.

One of my favorite mantras Doug would always say was, “If it hasn't been tested, it doesn't work.” He believed in making things right, and never halfway.

So one day when Doug told me he’d finished his instructor’s certification, and was wondering who his first student would be, I knew in an instant that I could pick no better instructor to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a pilot than Doug. In classic Doug form, he insisted that his rate for this instruction should be at the trivial level of $5 an hour. For Doug it was never about the money, and it was always about enabling others to achieve their dreams. Only when we moved on to advanced training after finishing my first license, only then could I argue him up to a higher rate, and then, he wouldn't take much more than a typical high-school student could earn at McDonald’s flipping burgers.

I've flown with many pilots over the last decade, but none as in tune with their aircraft and as focused on precision flying as Doug. He may not have been a perfectionist about everything in his life, but he was about flying because flying was his passion, and I am grateful to him that in the hundreds of hours we've flown together, if even by osmosis, he has instilled that passion for flying perfection in me.

I cannot remember a flight in which I didn’t think about what he instilled in me, and I can’t imagine a moment when I won’t think about him, and benefit from all that he has given me, whether it be about flying, engineering, friendship, or simply how to truly live life. He may no longer be with us today in body, but it is his passion for life that we will all carry forward into ours.

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