Julian Harris died as a result of a tragic accident while flying in a microlight light aircraft piloted by his friend Tom Ellison, who also did not survive. The accident took place near Tours, France on 5 July 2009 and the aircraft crashed minutes before it was due to land.
In 2002, Julian became the holder of the world record for speed and altitude in the microlight genre piloted by himself, flying at the then record speed of 187kph at an altitude of 10,400 feet and tested over 50km. His feat was recognised by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in Switzerland after confirmation by their inspectors. The microlight was built by Julian over many weekends, and for the rest of his life Julian was a devoted supporter of microlights.
Julian, who was born on 23 December 1959, grew up in an international environment at school in South Africa and Rhodesia, and from 1970 attended the Island School in Hong Kong. He always had a strong engineering bent and studied mechanical engineering at Imperial College and South Bank University.
Julian put his engineering skill to good use and became a widely travelled project manager working for important firms all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and France, building up a reputation from the 1980s as a manager of large and complex operations. His ventures took him into such fields as aeronautics, railways, pharmaceuticals and the London Underground extension. He was firmly of the view that many large projects were not well conceived at the top or adequately implemented at the bottom – hence projects were often doomed through inadequate coordination.
He was a true friend and helper to many people who found him a valuable colleague and steadfast friend. He will be missed by many.
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