IFALPA's Hall of Fame

"OMEGA" - Captain Zdizislaw Ludwig (Louis) Zeyfert. 

Louis was born in Paris of Polish parents. His father flew as a pilot during World War I, and was Polish Air Attache in Paris at the time of Louis' birth. An international education taught Louis to speak the English, French and Spanish languages in addition to the Polish language. He also understood Russian and Dutch.

In 1927 Louis had his first flight sitting on the knees of his father in a Breguet 15 airplane. After pilot training in the Polish Air Force in France in WW2 Louis flew in the UK's RAF Costal Command as Flight Lieutenant with his father as navigator in the crew – a unique crew arrangement. Louis was decorated by the RAF, French and Polish Air Forces.

After leaving the RAF in 1948 Louis flew in British general aviation, became a British citizen and in 1949 married Sheila a Scottish lady. From 1951 to when he lost license on medical grounds in 1977, Louis flew for KLM accumulating 17,000 flying hours.

He had a distinguish career in the Dutch Pilots Association as Council Chairman, Vice President and President and was made a Member of Merit in 1967. in 1977 he was created Knight of Orange Nassau, dying in 1979 after a long illness bravely borne.

Louis' representational work for IFALPA achieved good results in All Weather Operations, Unification of Units of Measurement and Airworthiness. He represented IFALPA on many occasions including the ICAO 8th Air Navigation Conference. He had a rare ability to work in any field and was superb communicator in all of them.

At IFALPA conferences Louis could relied upon to take the heat out of debate by use of humor, and he and Lawrie Arthur together gave a new style and importance to the Conferences' Credentials Committee – a task they shared for many years. This remarkable Polish-born British subject who flew for KLM was the ultimate international airman, loved by all who met him for his humor, gallantry, intellect and wisdom.

Many stories are told of Louis – when representing IFALPA at an ICAO Conference he used ALL the official languages of that organization in a single speech throwing the official interpreters into confusion. On another occasion he amused all when he protested about the use of the term "frangible poles" for approach lighting system stating that the correct term was "frangible posts".

When flying in Europe's congested airspace he prefaced a request for start clearance with polite "Good Morning" to ATC. On being told that there was a two hours delay he equally politely stated "I wish to withdraw my Good Morning". Louis' lasting monument lies in the Alpha-Omega Club he and Lawrie Arthur formed and in the hearts of all who met him – for he was a truly unforgettable companion and friend.

by Laurie Taylor

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