Goodbye Klavs Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Update ID

We are truly brokenhearted to announce that Adam "Klavs" Burch, a true giant of the Wing Commander community, has passed away unexpectedly. He was a dear friend to many and always a positive voice, a kind person always eager to help. His creative work was unbelievable. The artwork he created and the people he inspired and supported over the years will carry his legacy forever, cold comfort though that may be. He was a great person gone far, far too soon; we are so much poorer for having lost him.

Klavs was a true inspiration; he was someone who honed his incredible talents for artwork and aerospace in the fandom and went on to turn them into an astounding career doing the sorts of things most would only dream of. And despite the fact that he went on to design real airplanes and spaceships and imagine better tomorrows for everyone he stayed dedicated to the Wing Commander community, always giving endlessly to make it a better place. He was the best of us: a man who looked for opportunities to contribute his talent and passion to make anything better. You looked forward to a message or a post from Klavs because it meant something wonderful was due. It meant that he'd been inspired to imagine some brilliant space battle or he had another impeccable 3D model to share with other artists or he'd seen something you were working on and knew a way to add something.

It would be impossible to properly catalog Klavs' contributions to the Wing Commander community. Stop reading this right now and type "Klavs" into the search bar on the right: 384 news updates about his work going back two decades. More than one full year of Wing Commander news is just Klavs! Countless 3D modelers will use his ships as long as the community exists; lore maestros will study his work on the map and his visualization of the Hakaga attack and endless other things; we all will forever look to his compositions to further spark our own passions. And, we hope, everyone will take a great lesson from his maturity, his passion and his willingness to contribute.

Klavs' brother has posted a memorial thread on Facebook. His family asks that donations be sent to the Challenger Center, which seeks to inspire kids to pursue science education and be involved with spaceflight. In the coming days, we'll do the best we can to further memorialize him by sharing again some of what he created and gave to our community. But for now, I hope it is not too corny to eulogize him in exactly the way I would want done for myself:

We are gathered here to pay tribute to one of our own, Colonel Burch.
As we all know, the campaign for the Vega Sector has been long and hard.
No one fought harder to hold back the advancing Kilrathi horde than Klavs.
Now he has made the ultimate sacrifice for the Confederation.
Company...
Atten-SHUN!
Prepare arms!
We'll lift one for you at the Vacuum Breathers Club, laddie.

A Few Words Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Update ID

All of us at the CIC are in shock at the news of Klavs' passing. We all get caught up in the frenzy of our hectic lives, but moments like this really make you realize you don't know how lucky you are to have everyone in your life until it's too late. I had the honor of meeting Adam Burch in person once about ten years ago. He flew into town on behalf of the kit-built aircraft manufacturer that he worked for at the time. I couldn't believe how knowledgeable he was about all aspects of the plane, plus the marketing and business sides, and then he could even fly it! I work in aerospace myself, so I know how complicated this all was, and his expertise was astounding. He was also exceedingly generous and kept mentioning how he'd like to return some day so he could take me up on a flight. If you didn't know, he didn't just design Wing Commander ships - he was also a spacecraft artist/designer at Lockheed Martin and Blue Origin. We had a real space ship builder in our midst.

Klavs inspired a whole generation of aspiring Wingnut artists, and there are whole projects built around his models. It feels like he started over and remade the Rapier II fighter half a dozen times, and I just assumed he would be here to remake it again half a dozen more. I could talk all day about his 3D prints that I have on my shelf, his amazing custom Wing Commander shower curtain, how many times his ships wound up as the winner of the Wing Commander fan project of the year or the time he paid Malcolm McDowell to wish us a happy birthday. He was just that ingrained in the fabric of things here, but he meant even more to his family. It feels right to remember him in the context that we knew him, but on another level, I also cannot comprehend what a tremendous loss it is to the people who knew him personally. I am absolutely heartbroken for his family and young children. Any comments attached to these posts will be shared with them, so feel free to add your own thoughts as well. Take care out there.

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