Aviation Icon John Miller Dies


A lifelong pilot who was inspired by a young Glenn Curtiss, watched Lindbergh take off from Long Island and held a current instrument rating until he was at least 96 years old, died peacefully in a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., hospital on Sunday. John Miller was 102. As he told AVweb in a 2002 interview, he saw his first airplane when Curtiss landed in a nearby field on his way to claiming a $10,000 prize for flying from Albany to New York City. Miller was smitten from the age of four and taught himself to fly in a barnstormer’s discarded ride plane when he was 18. He liked to say his flying career covered “Jennys to jets” and there was a lot of ground in between.

While he flew everything from mail airplanes to commercial airliners and was a military test pilot, Miller was perhaps best-known for his work with autogyros. In later years, he flew himself around the country in his beloved Bonanza and when we talked to him at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh in 2002 he was getting ready to fly home. Flying was never far from his mind, even in his last days. Two days before he died of natural causes, he told his grandson Robin Moore, “I guess my flying days are over.” He donated his body to science and there will be no public funeral, at his request.

Related Content:
Miller’s interview with EAA’s Timeless Voices of Aviation