George Neal Named World’s Oldest Active Pilot


Cresting a sparkling aviating career, George Neal is now the oldest active pilot in the world at age 96, as entered in the Guinness Book of World Records. Neal, a longtime test pilot, flew his Chipmunk from Brampton Airport to Toronto Pearson International on June 2 to set the record. Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, which inducted Neal in 1995, submitted the record application. “George’s experience is unparalleled in the world of aviation, I believe, holding a Canadian Pilot’s License from 1936 until now,” said Tom Appleton, chairman of the Hall of Fame. “He is as tireless as he is professional, and we are proud of his airborne exploits, which seem to go on indefinitely.”

Neal, who has logged more than 15,000 hours in 150 types of aircraft, joined de Havilland in 1947 as a test pilot and in 1948 was one of the first Canadians to be jet qualified on the Royal Canadian Air Force’s de Havilland Vampire, according to the Hall of Fame. He retired in 1983 as director of flight operations of de Havilland Canada and was chief pilot for the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa until 1991. “Flying has been a part of me for most of my life, and I believe it has kept me able to do what I like best,” he said. “And I plan to continue to fly my Chipmunk for a long time yet.”