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Wed, Feb 12, 2003

R.I.P. Ralph Charles

Oldest Active Pilot, Flew at Age 100

Ralph Charles, a 103-year-old pilot from Somerset, Ohio, who in the 1920s built airplanes for the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company, died on February 2.

Born on November 6, 1899, he started flying in the 1920s but took a 50-year hiatus after working as a test pilot during World War II. In the late 1990s Charles bought a 1942 Aeronca Defender and was actively flying on his 100th birthday; he was considered the oldest active pilot in the United States at the time.

He was featured in the March 2000 AOPA Flight Training magazine.


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