The Baltimore Sun

COLE KUGEL, 105 Oldest licensed pilot in U.S.

Cole Kugel, the oldest licensed pilot in the U.S., died Monday in Denver of natural causes, according to Ahlberg Funeral Chapel.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Mr. Kugel was the oldest licensed American pilot. Though his license never expired, his health certificate, which is required to fly a plane, lapsed in 2001, FAA spokesman Paul Turk said.

But Mr. Kugel did take the controls of a small plane less than two months ago, said Lynn Ferguson, a pilot friend and the grandson of one of Mr. Kugel's early flying buddies.

Mr. Ferguson took him up in the 1976 Cessna Skylane 182 he had bought from Mr. Kugel in 2001, and the senior pilot flew the plane for a while.

Mr. Kugel was born March 14, 1902, near Lamont in what was then Oklahoma Territory. He began flying in 1929 but had to put the passion on hold during the Depression.

When he and his wife moved to Longmont, Colo., in 1943, he was back in the sky.

Two days before he turned 103, Mr. Kugel received the Federal Aviation Administration's Golden Wings Award for aviation pioneers.

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