George Neal, a long-time de Havilland Aircraft of Canada test pilot, has set a new aviation record, qualifying as the oldest active, licensed pilot on Earth. Neal is entering the Guinness Book of World Records for remaining a pilot at 96 years and 194 days as of his qualifying flight on June 2 this year. Neal has held a Canadian pilot certificate since 1936, amassing more than 15,000 hours on 150 aircraft types.
Many of those hours came while he was a test pilot for de Havilland Canada. Joining the company in 1947, he was pilot-in-command for the first flights of the DHC-3 Otter, CS2F Tracker and DHC-4 Caribou, and he served as part of the flight-test teams for the DHC–1 Chipmunk, DHC-2 Beaver, DHC-6 Twin Otter, DHC-5 Buffalo, Dash 7 and Dash 8.
Tom Appleton, chairman of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame and former de Havilland Canada/Bombardier executive, submitted the Guinness record application. “George’s experience is unparalleled in the world of aviation,’’ Appleton said. “He is as tireless as he is professional, and we are proud of his airborne exploits, which seem to go on indefinitely.”