I heard a report on Evelyn Johnson passing away and looked her up and saw that she'd been flying for seven years. Well heck, what's the big deal about that? Then I realized they meant her flight time added up to seven years... as in, logged over 57000 hours of flight time, starting in 1944!
She flew for the civil air patrol, trained 5,000 pilots, signed off on 9000, was a Cessna dealer and airport manager, she was one of the first inductees to the National Flight Instructors Hall of Fame, safely landed two airplanes with total engine failure and one on fire, saved a helicopter pilot... who knows what else. In that many hours and a long life in aviation, there have to be a thousand untold stories.
The NPR interview played a quote from her in 2003 about what it'd be like to turn 100:
"Here's what I'd like: Willard Scott will be telling about me being 100 years old," she said. "But I wouldn't hear him — because I'd be up flying."
amazing. One of her students called her mama bird, because she looked after all her students "like they were baby birds" and the name stuck, and it makes you think of all those airline pilots and hobbyists and everyone else up there in the air with their wings. Enjoying what they love, because she loved it so much.