Jonas Blanton

We lost a pilot yesterday. Jonas Blanton, 86 and the world’s oldest active hang glider pilot, died January 4.

Jonas has been coming down from Michigan to fly with us for the past several years. I always enjoyed my time with him and the stories of his life. He told us of his family and his adventures. “I’ve always had the flare for the spectacular,” he said.

Jonas had been flying in various forms of aviation since 1944. 2009 was his 65th year of being a pilot in command of his craft. He was airborne in WWII, a pilot, flew flat kites while waterskiing, and flew hang gliders. Jonas held the record with the Guiness Book of World Records as the oldest active hang glider pilot. It was something he was very proud of. Bill Moyes taught him to launch a hang glider from behind his boat in his front yard. Living on a lake in Michigan, Jonas was active in flat kite flying. He and friends from Canada did shows and he was always designing new stunts.

A friend recently told Jonas that he needed to get himself a rocking chair. He said he was going to get that rocking chair, put it on skis and fly it with a flat kite. A flare for the spectacular indeed.

He spoke of how proud he was of his children, grand children and great grand children. They all had done well for themselves and were living around the country. He spoke of how he liked to visit with them. He also spoke of his wife, Elsa, the house they lived in, and their long, loving marriage.

It was an inspiration to meet a man that was living life to the utmost with a smile on his face and such a light in his eyes. Thank you Jonas for sharing your life with us, you are missed.

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Left to right: Jonas getting ready for his flight, Jonas in the air

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