Ed Long

John Edward Long, Jr. was born on 10 November 1915 in Montgomery, Alabama, in the USA. He started flying at the age of 17 and flew solo in a Taylor E-2 Cub, after only one hour and forty minutes' instruction. He gained flying experience by working for a flying school. Instead of earning a salary, he was remunerated by being allowed to fly 30 minutes per week. During World War II, he served as an aircraft mechanic and later as a crew chief on a B-24 Liberator bomber. When the war ended in 1945, he returned to civilian life and worked as a flight instructor, as well as a charter and corporate pilot. That said, he spent most of his flying time in a Piper Cub flying under 200 ft, inspecting power lines. In 1989, he broke the world record for the most flying hours accumulated, which was 52 929 hours at the time. It was never Long's goal to break or set records in aviation. He simply loved flying. Even as an octogenarian, Long was active in the local flying club and was employed by an Alabama-based charter company, flying more than 100 hours per month. A few months before Long's death, his employer told CNN, "He does not drink whisky and he does not smoke cigarettes. He does not do anything, but fly. He is obsessed." When Ed Long died at the age of 83 in July 1999, he had accumulated more than 65 000 hours of flying experience, a record which still stands.