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Arnold Palmer Leaves the Cockpit for Good

Arnold Palmer

February 3, 2011 — Golfing legend and EAA member Arnold Palmer, 81, made his final flight as pilot in command of his Citation 10 on a January 31 flight from Palm Springs, California, to Orlando, Florida. “I'll still be flying in my plane as much as always, just not in the cockpit,” he told Golf Digest. Palmer, EAA 999769, began flight training in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1950s and progressed to jet aircraft in 1966.

He leaves the left seat with nearly 20,000 flight hours logged in aircraft including a Boeing 747. He’s also an aviation world record holder: In 1976, Palmer flew a Lear 36 around the world in 57 hours, 25 minutes, and 42 seconds – a record that still stands.

Palmer’s last visit to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh was two years ago when he was a guest at the Gathering of Eagles event. "Flying has been one of the great things in my life,” he said. “It's taken me to the far corners of the world. I met thousands of people I otherwise wouldn't have met. And I even got to play a little golf along the way.”

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