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Pilot readies for flight on 100th birthday

Gene Engeldow thinks he knows the secret to a long life.

September 26, 2013|by Sara Forhetz, KY3 News | sforhetz@ky3.com

BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Gene Engledow is one of the good people of Bolivar, a town which seems to have a lot of them.

"I'm pretty well known around there now,” Engledow said recently.

Well known is an understatement.  Engledow has his own "day" coming up.  It’s Oct. 7, Engledow’s birthday.

"Stay busy.  I think stay busy is the main secret to life,” said.

Engledow will turn 100 years old.  Perhaps more impressive than that is Engledow has almost as many years licensed for flight.  He prefers a view from above.

"Seventy-seven years;  I've had a license and an airplane all that time.”

He's one of the oldest and longest tenured pilots, with a clean record to go with it.

"These here -- there are hardly any of these issued by the FAA," he said, showing his license.

His certificate says Master Pilot and Master Mechanic.

"Fifty years of flying with no violations, no accidents; that's why I don't want to fly much now, I might mess it up!"

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Really, however, he's fearless.  Engledow will take flight on his 100th birthday.

How do you even make it to 100?  You're looking at it:  Grace, in name and in character.

"I had a good wife, she steered me straight."

Grace passed away four years ago from complications of Alzheimer's disease at age 91.

"Do unto others as you want them to do unto you."

Engledow has always done that.  Plus, he has a lot of hobbies.

We caught up with him at a steam engine show.

"Be interested in something you are working on all the time; don't just sit around,” Engledow said.  “I've seen too many people say, ‘Well, when I get off this job, ain't nobody going to tell me to do nothing.  I'm going to sit down and rest.’  Well, they sit down and die within a year.  Keep busy!"

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