The world's oldest fighter pilot retires at 66

The world's oldest active fighter pilot, a grandfather of four, has retired and taken his last flight at the age of 6...

Posted: Jul. 20, 2018 8:59 AM
Updated: Jul. 20, 2018 8:59 AM

The world's oldest active fighter pilot, a grandfather of four, has retired and taken his last flight at the age of 66.

Squadron Leader Phillip Frawley of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has served for more than 49 years -- over half of the RAAF's 97-year lifespan. He took his final flight last month and has officially stepped down, according to an RAAF statement released Thursday.

"It's been a special day but all things come to an end -- that's what's happened to me today," Frawley said in the statement. "It has been wonderful, absolutely wonderful."

He has been the oldest active fighter pilot for years now since surpassing the last record holder, a 60-year-old Israeli F-16 pilot, according to The Drive.

His retirement marks the end of a long and colorful career, which has racked up more than 10,000 hours of flying, 6,000 of those flying fighters.

Frawley first began as an RAAF apprentice in 1969 and worked his way up to become a fighter pilot, instructor, and commanding officer. He even spent five years serving in Saudi Arabia.

He first flew the Hercules transport aircraft, before successfully applying to train on fighters. Afterward, he flew a range of fighter jets, including Mirages, Macchis, and F/A-18 Hornets.

Frawley watched the RAAF change over the years, from evolving tactics to adopting "that digital stuff" in recent decades.

However, most meaningful was his time as an instructor, Frawley said. He has helped train almost 500 Air Combat Group pilots throughout his service, and he says it was "probably my best achievement."

He took his final flight on June 29 in a 76 Squadron Hawk 127 Lead-in-fighter, with his squadron and family members present.

However, just because he's taken his last flight, doesn't mean he's done with his active lifestyle. Frawley also spends his time instructing civilians, performing flight demonstrations, and taking passengers on jet fighter flights.

When he's not in a jet, he enjoys surfing on the beaches of New South Wales, and writes blog posts about his prank-pulling time in the RAAF.

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