104-year-old captain flies again and is surprised by ‘autopilot’

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At 104 years old, Ronald David Scott, a pilot recognized in Argentina for having been a volunteer in World War II, returned to the skies, this time aboard a Learjet 45XR private jet. piloted by Carlos Selles, the last veteran pilot of the Falklands War and who is still active. The fantastic story behind this journey was told in detail by the Argentine newspaper La Nación.

Despite his name, Scott is Argentinian and one of the last ex-combatants of the Second World War still alive. As his interview with La Nación shows, his memory and reasoning remain lucid, allowing him to transport lucky listeners into the scene through vivid, detailed stories. Not by chance, he demonstrates a huge passion for aviation.

At the time of the War, Scott served as a volunteer for the British Navy, serving in support missions, protecting the B1 Bombers. After the war, he returned to Argentina, where he began flying commercial airlines, especially the state-owned Aerolíneas Argentinas, where he remained for decades, until retiring in 1978, when he turned 60 (the legal limit to command passenger aircraft in the neighbouring country).

Scott lived a peaceful life, always close to aviation-related topics, being an honorary member of the Argentine Association of Fighter Pilots. Ex-combatants get together from time to time to see each other, tell stories of the past and present of aviation, especially the military. At one such event, Scott met with Carlos Selles, a veteran pilot of Mirage at the time of the Falklands War and currently commander of Learjet.

Then came the historic opportunity for both to fly together aboard the executive jet piloted by Selles. The irrefutable invitation had already been made before the pandemic, but had to be postponed multiple times by Covid-19. Anyway, last month, there they were both on the same plane.

According to the Argentine report, Scott hadn’t flown for many years and one of the points that most surprised the centenarian pilot was knowing that, nowadays, the autopilot controls the plane most of the time. He joked about the situation by asking who would be driving, as both drivers had their hands free. Certainly, in its time of flight, this could even seem like a utopia.

Finally, the smiles on everyone’s faces, immortalized by the photographs shared by Selles, show the pleasure involved in that trip. Now, Commander Scott will surely have a new story to tell among the many in his vast repertoire.

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