Francesco Volpi, a decorated Italian Air Force pilot who earned his military pilot certificate at age 21 and went on to count more than 80 years of active flying, died November 19 at age 105.
Volpi was believed to be one of the oldest active pilots in the world, the Italian news site Corriere Della Sera reported.
After the war he served in various legal roles, directed a flight school, and taught mountain flying. The aviator was also credited with helping design and construct Gianni Caproni Airport in northern Italy, near the city of Mattarello. The Caproni aircraft company was an active European general and military aircraft manufacturer during aviation’s golden years.
When Volpi renewed his airman certificate in 2014 to celebrate his century mark, he chose to fly a Caproni Ca.100 replica similar to the aircraft that earned him his wings in 1935.
“Com. Francesco Volpi was a driving force in the history of Italian aviation, and aviation around the globe,” former AOPA Italy Vice President Massimo Levi wrote. “He will be sorely missed. Clear skies and tailwinds my friend.”