McAllen native celebrates 100th birthday in the sky

Local News
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Dick Smith celebrating his birthday. 

One man is proving that age is just a number when it comes to pursuing your dream. Dick Smith, a McAllen native, blew out candles for the 100th time on Monday.

“I made it, I made it to 100,” said Dick Smith, who holds the record as the World’s Oldest Pilot.

Smith has been flying for 87 years. He served in the Navy, the U.S. Air Force and has received countless awards throughout his career.

In 1932, Smith wrote a detailed book on being an Aviator called Skyward HO. He graduated high school three years later.

But for his 100th birthday, all he wanted was to take flight one last time and that’s exactly what he did.

Dick Smith woke up bright and early, thanked the Lord for another day on Earth and drove to the McCreery Aviation Company in McAllen to fly.

“Oh man, it was just like going home. I’ve been in the air so long, so many times, so many hours,” said Smith about his final take off.

Since 1935, he’s flown planes so many times he’s lost count, he even crashed three times but that never stopped him.

“It’s always fun. It was fun then and it’s fun now,” said Smith.

Smith’s family came from all over the state to see their dad fly one last time.

“It was great. It was excellent, unbelievably great,” said Roderick Smith, his eldest son, “Oh, I’m very proud. Every day he comes up with a new idea, something else he wants to do. That’s kind of the theme of his life, he’s always got something to do all the time.”

Smith says that’s the only way to live.

“Life has always been fun to me. I don’t gripe about much of nothing because it’s all good,” said Smith as he sang along to the Mariachis his community center brought him for his birthday party.

As he closes this chapter of his life, Smith says instead of flying planes, he’ll spend his days watching them take off.

“I’m just grateful, I made it this far. I thank the Lord for that,” said Smith, “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be spending this than the Rio Grande Valley.”

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