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Bend pilot, about to turn 102, shares his secret to a long life

'A positive attitude will get you a long way'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Usually, when you hit a certain age, you start to slow down, but one Bend man is not letting his age stop him from having more adventures of a lifetime.

"Its been a rewarding life that I have lived," said Art Vinall said Thursday.

Rewarding is a modest adjective to describe all that 101-year-old (soon 102) Art Vinall has done, and continues to do throughout his life.

Born on Sept. 16, 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic, Vinall is just days away from celebrating another year of life.

He moved to Bend almost a decade ago, after a long career of working for Trans World Airlines and Ozark Airlines, managing travel bureaus, and it was his love for travel that prompted him to get his pilot's license.

"And boy, did I jump at the chance -- I soloed in five hours," Vinall said. "I've gotten several hundred hours of flight time."

Vinall got his license to fly in 1940, through a civilian pilot training program. He was one of the first people to be issued a private pilot's license.

He's still flying today.

Vinall lives in southeast Bend with his daughter and son-in-law, who gifted him a "fly with a glider" experience at the Bend Airport last year. He flew up to 5,000 feet with a pilot.

"Before we left the ground, I told the pilot I had a pilot's license," Vinall explained. "So when we got to 5,000 feet and unhooked from the tow plane, he says, 'Hey, you want to fly?' I couldn't have been happier!"

Next week, Vinall will be flying again with a pilot at the Bend Airport.

"I love it," he said. "That's an experience, to be up there with no motor. I'm not afraid of anything any more."

Vinall was married for 62 years and lost his wife nearly a decade ago, but he keeps busy gardening, woodcarving and painting. It's all proudly and beautifully displayed around his home.

As Art gears up for another year of life, he says he remains active with daily exercise, and he gave his secret to long and fruitful life.

"A positive attitude will get you a long way. If you think tomorrow will be better, it probably will be," Vinall said with a chuckle. "I believe that -- still I do. If you think tomorrow will be worse, that you're going to die, then you probably will."

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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