Cecil (Sinnie) Sinclair, 97; Pilot for Most of His Life

Cecil (Sinnie) Sinclair, who made his first solo flight in 1915 after less than 3 hours instruction and made his final flight last year after his 97th birthday, is dead.

Sinclair, who held pilot’s license No. 624 and signed by Orville Wright, died April 5 in a Grand Haven, Mich., nursing home. He would have been 98 on April 8.

A flight instructor and charter pilot most of his life, Sinclair each year would celebrate his birthday by going aloft for an honorary flight check.

He had not been allowed to solo, however, since his 90th birthday--the first time he had been unable to pass the stringent physical examination.


He was a charter member of the Early Birds, a group of 596 fliers who organized in 1928 and who had all flown solo before Dec. 17, 1916. His death reduces their number to 18.

Sinclair taught flying in the Army Signal Corps during World War I and served as an inspection chief for the B-24 bombers built in Michigan in World War II.

Sinclair, survived by his wife Florence, a son, daughter, two grandsons and six great-grandchildren, was the subject of a book, “All God’s Children Have Wings.”