Monday, January 5, 2009

Jonas Blanton, 86, Passes

Jonas Blanton came to Lookout to continue his Guinness Book World Record of being the oldest hang glider pilot at age 86. I went up to the shop to pay my rent check yesterday and noticed him there talking to Jen. He had on a jacket that had a Guiness World Record emblem on the front is how I recognized him. Later that day he took a tandem, even though he didn't have to since he is a rated pilot, and then took a solo flight in the towing trainer Falcon, that has a fin and big wheels on it too. He crashed into the pine tree in the parking lot on his approach. The conditions in the lz were as good as I've seen them in a while, quite calm and consistent. He apparently was on a normal approach and from a long way out veered towards the tree and never turned away. I wasn't witness to any of these events, but watched from a distance as there was a crowd and flashing lights in the parking lot with people trading off doing chest compressions on him under the wing of the crooked hang glider. Tough day for everyone here, especially for those who knew him. My condolences to his family, he must have been an incredible person to have been hang gliding at his age.


Jen said...

Thanks for the post Lucas. Jonas was a great man. 2009 was his 65th straight year of being the pilot in command of an aircraft. He started as airborn in WWII. I always enjoyed his stories.

Anonymous said...

I had known Jonas for almost ten
years. I met him because of his dedcation to his son Paul. I was
always in awe of his spirit, his
vitality and his belief in God.
Jonas was a great man and the world
is a lesser place now that he has passed. May the wings of the angels take you directly to the throne of God, where He will greet you as the son you are. Barry Smith, Guitar Center, Kalamazoo, MI

Anonymous said...

I met Jonas about 20yrs.ago, his son Paul&I were friends,I called him Rembrant as that summer he was painting the house.He will be missed greatly, not just by his family but by anyone, lucky enough to have known him!!!!He had away of making you feel as you've known him all your life,he was a great story teller too.He had a love of life that made him stand out in a crowd.Rembrant you will be missed, but at least you went Fast & doing something you loved.I think all of us hope for this when are time comes, you will truely be missed I bet your hangliding in HEAVEN!!!!!! UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, SHELLY GRAF

Lucas said...

Thanks for everyone's comments. By the sound of it, he was a pretty incredible person who was also much loved by friends and family.