He was born just two years after the Wright Brothers flew their historic flight.
Miller had an extraordinary life in aviation. He learned to fly by teaching himself in a World War One Jenny and was proficient in Gyroplanes and many other aircraft culminating as a captain for Eastern Airlines flying jets.
Even though he reached the century mark two years ago, Johnny Miller stayed as active as he could. A couple of years ago, when I was interviewing him for a documentary called Gyroplane Refrain, I offered to help him bring his Bonanza out of the hanger, but he said, “No, I’ll do it” and then at nearly one hundred he flew it to two perfect touch and go’s.
I marveled then at his youthful spirit and I wonder what makes some of us old at fifty and some of us young beyond ninety.
Health, I’m sure, has a lot to do with it, and I suspect the inner attributes of a youthful demeanor: enthusiasm, attitude and the joy of adventure are part of it. And perhaps pride in still being able to make perfect landings.
It was Longfellow who once wrote:
“for age is an opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress. And as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is fitted with stars, invisible by day”.
Reportedly Johnny Miller’s last words were: “I guess my flying days are over”. No, Johnny, I think they have just begun. Your spiritual flight has made the Eternal Light much brighter. Requiescat In Pace.