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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Cecil R. "Sinnie" Sinclair
Cecil Raymond "Sinnie" Sinclair was born on April 8, 1888 in Chandlersville, Illinois. A gifted pilot, he dedicated his career to the advancement of aviation, both as a pilot and businessman.
Sinnie began his aviation career in 1915 and was soloing later that same year. Sinnie flew exhibitions until he joined the U.S. Signal Corp. as a civilian flight instructor in 1916 teaching Army pilots. In 1925 Sinnie became Assistant Manager of Ford Airport in Dearborn, Michigan. From there, he flew airmail for Ford, flying the "Stout all-metal airplanes" in 1926. He joined Universal Airlines in 1928 and flew throughout the Midwest. In 1935, Universal Airlines became American Airlines and two years later Sinnie left to create the Sinclair Flying School in Muskegon, Michigan. He remained in Muskegon for over 50 years.
Sinnie spent his years in Muskegon with flight instruction, charter work, aerial photography, aerial ambulance trips and various other aviation projects. Sinnie taught thousands of students to fly, from WW I pilots to young kids. He was a prolific instructor who never had a student that did not succeed. Many of his students went on to have prominent careers in aviation.
Sinnie's flight hours are not known, but it believed that they exceed 30,000 hours. He has received hundreds of awards and citations, and served as the Michigan President of the OX5 Club of America. He organized and was a Colonel in the Muskegon Group of the Civil Air Patrol, and was also bestowed a 1956 honorary life member of the AERO Club of Michigan, a 1962 honorary member of the Grey Eagles- Retired American Airline Pilots, a 1965 honorary member of the Michigan Flying Farmers, a 1965 Magnificent Man Award by Twentieth Century Fox, to "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines," he was also an Honored Guest with Walter Carr, Sr., at the 50th Anniversary of the Air Mail service in 1968. Sinnie was also a member of all major aviation fraternal organizations of his time.
Sinnie Sinclair was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1977 as the oldest living pilot in the world. He passed away on April 5, 1986.
Cecile Raymond "Sinnie" Sinclair was enshrined on October 14, 1995 for his 55 years of dedicated service to Michigan Aviation.