When a 100 year old War Veteran comes to fly

27 August 2020

Written by: Will Hanbury-Tenison, Instructor

When someone like Don, who turned 100 on 14th August 2020, rocks up to fly with us there is always a buzz of excitement in the air at iFLY. 

Whether it’s about their age, their history or the fact that they are still willing and able to do what so many younger people may consider to be out of their comfort zone, it always is inspiring to see what people can do.

When Don arrived at Milton Keynes, it was immediately obvious that he was going to have no issues with flying and was more than up for the challenge!  After the obligatory interviews and filming for all of the companies that wanted to see this inspirational man fly it was time to get ready to go! 

As with all customers who may require additional help, I had an extra instructor ready and waiting in the tunnel, but as soon as Don entered the tunnel it was clear that the earlier assumption had been correct and he would fly as well, if not better than people 50 years his junior! We even managed to do a High-Flight with Don (where an Instructor takes off with the flyer for an exhilarating 2-way flight high up into the flight chamber). This was especially exciting for me, as I am led to believe that he is the first 100 year old to have done one, which is a proud achievement for us both.

Having so many members of Don's family flying with him as well was brilliant, it’s so nice to be able to help them get into the wind and fly, but more importantly to show them that they have no reason not to continue being active, and hopefully carry on flying for many more years! 

Being involved (even in a small way) with helping Don raise over £4000 for the Royal British Legion Industries was an absolute pleasure, and hopefully, we will be able to welcome him back again very soon!

Will Hanbury-Tenison.

Note from iFLY: If you'd like to help Don with his fundraising, you can chip in here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Selina-Keiller1