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Thursday, 14 December, 2000, 19:44 GMT
War veteran reaches for the skies
Autogyro pilot Ken Wallis
The sky's the limit for 84-year-old Ken
A former World War II RAF bomber pilot has regained his licence to fly at the age of 84.

Wing Commander Ken Wallis, who had become one of the world's most accomplished autogyro pilots, was grounded seven years ago after failing a medical.

But now a change in the rules governing autogyros has allowed Wing Cmdr Wallis, of Reymerston, Norfolk, to take to the UK skies again.


I still feel perfectly fit and quite capable of flying. I don't anticipate any problems

Wing Cmdr Wallis

The Civil Aviation Authority has changed the way it classifies autogyros and now groups them with microlights rather than viewing them as fixed-wing aircraft.

The change, made earlier this year, meant a relaxation in the medical requirements to grant a licence.

And Wing Cmdr Wallis had his licence re-issued after a new medical.

"They sent me a letter saying they were sorry for interrupting my flying career.

"Actually they hadn't, because when I lost my licence in Britain I got an American licence - the requirements weren't quite so strict there - and have flown over there.

"But I'm delighted to have my British licence back and am looking forward to be flying again officially in Britain."

He added: "I still feel perfectly fit and quite capable of flying. I don't anticipate any problems."

Wing Cmdr Wallis, who first gained his pilot's licence in 1937, took part in 36 operations over enemy territory in the Second World War.

He was twice rejected by the RAF before the war because of an eye problem but joined the service at his third attempt.

Wing Cmdr Wallis went on to become one of the world's most accomplished autogyro pilots in the 1970's.

He not only set a string of world records but also featured in the James Bond film "You Only Live Twice" piloting one of his autogyros.

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