Pop Gun! Meet the O-A-pilot still flying planes at 90 years of age
This gutsy pensioner is still flying high at the grand old age of 90 and is now one of the world’s oldest pilots.
Paddy Elliot recently celebrated his landmark birthday – and is still taking to the air, having only taken up flying when he retired at the age of 64.
He said: “I’ve had an interest in aeroplanes ever since I was a little kid but it wasn’t until I retired that my flying career started in earnest.
“I needed something to do in my retirement and just found my calling – I’ve loved planes all my life and always will.”
Paddy’s interest in aircraft took off when he served as an apprentice at The Austin Motor Company in Longbridge producing aeroplane components and assemblies for the war effort.
After the war, he was called up to the RAF and served as a national serviceman until returning go Austin and worked as a supervisor covering engine production.
After 50 years he retired from Rover cars and finally got the chance to live the dream, gaining a private pilot’s licence in 1988.
“I spend every second I can spare up in the skies. It’s a truly unique feeling to be up there looking down on the world.
“It’s given me perspective but more importantly it’s kept me young. I may be 90 but it certainly doesn’t feel like that.”
Paddy, who lives with his wife 85-year-old Ruby in Shirley, Birmingham, joined South Warwickshire Flying School at Wellesbourne Aerodrome in 1989 and has never looked back.
He still flies at least three times a week and works the operations desk on a full time basis, a remarkable feat for a man of 90.
He is an active pilot and flies to European destinations regularly – only last Friday he flew across the channel to France for his lunch and returned for his dinner at home in Shirley that same evening.
Paddy was delighted to have passed his medical with flying colours. He said: “I have to pass the same medical as everyone else – ECGs and all the tests.
“It’s exactly the same medical as for someone who is 25 so I was chuffed to bits to get the all clear – it gives me at least two more years in the air.”
Jonathan Summons, 48, has worked as a flight information officer at the flying school for thirty years and known Paddy for 25. He said: “90, that’s quite something to be a pilot.
“There can’t be many pilots older than Paddy in the world, if any. He’s just celebrating his 90th birthday and he’s an amazing guy.
“I’ve known him for about 25 years, he got his licence flying here and he’s a really decent chap.”
When not flying, Paddy looks after his housebound wife Ruby, 85, at their home in Shirley, West Mids.
Rodney Galiffe, the 54-year-old principal of the flying school, said: “I’ve known Paddy ever since he came here to fly.
“He got his license in 1989 and here he is celebrating his 90th year.
“25 years of flying: it really is a great achievement, particularly for a man of his age.
“Hopefully he’ll carry on for quite a few years to come because he’s still young at heart.
“He doesn’t show any signs of ageing. He’s as bright as a button.”