Don enjoys a nostalgic flight

Ian Whitaker-Bethel took up his friends grandfather, Don Sinclair, in a 1942 Boeing Stearman plane. Don is 91 years old and trained in one of these planes in Canada during World War II.

Ian Whitaker-Bethel took up his friends grandfather, Don Sinclair, in a 1942 Boeing Stearman plane. Don is 91 years old and trained in one of these planes in Canada during World War II.

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AN EX-RAF pilot relived his youth on Sunday by flying a plane he trained in during World War Two.

Ninety-one-year-old Don Sinclair, from Bury St Edmunds, spent five years as a pilot in the RAF, serving until 1946.

He logged more than 1,600 hours flying time, with two years spent in Canada, and did his elementary training in Tiger Moths and Stearmans.

On Sunday, his grandson Simon arranged for friend Ian Whitaker-Bethel to take him up in a 1942 Boeing Stearman.

“We were only up there for about 25 minutes but it was really wonderful to fly again at my age,” said Mr Sinclair, who is currently a member of the Aircrew Association and the Private Pilots Association.

“I handled the plane for a short time but I’m not qualified any more because of my age and the fact that I have not flown officially since I left the RAF,” he added.

The flight, which left from Great Ashfield Airfield, was sponsored by Abbey Security Ltd, in Bury, which paid for the fuel.

Mr Whitaker-Bethel said he was amused that flight logs had shown Mr Sinclair had flown a Stearman exactly 70 years before Sunday’s adventure.

Thirty years before he had flown a Chipmunk and 12 years earlier he flew a Cessna.