An inspirational pensioner from Bury St Edmunds is ‘over the moon’ after qualifying as a pilot – at the age of 76.
David Calver passed his final flying test last month, quite a feat considering he is ‘one of the most mature students’ his Skyward Flight Training instructor has ever taught.
“I would encourage anybody to do it,” said the grandfather-of-five, who completed nine exams, two flying tests and a communication exam.
“I don’t think I’m anybody exceptional. You’ve just got to want to do it and, if you want to do it, you can do it.”
David decided to give flying a go after reading a feature on Bury Free Press reporter Laura Smith’s first flight experience with Skyward, at Rougham Airfield, in September 2014.
He said: “I had a bad back and really couldn’t play golf, or squash which was my main sport (I loved playing squash), so I had to find myself something to do and seeing your article fascinated me.
“I just started off going up in a test flight, like you did, and things developed, and here we are today.”
“My grandsons are calling me Captain Calver. Otherwise they call me Biggles, but I’m old enough to take it,” he joked.
David joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 16 and served 22 years as an electronics engineer. When he left in 1979, he worked for Willhire, in Bury, before setting up a haulage company with his brother in law, moving containers out of Felixstowe.
“I suppose if you’re in the Air Force it’s got to be in your blood to want to fly,” said the new pilot, who was ‘over the moon’ last week when he took to the skies for the first time since qualifying.
“Even though I landed the aircraft, it’s taken me a long time to come down to earth,” he added.
Skyward instructor Christopher Shepherd-Rose said: “I am always trying to get over to those individuals who think people flying are just the rich who have nothing better to do and this proves it’s more to do with personal achievement.”
To find out more about the flight school, visit www.sky wardflighttraining.co.uk or call 07763 148640.