Tom began training to be a pilot at the mere age of 80, one week after his wife Isabel passed away. During Isabel’s successful career in the RAF, she had joked that he would never be able to fly a plane which inspired him later in life to ‘make her proud’ with his aerobatic stunts. Tom worked until he was 79 as the owner of a successful building company that had been previously established by his father. It traded for over 100 years until Tom retired in 2000 and he began pursuit of a pilot’s license. Tom completed the majority of his CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) pilot training however due to his age, he was not allowed to fly single-handedly, especially when performing dramatic aerial manoeuvres. As Tom is an independent person thanks to his TGA mobility scooter, he prefers not to need help so wing walking appealed as a solo, daredevil sport. In fourteen years, Tom has achieved nine world records, wing walked 30 times and experienced every aerobatic stunt possible either stood on the wing or at the pilot’s controls.
Tom explained: “It still makes me smile when I remember my wife joking that I would never be capable of piloting a plane or performing stunts in the air. Whenever I fly I carry a photograph of Isabel and will be doing the same when I tackle my latest challenge in March. Wing walking is pretty grueling in terms of the wind buffeting you experience when travelling so high up at speeds of around 80mph. Just think about sticking your head out of a car window at that speed and you’ll start to understand what it feels like. Saying that, I absolutely love the ‘freeing sensation’ and I am really privileged to be able to achieve these feats whilst raising money for charities such as Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation.”
Tom continued: “When I am on terra firma, I have to thank my TGA ‘Superlight’
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