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Britian's oldest stunt pilot decides to stop performing
HE has thrilled huge crowds for decades – but age has finally caught up with Britain’s oldest stunt pilot.
Grandad Doug Gregory, 90, has vowed to stop performing aerobatic tricks at shows across the south and plans to sell the replica First World War plane he built himself.
Doug, of Blackfield, said he was finding the homemade aircraft too hard to operate.
He added: “I’ll miss it terribly and it’s very sad to see it go. But it’s difficult to get in and out of and very hard to start.”
The former fighter pilot built the 1917-style bi-plane between 1983 and 1987 at a cost of £5,000.
“It was a brilliant plane for doing stunts and lovely at aerobatics,” he said.
“When you get up there, turning upside down and everything, it’s no trouble at all.”
The Southampton-born pilot took to the skies during the Second World War and survived more than 60 combat missions.
He said: “I wasn’t shot down but I was shot at. Luckily they missed – most of the time.”
Doug later became a celebrated member of the Great War Display Team.
But despite giving up risky stunts the retired teacher has vowed to continue flying until the day he dies.
“I still enjoy it as much as I did when I was younger,” he said. “When you’re up there you’re in charge of everything. It’s great.”
In 2010 Doug and some of his fellow pilots took part in a dogfight over the New Forest to celebrate the centenary of the former Royal Flying Corps airfield at East Boldre.
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