Life in the Air


Olvasd el és hallgasd meg a történetet a kaszkadőr pilótáról, aki 90 évesen vonult nyugdíjba. 

Britain’s oldest stunt pilot Doug Gregory has given up his acrobatic exploits – aged 90. Old age has succeeded where the Nazis and a brain haemorrhage failed forcing Doug to stop his dangerous manoeuvres.


Despite still taking to the skies once a week, World War II ace Doug, who was never shot down in 67 missions into occupied Germany, including D-Day in 1944, will no longer perform aerobatics. The adrenaline seeking pensioner has put his homemade 1917 replica wartime SE5A jet, which cost him £5,000 to build, on the market and is in the process of selling it to an enthusiast in Scotland.

Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister when Doug first went up in a plane aged three in 1926, while Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby were dominating the charts through Doug’s early years in the RAF after he signed up in 1941.

Speaking about the sale of his beloved plane, Doug, of Blackfield, Hants, said: "I will miss it terribly and it is very sad to see it go. But it is difficult to get in and out of and very hard to start. It was a brilliant plane for doing stunts and lovely at aerobatics. When you get up there turning upside down and everything it is no trouble at all. It all comes out alright in the end. It was quite a special moment when it was completed and I was so pleased. It has been super and always great fun it really was."

Doug left the RAF in 1946 with a view to becoming a commercial pilot but was told he would never fly again after suffering a brain haemorrhage in 1947. The pilot recovered and spent four years constructing his own aircraft, which he flew for nine years in the Great War Display Team.

Doug said: "The inspiration to make my own plane was being told I would never fly again. I never believed it and of course they were wrong. It was obvious I could never do commercial flying after my record of being hospital but it wasn’t very long before I started flying again and I never stopped. After my retirement I knew exactly what I wanted to do and very glad I did it. My love for planes started when I was three. I was taken to Southampton airport and taken up in a plane sitting on my mum’s knee. When I was old enough I joined the Air Force at 18 straight after my birthday. I tried to join earlier but they wouldn’t have me. Flying has been my favourite thing all my life, especially aerobatics. I don’t do any other kind of sport. Flying is quite enough to keep me going."

Former school teacher Doug has been taking to the cockpit for over seven decades and still holds all the relevant licenses – making him one of Britain’s oldest pilots. Despite giving up the risky stunts the daredevil hopes to carry on being airborne until the day he dies.

Doug said: "I plan to stop flying when I die. That is all that can stop me. My family think I am nuts but know I can’t be all that bad otherwise I wouldn’t still be alive doing it. I am not sure what I love about it so much, it is like the sailors love of the sea. When you are up there you are in charge of everything. It is great. I still enjoy it now as much as when I was younger. People who like flying when they drive to the aerodrome they get faster and faster in excitement before they get there. I still do. It is the place where I want to be – up in the air. It is just wonderful."

stunt pilot – kaszkadőr pilóta
to give up something – feladni valamit
exploit – tett, hőstett
to succeed – sikerül valakinek valami
brain haemorrhage – agyvérzés
to fail – nem sikerül valakinek valami
to force somebody to – kényszeríteni valakit valamire
despite something – valami ellenére
to take to the skies – felszáll az egekbe
to be shot down – lelőve lenni
occupied – elfoglalt
no longer – már nem (többé)
adrenaline seeking – adrenalin kereső/hajszoló
wartime – háborús
in the process of – valaminek a folyamatában
enthusiast – valamiért lelkesedő
to dominate the charts – uralni a slágerlistákat
beloved – szeretett, kedvelt
stunt – mutatvány, attrakció
upside down – fejjel lefelé
to be completed – befejezve lenni
to suffer – (el)szenvedni
aircraft – repülőgép
obvious – egyértelmű
record – feljegyzés, okmány
retirement – nyugdíjba vonulás
to join – csatlakozni
straight after – rögtön valami után
to keep somebody going – hajt valakit valami
former – egykori
cockpit – pilótafülke
decade – évtized
licence – engedély
risky – rizikós
daredevil – fenegyerek
to carry on – folytatni valamit
airborne – légi
to be nuts – bolondnak lenni
otherwise – máskülönben
aerodrome – reptér
excitement – izgalom

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