MEMORY LANE: Ex-RAAF pilot John Grant with Classic Aero Adventure Flights owner Mark Awad just before John's birthday flight.
MEMORY LANE: Ex-RAAF pilot John Grant with Classic Aero Adventure Flights owner Mark Awad just before John's birthday flight. Marc Stapelberg

WATCH: Ex-RAAF pilot flies back in time for 80th birthday

FLYING in a historic war plane was the perfect way for ex-Royal Australian Air Force pilot John Grant to soar into his 80s.

Mr Grant flew up from Sydney to Ballina earlier this week for an early 80th birthday present to fly the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) CA-25 Winjeel gifted by his wife, two sons and daughter.

John was one of the first pilots to fly the Winjeel when he worked for RAAF between 1956 and 1969.

His son Paul said it was a thrill for his dad to be in the war bird after half a century.

 

"We love him to bits, he's a rare breed, one of the nicest people I've ever known," Paul said.

Flying the old aircraft through Classic Areo Adventure Flights was described as "a joy" for John.

"I guess its been my life. I've spent 53 and a half years flying for a living," he said.

After his time with RAAF, John was a Qantas pilot until retirement.

 

Paul, who is also a Qantas pilot, said they were "a bit of a flying family".

His older sister is a former flight attendant and his younger brother a Qantas pilot.

Unlike her children and husband, Jennifer was described by Paul as a "white knuckle flyer" with a fear of flying.



$30 million for Norco ice cream

premium_icon $30 million for Norco ice cream

Funding to cement Norco's place in ice-cream market for a long time

REVEALED: What the jury said about 'socially harmful cult'

premium_icon REVEALED: What the jury said about 'socially harmful cult'

Special report: How jury came to decision in UM defamation case

Gourmet cuisine, old favourites at show

premium_icon Gourmet cuisine, old favourites at show

Favourite foods on offer at this year's show

Local Partners