News

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

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

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.

Topics:  ballina flying northern rivers community northern rivers quirky pilot royal australian air force



Bit of a buzz for Lismore's Cup day

READY FOR THE RACES: Angela Murphy is excited to attend this year's Lismore Cup with fine weather and summer fashions all on display.

Why the city's big social day is "more important than ever"

Second chance for iconic Rappville Pub

The Rappville Hotel in 1942.

Interested buyer would "complete the vision"

Want Falls tickets? Be prepared to fork out big bucks

Crowds at Falls Festival in Byron Bay. Photo: Niche Pictures - Lyn McCarthy

Tickets normally worth about $300 are selling for $1000

Local Partners