Solo flight after 60-year gap

Roy Sims with instructor John Hull

Roy Sims with instructor John Hull

First published in News by

A 78-year-old man from Mere took to the skies for a solo flight in a glider after a 60-year wait since he was last able to take to the skies alone.

Roy Sims took the solo flight at the Bath, Wiltshire and North Dorset Gliding Club at Kingston Deverill, near Mere.

He first flew solo in 1953 at RAF Hawkinge, near Folkestone, Kent. Mr Sims has been a member of the club for four years, and has flown many times with an instructor, but conditions were never quite right for him to fly alone.

The weather on Saturday was calm and perfect so after a training flight with his instructor, Mr Sims took to the skies alone.

Mr Sims, who remembers his original solo, said: “It was the year of the Coronation, Hillary’s first ascent of Everest, and Gordon Richards won his one and only Derby. The latter two were knighted for their efforts. I received a kiss and a cuddle from my mum when I arrived home that night.”

His original flight was in a wood and canvas glider typical of the day, while his most recent was in a modern fibre glass glider capable of long cross country flights lasting many hours.

Mr Sims, who began gliding again after his wife died in 2011, is a councillor and a police volunteer, serves on the Cancer Research UK and carnival committees, and is active in the neighbourhood watch scheme.


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