93-year-old wingwalker breaks own world record
Daredevil Tom Lackey flies strapped on biplane wings from Scotland to Derry
Tom Lackey who launched this year’s Coleraine Borough Council’s International Air Show. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/PA Wire
Tom Lackey (93) in action on the wings of a biplane. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/PA Wire
Tom Lackey holds up a picture of his late wife and wingwalking inspiration, Isobel. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/PA Wire
A 93-year-old widower has broken his own record to become the world’s oldest wingwalker.
“I am glad to be down. It was rather refreshing - very, very cold and very, very noisy,” he said.
The former builder from the West Midlands was tied to the top of a 1943 Boeing Stearman biplane which flew at about 1,000ft from Castle Kennedy, near Stranraer, in Scotland to Derry. He touched down in Derry at about 11am today.
A clearly relieved Mr Lackey said: “It was a very powerful aircraft and the noise was quite terrific because of the engine and the wind.
“I could see lots of sheep, lots of cows and little vehicles moving about like toys.
“It was scary at times but it’s over with now and I have broken my own record.
“I have been doing it for a long time and the pilot was quite prepared to bring me down at any stage but thankfully he didn’t have to.”
Mr Lackey, from Shirley near Solihull, completed his first wing walk 13 years ago after the death of his wife, Isobel, who had served in the Royal Air Force.
He entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2005 at the age of 85 as the oldest person on top of an aircraft that looped the loop.
But this latest feat was the most challenging yet, he said.
Mr Lackey added: “I have done quite a number of wing walks. I do like doing it. I like the adrenaline and I see it as a challenge but this was definitely the toughest yet.”
The unlikely stuntman always carries a photograph of his late wife with him.
He said: “She comes with me every time I go up in the air. I mainly think of her and what she would think of me. I do think she would have been very proud. I have been doing all these stunts to keep her memory alive. She was a wonderful person.”
Since his wife’s death Mr Lackey, who was greeted by his daughter and granddaughter in Derry, has raised over £1 million for charity.