RAF adventure for 18-year old

Ray Farnsworth with  a Tiger Moth now and 61 years ago.
Ray Farnsworth with a Tiger Moth now and 61 years ago.

An Alnwick man got behind the controls of a vintage RAF Tiger Moth – more than six decades since he first flew the aircraft during his national service.

Ray Farnsworth, 79, first flew the two-seater plane as an 18-year-old air force recruit in 1951, while training for deployment in the Korean War.

Ray Farnsworth with  a Tiger Moth now and 61 years ago.

Ray Farnsworth with a Tiger Moth now and 61 years ago.

And when his son David arranged a flight earlier this month as a Father’s Day present, Ray got back in the cockpit – after a gap of 61 years.

Ray said that the 20-minute flight brought memories from his service days flooding back.

“It was the best present I could have possibly have received,” he said.

“Everything about the Tiger Moth came back to me. It was a little more difficult to get in as my legs are less flexible, and it was a lot noisier than I remember.

“But everything else was the same, and apart from the take-off and landing I did all the flying.”

The biplane, first used in the early 1930s, was mostly used to train new recruits and reached a top speed of around 105mph.

“The pilot’s father wouldn’t have been born when I first flew the Tiger Moth,” said Ray, who flew from the Sheffield Aero Club in South Yorkshire.

“I could have taken it off and I could have landed it, but it would have been a bit iffy.”