Ken Wallis


Ken Wallis

Wing Commander Kenneth Horatio Wallis MBE, DEng (hc), CEng, FRAeS, FSETP, PhD (hc), RAF (Ret'd), is one of the leading exponents of autogyros. He has held (in some cases still holds) 34 records relating to them.

He produces autogyros for, in his own words, "reconnaissance, research & development, surveillance and military purposes" and his designs are not available for enthusiasts.

Born on 16 April 1916 at Ely, Cambridgeshire, he developed a practical interest in mechanics, building a motorcycle at the age of 11. In the 1930s he bought and assembled a Flying Flea aircraft. These were kit form midget aircraft which were banned in 1936 after several fatalities due to design flaws.

His military career started with Westland Lysander patrols in the RAF. In 1942 he was transferred to Bomber Command, flying Wellingtons near Grimsby. He subsequently served in Italy. Thereafter he was involved in research and development. He left the RAF in 1964, retiring to Norfolk.

He took an interest in powerboating which he kept up until 1957, when he won the convert|56|mi|km|sing=on long Missouri Marathon.

Wing Commander Wallis has been the recognized world record holder for many categories of autogyro records over the years and is also recognized as the oldest pilot to set a world flight record at the age of 89.

He received the MBE in 1996.

He provided and flew "Little Nellie" in the James Bond film "You Only Live Twice". He is President of the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum.

References

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1071025.stm BBC News]
* [http://www.gyroplanepassion.com/Ken_Wallis.html Ken Wallis Tribute Page]


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