Peterborough pensioner’s 5,000ft birthday flight

A Peterborough pilot is continuing to reach for the skies, with just the wind beneath his wings powering him above the clouds despite reaching his 90th birthday.

Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 1:00 pm
Neville gets into the glider

Neville Robinson celebrated reaching the milestone by soaring 5,000 feet above the ground and getting one of the best views of Peterborough and the surrounding area imaginable.

Nev, as he is known to the other members of the Peterborough and Spalding Gliding Club, has been flying for much of his life, and is the oldest member of the club, passing on his years of experience to younger pilots.

When he came back to Earth on his birthday, he was treated to a cake in the shape of a glider.

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Neville said he found peace while he was up in the glider.

He said: “I enjoy the freedom I feel when soaring with the birds, and the peace and quiet of gliding flight.

“It gives me a great buzz to be in control of a flying machine that uses the natural elements to stay airborne.”

While flying the glider, Neville now always travels with a ‘safety pilot/passenger,’ but the 90-year-old retains control of the flight throughout - including take off and landing.

On his birthday flight, Paul Davey, an instructor at the club, accompanied Neville.

Despite his age, Neville said he had no plans to stop taking to the skies.

He said: “I fully intend to carry on flying for as long as I am physically able to do so.

“I feel the same as I did 20 years ago - I think the passing years have given me the advantage of experience others don’t have.”

Neville has been gliding for half of his life, and the 45 years spent in the air have taken him across the globe.

He spent time in Canada and the USA as an instructor, even reaching heights of 26,000 feet while riding a ‘mountain wave’ - a wind pattern which helps gliders reach high altitudes.

But, Neville is not only reaching for the skies, as he also takes his turn using the club’s computer systems logging the flights as they take off as well as organising the flying order.

Nick White, chairman of the gliding club, said: “As you can imagine, Neville has many stories to tell, and entertains all with them on a regular basis.

“We hope that he continues with the club for many years to come.

“While Nev is our oldest pilot, youngsters can start flying at an early age, and are allowed to fly solo at 14 - if they have reached the required standard, of course.

“We wish Nev many more years of happy flying, and hope to see others following in his footsteps.”

For more information about the Peterborough and Spalding Gliding Club, and how to start gliding, visit