Veteran walks into records books on a wing and a prayer

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The Independent Online
An 84-year-old man may have flown into the record books yesterday as the oldest man to complete a wing-walk.

Leslie "Dizzy" Seales spent 20 minutes on top of a trainer aircraft at Shoreham in Sussex, flying to a height of 800ft.

But Mr Seales, who lives nearby, does not feel his feat is in any way unusual. He appears unflappable, even in the face of the wind. He said: "Yes, it was windy but very pleasant. I enjoyed it very much. Heights don't worry me at all."

Mr Seales is no stranger to danger. He was a gunner in a Boulton Paul Defiant Nightfighter during Second World War, and performed his first wing walk to save an injured pilot in 1942.

After gunfire from German fighters struck his plane, Mr Seales clambered out of the gun turret, and inched his way along the fuselage to the cockpit. He managed to free his pilot and both parachuted to safety.

Mr Seales last performed a wing-walk in 1995, but he could not go for the record then because he had mislaid his birth certificate.

He has showed little fear in the face of enemy gunfire, and four wing walks. But he did not tell his wife of the planned stunt, fearing she might object and make him call it off.