Ted's 100th birthday celebrates a lifetime in aviation

A man wearing a cap flies what looks like a plane. He is in a mock-up cockpit.

Ted Barrett at 100: Ted flies a Boeing 737 simulator at Andrewsfield Aerodrome - Credit: Supplied by Andrewsfield Flying Club

A 100-year-old pilot from Stansted was treated to a Boeing 737 flight simulator experience for his birthday.

Ted Barrett, who was born on May 21, 1921, began his career in the cadets before becoming a Royal Air Force engineer in World War II.

To thank Ted for a lifetime's service in both military and civil aviation, Andrewsfield Flying Club near Great Saling arranged a Boeing 737 simulator experience under the guidance of Club Director Mike Rowland.

A man wearing a smart suit, a cap and glasses.

Centenarian Ted Barrett is an "inspiration" to Andrewsfield Flying Club, its director said - Credit: Supplied by Andrewsfield Flying Club

Mike said: "Ted has been an inspiration.

"He comes up to Andrewsfield often, so he's a well known and well respected character in aviation.

"Ted was born in 1921, when flight had only just started to happen, so he has seen early aircraft to people going to the moon, right up to the airliners we have today."

Ted repaired Wellington bombers in India during World War II.

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He later trained as a pilot with the RAF in Cambridge using Tiger Moth and Oxford aircraft.

When the RAF reserve group was disbanded in 1953, he gained his civil pilot licences to continue flying.

He was due to fly a real-life 1930s Tiger Moth on his birthday, but 40mph gusts grounded Ted and his team.

Instead, he flew a virtual Boeing 737 out of Stansted Airport using a simulator at Andrewsfield Aerodrome.

The passenger jet was first manufactured in the 1960s and is still produced today.

More than 10,000 737s have been produced over the last five-and-a-half decades.

With more settled summer weather, Andrewsfield Flying Club hopes Ted will be able to fly a Tiger Moth biplane as part of his birthday treat early this month.

The plane - registration G-AOEI - is owned by Cambridge Flying Club, where Ted is an honorary member. 

Two smartly dressed men stand in front of a yellow biplane

Ted Barrett (L) with Andrewsfield instructor Mike Derrett (R) in front of Tiger Moth, registration G-AOEI - Credit: Supplied by Andrewsfield Flying Club

It is one of the few Tiger Moths still operating which saw active service in World War II.

The 1930s plane was part of a Communications Squadron in France, completing expeditions on the continent ahead of Operation Dynamo in Dunkirk in 1940.

"Ted's flight in G-AOEI will be fitting," an Andrewsfield Flying Club spokesperson said.

"Two WW2 veterans will be re-united!"