Battle of Britain pilot back in cockpit at 99

Battle of Britain pilot finally back in cockpit at 99 - in flight simulator


One of our last surviving Battle of Britain pilots has returned to the skies and shot down the enemy – but this time, in a flight simulator.

Archie McInnes, 99, was delighted to be back at the controls at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire 

The hero, who lost an arm in the war, “flew” in a Typhoon fighter jet simulator, which is used to train modern-day aces.

His friend, military history enthusiast Jonny Cracknell, said: “It’s completely different to what Archie flew, so it was all new to him.

“I’m not quite sure he was used to all that technology but he had a really good go and got up into the air and even managed to shoot down a few aircraft.

“Archie has a natural love and passion for flying and you can still see that today. I think he’d still like to be up there.

“He definitely prefers the old way of doing things, though.”

Archie had his time in the cockpit of the simulator at RAF Coningsby, in Lincolnshire, after an invite to the base from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, a unit that is stationed there.

Archie, who joined the RAF in 1938, was one of the legendary “Few” who repelled Hitler’s Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

His service included flying Hurricanes in 601 Squadron based in Exeter, Devon, then 238 Squadron at Chilbolton, Hants. Archie later joined the North African campaign which is when he was shot down in a dog fight and lost his arm.

Despite the injury, he continued to serve. He was released from the RAF in 1946 and went on to run his dad’s laundry supply business.

Archie, whose wife died 12 years ago, and who lives with his daughter near Cambridge, is believed to be one of six surviving Battle of Britain pilots.