READY FOR TAKE-OFF: Emu Park’s Ivan Unwin, at the controls of his Piper Cub two-seater, will tomorrow mark 70 years of flying.
READY FOR TAKE-OFF: Emu Park’s Ivan Unwin, at the controls of his Piper Cub two-seater, will tomorrow mark 70 years of flying. Chris Ison Rokcpilot

Gift of glider gives dream wings

THERE are not many people in the world who could say they've flown planes for 70 years.

But Emu Park's Ivan Unwin is one who can.

The 88-year-old has been taking to the skies since 1945, with his first ever log book entry made on March 25 that year.

Completing his training with the Royal Queensland Aero Club, Ivan has lived a rich life, with a list of achievements that reaches to the sky.

He has walked the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair twice, on his own, after turning 70; not to mention rebuilding eight Tiger Moths (planes).

But this weekend he will celebrate the milestone of 70 years of active flying with friends at the Emu Park Airfield.

When asked what he enjoyed most about flying, it was seeing the joy it brought to others rather than himself.

"I really like taking somebody else for a fly," Ivan explained.

"Some people enjoy playing golf, I just enjoy flying, and the freedom you get from it."

Ivan and his late wife Gwen have two sons and a daughter.

It was from the age of five that he fell in love with planes after receiving a glider for Christmas.

He went on to become an aero engineer.

These days, living only metres from the airfield and hangar where his Piper Cub lives, Ivan said he didn't plan to fly for much longer.

"I'm seriously thinking about giving it away now," he said. "I've been very fortunate that I've been able to do it for all of this time. I've only ever had one forced landing in 70 years."

He also wrote a book, Living a Dream, which was printed in 2007 with the help of John and Suzy Watson, which detailed his journey in his own words.



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