Yorkshire pensioner aged 101 still working as an official aircraft inspector

101-year-old Ernie Horsfall is still inspecting planes after a long career as a pilot. Picture: SWNS
101-year-old Ernie Horsfall is still inspecting planes after a long career as a pilot. Picture: SWNS
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A centenarian from West Yorkshire is still working as an official plane inspector - at 101.

Eagle-eyed Ernie Horsfall has spent his life flying and working with aircraft, and has spent more than 3,000 hours in the skies over the years.

101-year-old Ernie Horsfall is still inspecting planes after a long career as a pilot. Picture: SWNS

101-year-old Ernie Horsfall is still inspecting planes after a long career as a pilot. Picture: SWNS

But despite the former pilot no longer being able to fly due to his age, he's still working with the Light Aircraft Association ensuring the planes are safe to fly.

Raised in Bradford, the widower offers advice to aviators and is the last line of defence before aircraft are signed off.

"I've worked with planes for so many years now that I generally know what I'm looking at", said Ernie.

"I'm not too bothered about going up in the air anymore, I've done it so many times that it's just like getting in a car is for someone else.

101-year-old Ernie Horsfall is still inspecting planes after a long career as a pilot. Picture: SWNS

101-year-old Ernie Horsfall is still inspecting planes after a long career as a pilot. Picture: SWNS

"Nowadays I just inspect the planes, which I like to do."

Now living in Preston, he says his career started during WWII when he trained as aircraft engineer.

He then served as a staff sergeant with the army for six years, during which a trip in an RAF flying boat inspired him to get in the pilot's seat himself.

However, it wasn't for another 20 years when he was 43 that he took his first flying lesson.

Ernie Horsfall earlier in his career as a pilot and aircraft inspector

Ernie Horsfall earlier in his career as a pilot and aircraft inspector

Since then, Ernie has owned 56 planes, filled five logbooks and inspected thousands of aircraft across the country.

"It's quite easy work for me really", he added. "I can usually tell from 20 yards away what I'm going to find. I'm more than happy to help people out and give them advice when they need it.

"I've owned lots of planes and most of them are still flying because I took such good care of them.

"No one other than me ever did any work on them, they didn't even give them a lick of paint, only me.

"But I'm no hero, all those men who never made it back from the war, they're the heroes."

In his role with the LAA Ernie's name and phone number are on a database which all association members have access to.

LAA chief inspector Ken Craigie said: "There is no age limit on being an official inspector, it all comes down to their ability.

"We check that Ernie is still capable every year and he proves himself every time.

"He has an incredible wealth of knowledge to call on and is a valuable asset to us."