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Ken Wallis: James Bond stunt pilot dies

media captionThe lifetime aviation career of retired Wing Cdr Ken Wallis, from Norfolk, is honoured by the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators

A 97-year-old record-breaking autogyro pilot, who flew as a James Bond stunt double, has died.

Retired Wing Cdr Ken Wallis, who lived near Dereham, Norfolk, died on Sunday, his daughter confirmed.

Born in Ely, his first solo flight was in 1937. Thirty years later he doubled as Sean Connery's Bond for an explosive aerial sequence in You Only Live Twice.

His daughter Vicky said her father passed away after "a long and successful life doing what he wanted".

Mr Wallis will be laid to rest at a private family funeral.

A keen photographer, he combined his passion for images and flight to help police in aerial reconnaissance, the search for Lord Lucan and the Loch Ness monster.

Honoured with an MBE in 1996, he piloted 24 wartime missions over northern Europe in Wellington bombers, before spending 20 years engaged in weapons research in the Royal Air Force.

In October, he was honoured by the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN) for his lifetime contribution to aerospace.

Speaking at the time, he said he was "privileged to be recognised by an organisation which celebrates professionalism and dedication in flying".

"This award is a great honour, but at only 96 I'm just a beginner," he said.

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  • James Bond stunt pilot Ken Wallis honoured