MAGICAL pictures show the moment a 91-year-old man took to the air for the first time in his life.
Denis McAuley was born in 1926, just 23 years after the Wright Brothers made the first ever recorded flight.
Denis, from Glasgow, has never admitted to a fear of flying but has travelled to Ireland at least once a year by car and ferry for the past 73 years – while his wife flew.
But the former construction worker, who helped build the Clyde tunnel, recently decided land and sea transport were too slow for him and took to the skies.
Last week, he boarded an EasyJet flight from Glasgow Airport – five minutes from his home – to Belfast and declared it just like “sitting in his living room chair at home”.
Denis moved from his native Republic of Ireland in his youth and made at least one trip home a year to see his family.
But his aversion to flying means that he spent the equivalent of an extra 20 days of his life travelling by car and ferry.
His wife, Kathleen, 87, flew every time, getting picked up at the airport by her husband who had set off many hours earlier.
His daughter, Kathleen McAuley, said: “He’s always said he’s never had the need to take a flight. He’s the type of man who would never admit it even if it was because he had a fear of flying.
“He would leave at about 8am in the morning and not get there until that evening. When him and my mum would go, he would drive and she would take a flight then he would pick her up from the airport.
“I think he changed his mind because he’s getting older and the amount of time it took to drive and get on and off the boat.”
She added: “He stopped driving a few years ago so recently when we were talking about going over again, he said ‘what about the plane?’ so I thought, ‘great!’. I was delighted.
“We booked it and he absolutely loved it. He was looking out the window the whole time at everything and was saying how the farmers had been doing a great job with the fields.
“He really, really enjoyed it and said that’s the only way to go now. He was even laughing saying ‘I’ll be in America next’.
“He said the flight was just like sitting in his living room chair at home.
“The thing is we actually live about five minutes from Glasgow Airport so yeah he would see planes going in and out daily.”
After the flight Denis’ other daughter, Joan Hunter posted a message to EasyJet thanking them for taking care of her dad.
She said: “My dad flew with you on Friday for his first time flying. He is 91-years-old. Just a short flight from Scotland to Ireland but thanks for taking care of him.
“He is with my mum and sisters and we were afraid he might not come back on the return flight but he said he enjoyed it.”
The post attracted hundreds of likes and dozens of messages of support praising Denis on his achievement.
Paula Docherty wrote: “That’s amazing, hope he had a great time.”
Betsy Ward commented: “How fantastic is that? They both look great.”
And Isabell Macalpine added: “Fantastic. Hope they had a great time.”