Wing Commander Ken Wallis dead at 97

Resasi

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Met him earlier this year at a lecture he gave at the Royal Aeronautical Society earlier this year, which was most interesting. Was trying to get up to his place to see his gyros, unfortunately never happened.

Wg Cdr Ken Wallis Lecture - YouTube


An inspirational and gifted man who through his work spread the knowledge and existence of gyros far and wide.

Go well.
 
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Illini85

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While I think it's true that "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation" can't say that for Commander Wallis. What a fabulous example of living one's life with passion.
 

PTKay

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Sad day for the gyro community. :(

Rest in Peace, Wing Commander, Sir !
 

SandL

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There will be a celebration of his life on 29 September at Old Buckenham airfield. photography, vintage cars, aircraft, gyros and boats
What a man, a true inspiration Wallace.... ken Wallace


details of the day are available
 

Arnie Madsen

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Not sure if this has already been posted. I always greatly admired this man, he will be sorely missed...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-23952207
More than anyone it is Ken Wallis who put the gyrocopter on the big screen for everybody to see

Sit in a crowd of non-aviators and bring up the subject of gyrocopters .... 3 out of 10 people will gaze toward the ceiling , scratch their heads for a minute .... and say ... HEY !!!!! those neat things in that James Bond Movie .... those things were cool !!!!!!
 

helicopter ed

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Ken did more firsts with the Gyroplane then any one. He would answer any letter from anyone, writing 6 and 7 page letters, both sides. Explaining in detail his present endeavors. All his many machines had its own purpose. He made every part, never taking anything off one to use on another. Kept each aircraft intact. Last I knew, he had near 20 Gyroplanes. His English brogue was his best trait. He was my personal friend. We all will end up in that big ocean of air in the sky... (Helled1)
 

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phantom

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back when I first decided that I needed a gyro that was more comfortable than a bensen for winter flying I sent a letter to Ken to see if he sold plans or kits, he sent a letter saying that while he didn't sell anything he sent a few drawings and lots of advice on building a safe stable gyro with a warning to make sure to have the thrust line run through the c of g . His advice and Jerry Barnett warning me not to fly without a large HS is most likely the reason that I am still alive today.

Norm
 

SIIaCanuck

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Rest in peace old boy!

I was honoured to follow in his footsteps as an RAF pilot (albeit some 50+ years behind him) and I'll continue following his footsteps in the gyro world.

Bloody inspiration!
 

Mike484

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There should be a memorial forum on here where threads like this can be posted so we can keep all of these pictures, videos, and stories together.

What do you think?
 

helicopter ed

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From my good friend of 25 years, Captain Dennis Fetters shared this.

"I know that Ken Wallis died. I am very proud to have been his friend, and one of the few people that ever gave Ken a ride in a gyroplane. Please post my finest regards and memories for him on the forum,, would you please post this picture of me giving Ken a ride in my Commander."

Here is Commander Wallis and Captain Fetters, at a fly in Dennis had in Missouri in the late 80's. Ken was Dennis's honered guest. Jim McCutchen was there with his New WindRyder prototype.
 

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Hognose

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I have not been on the forum but came here to see what you all are saying about WingCo Wallis. There was a brief obit in Aviation Week. Since AW&ST is not online I'll take the liberty of posting it here:

Obituary: Record-breaking autogyro pioneer Wing Cmdr. Ken Wallis died at home near Dereham, Norfolk, England, on Sept. 1. He was 97. A Royal Air Force (RAF) Wellington bomber pilot during World War II, Wallis spent 20 years in weapon research for the RAF, but was best known for his exploits with autogyros, working on them in his spare time at home. His experi- ence with the machines helped him set 34 autogyro world records between 1968 and 2002, several of which still stand today, including the speed record for an autogyro: 207.7 kph (129 mph). Wallis retained a collection of 18 autogyros at home and regularly few them for visitors even until recently. Although his hopes of wider success with gyroplanes never came to frui- tion, the capabilities of the aircraft and Wallis were spotted by producers of the James Bond flms and in 1967, Wallis doubled for actor Sean Connery in a dramatic dogfght scene where Bond’s autogyro, named “Little Nellie” fghts off helicopter-borne attackers over Japan in the flm, “You Only Live Twice.” In October 2012, Wallis was honored for his lifetime contribution to aerospace by the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.
Blue Skies, old boy.

He still holds four current absolute autogyro (class E-3) world records with the FAI. These are also the class E-3a (light) autogyro records.

  1. Speed over a 3 km course - General - 1 : piston engine (207.7 kmh)
  2. Time to climb to a height of 3 000 m - General - 1 : piston engine (7:20)
  3. Speed over a closed circuit of 100 km without payload - General - 1 : piston engine (190.41 kmh)
  4. Speed over a straight 15/25 km course - General - 1 : piston engine (189.58 kmh)
Source: http://www.fai.org/record-rotorcraft

It is sad that he is gone, but it is joyful that he was here with us so long. I second what all have said about his willingness to communicate with any fellow autogyro enthusiast. I think one way he dealt with outliving so many of his friends was by making new friends.
 

SandL

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BBC Radio 4 " the Last word"

BBC Radio 4 " the Last word"

I contacted the BBC radio 4 to ask them to do a piece on a program they put out weekly called "the last word" it's about people who died over the last week. A huge cross section of people are featured generally just 3 or 4 each week.
The producer had never heard of Wallis. I pointed him in the right direction and this is the program broadcast last Friday
first it's about Mr Dolby (as in Dolby sound) then the bit about Ken Wallis starts at 5:34

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b039rwcy
 

helicopter ed

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Poem about Ken

Poem about Ken

A MANS MAN, OUR HE-MAN...
---Always the gentleman, white shirt and tie
inventor, craftsman, with a twinkle in his eye
---5percent inspiration 95percent sweat&tears
a doer, a done-er, test pilot for all his years
-
---His command of pure English with his brogue
all 19 different machines could carry the load
---his patience, demeanor made him our chief
what he accomplished is way beyond belief
-
---He has ascended to that ocean of air above
where all aviators greet each other with love
---"time spent flying is added to our lifespan"
Ken stretched his years to 97, being our he-man...
 

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