1916 - 2013
Kenneth Wallis a retired Wing Commander of the UK Royal Air Force, took his first solo flight in 1937 and was a World War II bomber pilot, conducting two dozen missions over Germany.
After the war, he continued with the RAF for 20 years, flying and conducting military and civilian aviation research. In 1959, he built his first of dozens of autogyros. He is perhaps most famously known as the stunt double for Sean Connery in the 1967 James Bond film, “You Only Live Twice” – Wallis piloted “Little Nellie,” the autogyro that dispatches four attacking helicopters.
Wallis set 34 world records – including as an octogenarian – of which eight still stand. He continued flying until his final months. Wallis gave an autobiographical lecture in May 2013 at the Royal Aeronautical Society, which is available online. He was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), the first rank in British chivalry, in 1996. Wallis was a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He was given an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University in New York in 2003.
Kenneth Wallis passed away on September 1, 2013 at age 97.
AHS Update: Vertiflite November/ December 2013