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Happy birthday! OK, maybe that day of the year hasn’t come yet, or maybe it was a while back. So what, you’re in your late 30s, and you celebrated the event with family and friends. You may have even hit the road for an exotic vacation. Good. Now, imagine you’re a World War II veteran who celebrates his 90th anniversary in the wackiest way possible. What do you do?

How about granting yourself one of the wishes you’ve been collecting throughout the years; how about loosening that bucket list up a notch, for a change?

It sounds pretty daring, of course, but you’ll be quite surprised to find out that this was not the case with this man. John Weston is a Royal Air Force from Groby, a large English village in the county of Leicestershire, who did this in the memory of his deceased wife.

Yes, the old man strapped himself to the upper wing of a 1942 Boeing-Stearman biplane and flown 500 ft (152 m) into the air for 15 minutes. The former rear gunner on a Lancaster Bomber in World War Two was raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society after his wife’s death. He even had to lose 12 lbs (5.4 kg) for the challenge.

“For three years [my wife] was reasonably active, then she got very poorly and for the last eight months it was cruel to see her. She’d lost the use of her arms, legs, speech and couldn’t swallow,” Weston told the BBC. Can things get more heart braking than that?

As to the Lancaster bomber, we’ll remind you we’re looking at proper WWII machinery. The British four-engined heavy bomber was designed and built by Avro for the Royal Air Force. As the strategic bombing offensive over Europe grew bigger, it became the central implement for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed.

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