An aviation researcher, writer, aviation participant, pilot & agricultural researcher. Author of over 35 scientific publications world wide.


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The following turned up in todays Australian – on-line and is worth a read!!



A blokes’ guide to growing old gracefully

As Richard Gere demonstrates, a good haircut can help. Picture: Getty Images

As Richard Gere demonstrates, a good haircut can help. Source: Getty Images

LIZARD or toad? For a man past 60 this is the hard choice, the only choice. In old age all men end up as lizards or toads. Pumas and ­gazelles are not an option.

Most of us incline toadways or lizardwards, but willpower and discipline will turn even an ­obvious impending toad away from that fate. I am determined to be a lizard, and stare into the mirror each morning murmuring, “Lizard or toad? Every day, in every way, I will grow scrawnier.”

Start by walking everywhere — no taxis. When you start getting fat, cut out pudding. If you’re still expanding, cut breakfast. Cut lunch too, if necessary. Finally stop eating altogether. In the end it ­always works.

But growing old successfully isn’t simply about self-denial. In some ways it’s about giving in. Go easy on yourself. You like a nap in the afternoon? Take it. No bed? Lie on the floor. Hate dancing? Don’t dance. Detest wedding recep­tions? Just say no. By the time we’re 60 we do know ourselves; seniority gives us the right to stop pretending. When I have guests for dinner and feel sleepy as the evening wears on I rise, point them to the whisky, and say goodnight.

In moderation and without unkindness, a little graduated selfishness is the prerogative of age, and the important thing is to insist on what you do and don’t want to do, but without expecting others to fall in with your preferences. If you feel like watching Lawrence of Arabia for the fourth time but friends or partners don’t, slope off on your own. Single tickets are available to the opera, cinema or Dolly Parton’s tour. A table for one at a good restaurant plus a favourite book or newspaper can be one of life’s great pleasures.

I’m in no position to offer advice on dress and appearance and conspicuously fail my own standards, but I’ll mention a couple. Baldies, you aren’t the only ones with problems. Dyed hair is always noticed and never approved. A conventional, greying and unshowy haircut is the least worst ­option. But no grey beard. No grey stubble. No grey pigtail. And if you can afford it, get yourself one ­discreetly expensive suit. My partner forced me to and, goodness, but people notice. An old man in a bad suit is not a pretty sight.

I’m conscious advice like this should end with something inspir­ational. I can venture only this. Aged 18, I was at a dinner party with an old, gay fellow who seemed to combine self-confidence with sociability, independence and a real sense of who he was. I determined that I wanted to be like that. You may not be anything like my old friend, but you too could be somebody of whom a teenager might think: “When I’m old, I want to be like that.” Try to become such a person.

Get out of your comfort zone

Go boating, hiking, even wild swimming. But whatever your plan, ensure there is a hot shower and a decent meal at the end of it.

Avoid status anxiety

If we make social comparisons by gazing upwards, we are bound to be unhappy. Compare downwards and we feel sane again.

Learn a new fact daily

Whatever you learn encourages new neural pathways in the brain.

Laugh more

Having 100 to 200 belly laughs a day is the equivalent of a high-­impact workout, burning off up to 500 calories. On a bad day, turn off the news and watch some stand-up comedy.

Try new activities

… from crosswords to listening to new music. Keep your mind active and engaged, from new technology to new attitudes. Learn another language. Sleep on a different side of the bed. The most ageing thing you can say is: “This is the way I always do it.”

Get a pet

Living with a pet can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and stress — as well as raising chances of survival after a heart attack.

Live close to work

People who commute long dis­tances are measurably unhappier than those who work closer to home. Try cycling to work. Just five minutes of exercise in a “green space” can boost mental health.

Keep an open mind

This is not an excuse for putting up with bores and boors — sometimes your gut instinct is right — but it’s healthy not to make snap decisions or overplan.

Look forward to things

This can open up dopamine pathways that help us feel good about life.

Stop procrastinating

Stop making endless lists. Or telling people at dinner parties how you’re going to write a novel/move to New York/start that lavender farm. You’re the only grown-up in the room now. Just give it a go.

Tie the knot

Married people tend to enjoy healthier, longer lives than their single peers, the benefits most pronounced in men. If you’re single, always keep the door open to possibilities.

Wear the right jeans

The quickest way to look old is dad jeans: ill-fitting, wide in the leg, baggy in the bum, gloomy piebald wash, highish-waisted. Not saying you have to suddenly get groovy, selvedge-revealing turn-ups or back pockets halfway down your thighs; just that flattering must be the priority. Get the size that fits, for once in your life. A dark wash just adds that extra bit of smartness we all need as time goes by.

Wear comfortable shoes from an early age

“Uncomfortable shoes cause inflammation that can have an ­impact on your entire system,” says US cancer specialist and long-life guru David Agus. “Inflammation has been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, autoimmune diseases, diabetes and ­accelerated ageing.”

Disguise the paunch

No skimpy sweaters, straining T-shirts or polo shirts. A tailored shirt always works, in forget-me-not blue with a proper collar, or a slimming black. A man in a shirt with a slight paunch looks at ease with himself. Hidden by a shirt, a slight paunch is almost sexy.

Rescue your teeth

We’re not just talking about fillings and gum disease. Smiling boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure and releases ­endorphins and serotonin.

Walking is key

You should walk at least 4km ­a day in your 60s. It’s not just about fitness: a study of 6000 women aged 65 and older at the University of California found that those who covered that distance had less decline in memory than those who walked less than half a mile a week.

Use the stairs

Fifty-five flights a week can reduce your risk of dying early by 15 per cent and lower your cholesterol within six weeks. Two flights a day can help you lose 2.7kg in a year.

Bicycle “sprint”

… for 60 seconds, twice a week. ­According to the Abertay University, Dundee, you will lose an average of 1kg of fat in two months.

Lift weights

From your 50s, muscle mass drops, but you can fight this. You should do squats, lunges and press-ups to slow the decline.

Get enough vitamin  D

… via sunshine or supplements — it’s important for the brain.

Have  More  Sex

Anything that encourages genital blood flow has a positive impact on sexual function. And sexercise: repeatedly contracting and relaxing your pubococcygeal muscles strengthens your pelvic floor. This not only improves sexual function but will help prevent incontinence.


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