Seeing Old Age as a Never-Ending Adventure

For his part, Mr. Lackey, a retired builder in England, said he was preparing for his 90th birthday next May with an attempt to be the first person, of any age, to wing-walk both directions across the English Channel.

A friend from Mr. Lackey’s church, Sue Pitham, 49, said the first wing-walk seemed morbid to her, coming as it did from grief.

“I think the first one was a bit of a death wish, to be honest,” she said. “But then he realized he was an adrenaline junkie.”

Ms. Pitham said a stroke that Mr. Lackey suffered about six years ago slowed him down some, but not much. “He just needs a little more help getting on top of the plane now,” she said.