On a windy, 46-degree morning a group of veterans from Salishan Gracious Retirement Living took to the skies Tuesday.
Veterans, who live at Salishan Gracious Retirement Living in Spring Hill were whisked skyward in a 1940 Stearman biplane piloted by Mike Winterboer, volunteer pilot of Ageless Aviation Dreams in Carson City, Nev.
Decades after returning home from World War II and the Korean War, veterans flew in the planes of their youth.
The veterans got the opportunity thanks to the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, which provides sponsor and donor-funded “Dream Flights” to veterans. The flights are in a Boeing Stearman biplane with an open cockpit, the same aircraft many military aviators trained in during the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Bill Moharter, 90, traveled all over the South Pacific as an artillery gunner in the U.S. Army’s 497th Triple Gun Battalion between 1943 and 1946 during WWII.
“Back in those days, seeing an airplane was a big deal and the planes we flew weren’t so fancy and good looking like they are now,” Moharter said. “Today was a great adventure and I would do this again in a heartbeat.”
When asked if he got cold in the open cockpit, Moharter laughed and said, “My hands were a little chilly but my adrenaline rush kept me warm.”
Darryl Fisher, president and founder of Ageless Aviation said it’s fun to see the spring in the veterans’ steps when they step off the plane.
“We are so blessed to be able to give back and pay tribute to our vets who have given so much of their lives to this great nation,” Fisher said.