Flight takes SWFL veterans back in time

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- A beautiful 1940s Stearman biplane flew some very important passengers over the skies of Southwest Florida on Tuesday.

The aerial time machine, compliments of the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, honored veterans of the greatest generation for their service. The Stearman was used to train pilots for World War II, but on Tuesday, it took the vets from the Barrington Terrace senior community back in time to their youth.

“They get in as a 90-year-old and then get out as a 19-year-old, it’s a lot of fun,” said volunteer Diane Winterboer.

“I never thought at the age of 94 I would be flying in an airplane like that,” said Navy Veteran Rachael Klein, who was one of the five vets honored.

“What they are doing is just fabulous, to treat us veterans for a free ride,” said Klein.

Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation uses three Stearman biplanes for the trips.

“We are often thanking them for their service, they are thanking us, we are thanking them, so it goes back and forth,” said Winterboer.

“At my age, it was a real experience and I enjoyed every minute of it,” said Air Force Veteran Robert Penn.

Penn still remembers bumming rides on his days off from Air Force pilots just so he could fly. It’s been 60 years since he climbed into a military plane.

“Today, I went flying in a plane like I never flew before and it was quite an experience.”

The flights are free for the veterans. This year, Ageless Aviation Dream held 70 events in four states.

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