Ageless Aviation Brings Flying Back to Chicago-Area Vets

Stearman flights quickly take many vets back in time.

Ageless Aviation
Ageless Aviation Dreams offers Chicago's veterans the thrill of flying in the cockpit of a 1942 PT-17 Boeing Stearman.Signature Flight Support

Signature Flight Support's Chicago Executive airport facility donated time and personnel support this week to sponsor a four-day event called "Ageless Aviation Dreams," named after the parent non-profit organization. The ageless event offered Chicago-area veterans an opportunity to experience the thrill of a dream flight from the front cockpit of a 1942 PT-17 Boeing Stearman, the aircraft used to train military aviators in the late 1930s and early '40s. Ageless Aviation has one mission … "Giving back to those who have given." All Ageless pilots are volunteers.

The flights offer former United States military pilots who live in local senior communities a chance to travel back to a time when they ruled the sky as proud military aviators. The Ageless Aviation coordinators begin the process by reaching out to local retirement homes to identify veterans interested in a Stearman ride. The retirement homes handle the transportation to the airport.

Signature Flight Support's Pam Kavanaugh and Tim Latendresse supervised PWK ramp operations for the 14 Stearman rides during the week, with the oldest rider being 92-years-old. One of the Signature linemen recalled helping one vet manage his cell phone just before engine start. Thinking the fellow wanted to put the phone away somewhere safe during the flight, the lineman was surprised when the WWII vet said he was really trying to take a selfie in the cockpit to send to his grandkids.