Stearman Takes Chicago-Area Vets on a Nostalgic Flight

Eight veterans were taken for a ride in a 1930s-era Stearman biplane as a thank you for their service in World War II and Korea. Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation

Although millions of people have seen Chicago from the air each year flying into O’Hare, Midway or a half dozen GA airports, only a handful have been lucky enough to capture a glimpse of the Windy City with the wind blowing across their faces in the front seat of a 1930s-era Stearman biplane.

Eight lucky men and women, all veterans of either World War II or the Korean conflict — the oldest of whom was 91-year-old Rosemary Anderson, a former Army nurse — on June 8 climbed aboard a red Stearman at Signature Flight Support’s Chicago Executive Airport (PWK) location for a half-hour flight along the western shore of Lake Michigan. Many of the riders, few of whom were pilots, commented on how the Stearman’s blazing 100 mph speed combined with the maximum tour altitude of 1,000 feet offered a perspective they’d never experienced. Chuck Sengstock, 83, found himself focusing on golf courses during the ride, “more than I ever knew even existed.”

The rides were offered free of charge as a thank you to the veterans for their service by the Carson City, Nevada-based Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation. Ageless pilots crisscross the nation each summer in the organization's three Stearmans just to win a big smile from hundreds of vets. A number of local media found the Ageless flight simply too special to pass up.

Rob MarkAuthor
Rob Mark is an award-winning journalist, business jet pilot, flight instructor, and blogger.

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