Nonprofit honors Hoosier veterans with ride in WWII-era biplane

INDIANAPOLIS — Seven senior veterans were honored for their service by getting the chance to soar 1,000 feet in the air in a restored WWII-era biplane that departed from Eagle Creek Airport on Indy’s west side Tuesday morning.

The nonprofit organization Dream Flights honored several seniors and veterans residing at Worthington Place Assisted Living in Camby with free flights in an “iconic, open-cockpit-biplane” reminiscent of the much-lauded WWII-era biplane.

“Oh you could see everything, way out of the houses, you could see the water,” said Troy Abbott, an army veteran from Mooresville. “I’ve flown in a regular plane and a helicopter but never in a small plane like this.”

Since its inception in 2011, Dream Flights has honored nearly 6,000 veterans and seniors residing in long-term care communities by providing them with free rides in open-cockpit biplanes, similar to the aircraft that was utilized during the 1940s to train up-and-coming pilots.

According to the nonprofit, Dream Flights pilots fly for major airlines and are active duty or retired military veterans who volunteer to operate the restored Stearman bi-planes.

“It is so fulfilling it’s unbelievable,” said Richard Norris, crew chief for Dream Flights. “When they land, their hearts are full.”

To learn more about the organization, click here.

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