Senior veterans soar the sky in World War II plane

elderly flights

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of elderly veterans got to relive their younger days, and they did so high above in the Albuquerque sky thanks to the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation.

Six residents from Paloma Landing Retirement were chosen to take off on a “dream flight” in a 1942 Boeing Stearman, the airplane used to train military aviators in the 1940’s.

They departed Double Eagle Airport. Each ride lasted between 15 and 20 minutes.

John Smatana, 85, who served in the Navy and Marine Corps said, “Everybody was excited about it. Like new kids on the block, we were ready to go.”

Another participant included Francis Asbury, 93, who served in the Army and Navy during World War II.

“I think you did a great job,” Asbury remarked to pilot Mike Sommars.

“Take them back to when they were the heroes of their generation,” Sommars said of the mission.

The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation has provided more than 1900 flights to veterans nationwide. The non-profit group helps vets living in care facilities. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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