A military aviator from World War II got to travel back in time on Wednesday.
Not only did he take a ride in a Boeing Stearman, he took control of the wheel in the same type of plane he learned to fly in seven decades ago.
Wearing his old bomber jacket, 92-year-old WWII fighter pilot Robert Capen took off for his flight.
“I was in the Pacific with the 35th Fighter Squadron. Which was a lustrous group. They started down in New Guinea, and I joined them in the Philippines and from there to Okinawa," he said.
The open cockpit was a brisk reminder of what it used to feel like.
“Having that wind blowing in your face, I like that," he said.
Capen used a 1970s Coca-Cola commercial to help describe his experience.
“Cause as soon as that baby hit full power and it lifted off, I thought 'it’s the real thing.' Yeah! That was so good," he said.
Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation brought the plane to KCAC Aviation in Olathe.
The idea is to give seniors and vets a “dream” flight. One that will take them back in time.
“These are folks that have given so much to us," said the non-profits Founder, Darryl Fischer.
Capen even got to be the pilot.
“It’s amazing because it’s like he never left. You can just tell the rudder pedals and everything, he knew exactly what he was doing. And I’m just sitting there thinking about what he’s done for me. Basically, I was just saying to myself, I am literally in the presence of greatness," Fischer said.
Several generations of Capens family came to the airport to watch him fly.
“To see him in that plane just beaming and his little jaunty hat on, he was just such a natural. It was an incredible opportunity to honor him,” said Capen’s daughter, Ann Hunt.
The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation has provided nearly 3,000 flights since they started back in 2011.
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