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‘Ageless Aviation’ helps local veterans relive younger years with flight

A group of veterans found their heads in the clouds for a short time Thursday as they flew in a restored World War II era Stearman airplane.

“It was fantastic,” said Army veteran David Gagne minutes after he climbed out of the plane. “It was a little cool. It was cold around the edges up there.”

Gagne was one of eight residents of the Lawton Veterans Center who enjoy the opportunity to take a 15-minute flight in the skies above Lawton-Fort Sill courtesy of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation. The volunteer organization tours the country with a fleet of five Stearman airplanes, in which they offer veterans in assisted living centers a chance to fly — perhaps one last time — and relive their memories in the military service.

Lynn Sommars, crew chief, said the organization was established in 2011 by Darryl and Carol Fisher. The couple knew a former general in the 1990s who was getting older and was in need of an assisted living center. They owned an old WWII era airplane and wanted to give the man one last ride in the plane. It was a huge success and inspired what would later become Ageless Aviation.

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