Midlands residents honored with Ageless Aviation Dreams Flight

Published: Sep. 1, 2017 at 8:32 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2017 at 8:32 AM EDT
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CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - Two Midlands women were honored in Camden with an Ageless Aviation Dreams Flight - and their age didn't stop them from climbing aboard a restored World War II aircraft.

"I'll be excited when I get in there again – want to get on the plane!" veteran Barbara Francisco said. "It's not like I've never flown before."

Francisco served in the military as a sales and stock broker clerk during the war. But the 1940's restored Boeing Stearman, used to train military aviators in World War II, does bring back memories of flying with her late husband.

"I used to be afraid of heights and I wanted a swimming pool. He said, 'when you get up there, you look for swimming pools down there and it takes your mind off of being up high.' So, I learned to not be so afraid," Francisco said.

The non-profit Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation hopes to bring back nostalgic memories for seniors and vets. They travel all over the country, and Friday they brought eight seniors from Camden on board for the 15-minute Dream Flight.

Fellow World War II veteran Ruth Hoyt, 95, says she couldn't stay away from the military, making Friday's ride quite the surprise.

"Oh, very much so! This is the first time I've been on a small plane," Hoyt said.

As a wartime nurse, Hoyt said she's used to planes with four engines.

"There's only one engine. I said, 'that's a little shaky.' These planes are older than me," Hoyt laughed.

As she boarded the plane she couldn't contain her excitement, ready for takeoff with an Ageless Aviation volunteer pilot.

"It's just a wonderful organization. They do this out of the goodness of their hearts and they take good care of our seniors," Gary Brown, the executive director at Morningside of Sumter said.

The senior living community organized Friday's event with Ageless Aviation.

The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation has provided nearly 2,000 flights since they started back in 2011.

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