Seniors soar high above Carson Valley
For five months, Norman McCormick has been walking the halls of Carson Valley Senior Living in preparation to take to the skies.
The 80-year-old Navy veteran was one of six from the senior living facility to take flights courtesy of Ageless Aviation Dreams.
“I enjoyed the whole thing,” McCormick said of his ride in the Stearman Biplane. “They taught me how to operate the stick, and I was flying right along with them.”
Ageless Aviation has given more than 1,200 flights over five years.
Pilot Darryl Fisher combined his passion for aviation with giving back to seniors and senior veterans into a single program.
“We have a group of people who are first of all heros and second of all we are saying ‘thank you’ in a very unique way,” he said. “It puts a spring in their step and it’s priceless to me and I’m sure it is to them.”
The spring Fisher spoke of was all the motivation McCormick needed to get moving in order to be able to fly.
Tears ran down Connie Kahn’s face as she watched her “Uncle Norm” take off from Minden-Tahoe Airport on Friday.
“This has inspired him to walk again and get his arm strength up for this day, that’s why we’re all so emotional,” Kahn said. “This organization has really inspired my uncle to be healthy for the last five months.”
Another person swiping tears as she snapped photos of McCormick in his flight cap in the open-cockpit plane was Carol Wilson, director of life enrichment at Carson Valley Senior Living.
The six residents who took flights Friday were the first from the Gardnerville-based facility.
“It’s an amazing day,” Wilson said. “It’s an amazing experience to see our residents find that energy to pull themselves up and get in that plane. We’re so proud of our veterans at Carson Valley (Senior Living.)”
Wearing his new signed Ageless Aviation hat like a crown, McCormick was already planning his next flight.
“I had a great time,” he said. “I’d do it again on a moment’s notice. In fact I’d do it again right now. Gas that thing up and stick me in it.”
Ageless Aviation has grown since its first year from giving 50 flights to close to 600 this year.
Besides Fisher, there are 25 other pilots that volunteer their time to honor seniors and senior veterans across the country.
“Not a single one of us is paid to do this,” Fisher said. “If you think about it we are paid in satisfaction. We do it because we want to honor folks like Norman.”
For more information about Ageless Aviation Dreams visit http://www.agelessaviationdreams.org.