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Foundation Offers Free Flights to Seniors and Veterans

Paradise, Calif--Some residents of one retirement home in Paradise got to experience a dream flight today as they flew around Butte County in an open cockpit airplane for about 20 minutes.

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 4:35 PM

Paradise, Calif--Some residents of one retirement home in Paradise got to experience a dream flight today as they flew around Butte County in an open cockpit airplane for about 20 minutes.

Luckily those flights were free thanks to one foundation.

"I'm a little bit scared, but excited," said 92-year-old Leo Classen of Paradise.

Classen has flown in a small plane before, but nothing like the Boeing Stearman Biplane he's about to ride.

"I'm anxious to see how Paradise looks like from the air and where we stay. I've lived in Paradise for 40 years and I'd like to see it from on top," he said.

He's one of eight residents from the Feather Canyon Retirement Home who experienced a dream flight all thanks to the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation.

The non-profit, volunteer based organization offers free flights to seniors and U.S. Military veterans.

"Even though it's a small thing, it's something just to say thank you. Thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice. And for the elderly, thank you for your great life," said Irvin Miten, a ground worker with the foundation.

Classen is a veteran himself who was drafted and worked as an attendant for soldiers in a Livermore hospital.

The plane used today is the same kind used to train military pilots during World War II.

For many of the veterans, the flight is a trip down memory lane.

"This makes a huge difference in these individual's lives. People who have served, people who are in these care homes--it really brings them back to their youth, it brings them back to their sacrifices," Miten said.

Since launching in 2011, the foundation has been able to offer more than 1,900 flights, and many passengers leave with just one more thrilling to experience.

"It's all very positive, they said they loved it, so it's a good feeling to hear them say that," Classen said.

The foundation will be providing flights tomorrow to more residents in Chico and a lot of those participating have served in Germany, the Korean War and World War II.

If you'd like to donate to the foundation, you can do so by visiting their website, www.agelessaviationdreams.org.

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