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Dream Flights taking Naples veterans soaring through the skies

Dream Flights
Posted at 5:58 AM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 13:38:30-04

COLLIER CO., Fla. — A few lucky veterans will be soaring through the skies above Naples this morning.

It’s called ‘Dream flight’ and it's a non-profit organization honoring vets with the adventure of a lifetime. Flying in a Stearman biplane.

"It’s going to be the highlight of- well I don’t want to say the day or the week- might be the year," said Robert Fischer, Army Corps. of Engineers. "Who knows! I don’t know how it’s all going to unfold!”

For these three vets, their glory days are still ahead of them. Bob Fischer, Mike Stanton, and Jack Landis. All three of them live at Bentley Village. And all three will be taking a blast to the past.

“It’s a lot different from our everyday experience here at Bentley Village," says Fischer. "Bentley village does a great job but I don’t fly on the daily. I can go back and forth on my bicycle or in my golf cart or on my feet. It gives me a new opportunity.”

That’s because they’ll be soaring thru the skies in a Boeing Stearman biplane. Organized by Dream Flights.

“The connection with the dream flyer when you’re flying in the air with them- you can’t even put it into words," says Clint and Andrea Cawley with Dream Flights. "It’s really special because you can’t talk up in the air but you can see emotion on faces. There’s a little mirror where they can see us and we can see them. It’s really fun to share that bond and just to spend some quality time with them.”

It’s a way of saying ‘thanks’ to those who served their country. As well as renewing old habits.

“I wanna get back and experience something I was looking forward to and never could do,” said Mike Stanton, a Navy veteran. He's the oldest of the trio. During his time in the Navy, Stanton flew a total of 84 missions but he just missed out on piloting the Stearman.

“I missed it by one year," he says. "They phased out that training plane in 1949 and I joined the navy in 1950.”

And he’s not the only one taking flight.

“Looking forward to it because I’ve never been in a biplane," said Jack Landis, also a Navy veteran. "They made about 10,000 of them I think.”

Landis and Stanton are good friends and, come flight time, there may be some friendly competition as to who gets to ride first.

“I do outrank him,” says Landis laughingly.

“So you’re hoping to go up first, then?”

“Why not?” he says.

You can find more information about Dream Flights online right here.