On Monday, August 6th two residents from Pioneer Village in Jacksonville, OR were given the opportunity to once again sit in the cockpit and fly as they once had. Jack Merkle and John Braislim, both established veterans and pilots in their careers, had the opportunity of a life time thanks to the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation.
Mr. Merkle was a pilot of the classic F4U Corsair fighter in World War II. Upon showing up for his ride he wore his original helmet, goggles, and scarf that he flew with in WWII. He said it was wonderful to be able to fly in this Stearman and just getting to fly again for that matter.
“It was just like old times,” he said.
Mr. Braislim served in the US Army during the Korean War. His group was in charge of the first mobile TV center that brought education TV to the troops fighting the war. John was a pilot and some of the planes he flew were Interstates, BT-19, and BT-13. He had never been behind the controls of a Stearman until this flight and when he came back down he said it was absolutely wonderful. He said it was nice be in the air again.
The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization built on the philosophy of “Giving Back to Those Who Have Given”. The foundation’s focus is on recognizing seniors and veterans living in long-term care communities–helping them fulfill their dream of flying.
Having only started their journey last summer, the Ageless Aviation Dreams foundation is making great strides in their mission, having given flights in thirty states thus far with plans for many more in the future.
Radiant Senior Living was honored to work with Ageless Aviation Dreams to make this event possible.
See the full news article in the Mail Tribune of Medford, OR — It All Comes Back: Beaming Former Aviators Get Behind the Stick