Senior Veterans Soar In Open Biplane


After a wait of almost a year and a half, these Veterans got their wish!

(Contributed photos)

Nonprofit Dream Flights honored Brandywine Living at The Savoy Little Neck Queens & Brandywine Living at Huntington Terrace, Melville NY senior veterans with free flights of a lifetime in a restored WWII-era biplane, the same aircraft used to train aviators during WWII. During the 20-minute flight, Dream Flyers experience the freedom and exhilaration of soaring 1,000 feet in the air in an iconic, open-cockpit-biplane. The Flight took place at the Republic Airport in Farmingdale at 9:00am this morning.

The following veterans attended the Dream Flight this morning:

  • John Sarar: 91 years old, Navy, Seaman.
  • Vincent Panaro: 87 years old, Army, corporal. Vincent was stationed in Germany during the Korean War.
  • Gordon Nesbitt: 87 years old, Army, Staff Sergeant, 20 years of service during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
  • Arnold Gilbert: 89 years old, Army, Corporal, Korean War, attended jump school training to be a paratrooper.
  • Phillip Levine: 80 years old, Navy 6 years.
  • Joseph Reiher: 85 years old Army 8 years.
  • Fillmore Frank: 83 years old Navy Cold War 4years, 2nd class PO.
  • Gaetano Macchic: 93 years old, Army WWll 2 years.

“This was an event of a lifetime” said 91-year-old John Sarar, Brandywine at The Savoy resident.

Non-profit Dream Flights’ mission is to give back to those who gave. Since 2011, the nonprofit has honored nearly 6,000 veterans and seniors living in long-term care communities with free flights in restored WWII-era biplanes, the same aircraft used to train aviators in the 1930s and 1940s.

Dream Flights pilots, who primarily fly for major airlines and are active duty or retired military veterans themselves, volunteer their time to fly these veterans in the country’s largest fleet of restored/fully operational Stearman biplanes.

Dream Flights are always free to participants. The organization relies on corporate sponsors, donors, and individual donations to support its mission of giving back to those who gave.

–Submitted by Stephanie Gaber of Brandywine Living

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