Ageless Aviation: 'How it used to be when I was 20'
ROSEBURG, Ore. - Ralph Clark is a 95-year-old World War II veteran who has lived in Roseburg since 1927.
An active member of the VFW, you can find him volunteering for the Roseburg police department and working on the VFW memorial.
Clark underwent flight training in a Boeing Stearman in the 1940s. But before he got his pilot license, the military discontinued flight training in Roseburg.
While in the Army, Clark spent most of his time in the Philippines where he worked for flight service, maintained ships, repaired planes and dodged bombs.
On September 11, he got back up in the air in a Stearman for the first time in decades.
"I was so thrilled actually to feel the motions in the cockpit of how it used to be when I was 20," Clark said. "I can't thank you enough for the ride. It was so beautiful. Thank you."
Clark got the ride courtesy of the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation. The non-profit organizations gives senior veterans the opportunity to ride in the cockpit of a Boeing Stearman, the same model plane that many of them flew back in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Fishers, a local Roseburg family, established the foundation two and a half years ago to give back to those who have given.
"Most of our riders are in their late 80s, but our oldest rider is 102," said Executive Director Paul Bodenhamer said.
The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation will provide over 200 rides in the 1943 Boeing Stearman to World War II and Korean War veterans by the end of this year, Bodenhamer said.