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'Dream flights' take WW2 veterans up to fly in biplanes

Dream Flight
Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 23, 2021

CLEARWATER — 94-year-old Jim McKee didn’t waste any time hopping in the cockpit.

He’s been looking forward to this flight for weeks.

“The first plane I flew in was a plane similar to this in 1931 or ’32. I was just a little kid. That was my first flight. This may be my last flight," he said.

Jim and other veterans are getting the chance to fly in this World War Two-era biplane thanks to a non-profit called Dream Flights.

“The whole experience is about 40 minutes where we honor our senior citizens, our senior veterans," said pilot Darryl Smith.

McKee served in the Navy, joining in 1945.

“The war ended by the time I got to Pearl Harbor. And so nobody shot at me. And I didn’t shoot back," he said.

Katherine Mckee, his wife of 54-years came to watch. So did his granddaughter.

Her son loves learning about World War Two from Grandpa Jim. Now after this flight, he’ll have another story to tell.

“The Stearman is awesome to go up in an open cockpit biplane. Just feel the air going across your face. And the view is awesome. It’s a perfect plane for them," said Smith.

Dream Flights is focusing on World War Two veterans during what they are calling Operation September Freedom. Life may have slowed down for guys like Jim, but not today.

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