ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A pair of local veterans took to the skies as part of a project honoring those who served in World War II. One of the vets said this flight was not only exciting but it also brought back a lot of memories.
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“I just thought it was great. I was scanning the instruments all the time because I was trained that way and it just seemed like getting back on a bicycle, I knew where we were going, I knew the altitude, the rpm and everything, and I know this area because I’ve flown around,” said Kenneth Eberhard.
Eberhard and another 94-year-old vet, Bernie Kuenzel got to take a 20-minute flight from the Sunport, at thousand feet above the ground in a restored Boeing Stearman biplane. The plane ride was made possible by Dream Flights, a nonprofit that goes around the country honoring veterans from senior living communities. Eberhard said he joined the Army when he was 17-years-old.
Eberhard says he later became a pilot and Wednesday’s flight was his first plane ride in almost 40 years. When talking about his service, he says he never thought he would survive. Eberhard did share a close call from a submarine attack near the Philippines just after he enlisted.
Many of the pilots who volunteered for Dream Flights fly for major airlines and are active duty or military veterans themselves. Dream Flights have honored more than 4,200 veterans and seniors living in long-term care communities over the past ten years.