A 92 year old retired pilot gets to take to the sky again, thanks to a special program

Local News

BELOIT (WTVO) – A nursing home resident battling dementia gets to re live one of his greatest memories. Charlie Smythe, a retired pilot got to take to the sky again.

Charlie Smythe started flying in the early 1960’s.

“There’s kind of a funny story about how he started flying. He actually won about $1200 in a poker game, and he always wanted to fly, so took that money, went out, took some lessons, actually got his pilot’s license.”, Charlie’s Son, Jerry Smythe said.

Now Charlie lives at Azura Memory Care in Beloit, battling dementia.
The staff their figured out that it was Charlie’s dream to fly again and wanted to give him one last memory in the sky. At 92 years old, Charlie hasn’t flown in over 30 years. But Azura Memory Care was able to team up with Elevation Air Flight School in Janesville in order to make his dream of flying again a reality.

Cassandra Zimmer from Azura Memory Care helped organize the flight.
She says the Mosaic Dreams Program helps people recapture happiness from their past.

“These special days are able to tap into those long-held memories, and I think we all saw him hopping back into that pilot’s seat, his face lit-up a little bit, and it’s really just putting him back in that moment when he experiences joy.” Cassandra Zimmer said.

Charlie’s son Jerry says it was incredible to see his dad fly again.

“To actually have an opportunity where you can rekindle some long-lost memories and dreams this is amazing.”, said Jerry. He continued, “I gotta say I got a little choked up.”

Spencer Anderson is the elevation air instructor who was in the plane with Charlie. He was excited to be a part of the dream flight.

“It’s a huge day for me. I like being that person that can help out when they can.” Elevation Air Flight Instructor, Spencer Anderson said.

He even let charlie take the wheel. It all added up to a special day for the 92-year old. The Azura Mosaic Dreams Program has turned a number of other dreams into a reality like a night at the Brewers game, meeting a circus elephant, and dancing with Bucky the Badger.

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