HASKELL, TEXAS (KTAB) – 94-year-old Mutt Ivie took a flight back in time Wednesday afternoon as he soared above fields in a plane that once flew less-friendly skies during combat in World War II.
Ivie, a Navy veteran, was given a free ride in a 1940s open biplane by nonprofit Dream Flights. The organization travels across the country to provide living WWII veterans with the opportunity for a cruise in planes similar to ones they would have flown in during their service.
Before the propeller and engine sputtered to life – Ivie, clad in a leather cap, goggles, and headset gave a huge thumbs up and wave to the five generations of family members eagerly watching him from the tarmac at the Haskell Municipal Airport.
Volunteer pilot Marcus Smith says Ivie reached out to Dream Flights through social media to arrange the special ride.
“Mr. Mutt is actually very active on Facebook and reached out to us, we reached back instantly to make that connection,” said Smith.
The flight lasted about 15 minutes, Ivie laughing and waving to the familial crowd who cheered as the yellow biplane rolled to a stop – likening the experience to riding a roller coaster.
Throughout the entire flight Ivie carried a photo of his late wife of 72 years Bertie in his lap, making it a point to include her in this new adventure just as he’d done before her death last year.
“I didn’t want to go without her. We never went anywhere without each other,” said Ivie.
After deplaning, Ivie was given a commemorative hat by pilot Smith and signed his name on the red and white striped tail plane – making his signature a part of the next journey for the next veteran.
“It was awesome, just awesome,” said Ivie.