98-year-old World War II vet flies in same plane and Decatur field wherehe trained

The World War II vet also got to see his great-grandson fly alone for the first time.

Posted: Oct 13, 2019 5:35 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2019 7:33 AM

A World War II veteran got an experience of a life time this weekend.
His family flew him out from Atlanta to Decatur, where he got to feel like he was going back in time and fly in the same plane he trained in 75 years ago.

98-year-old Arvel Buck has been looking forward to this weekend for a long time.

"I'm grateful that they went through all this trouble and expense for me. I'm humbled," Buck said.

He learned to fly on a Stearman airplane at the Pryor Regional Airport in Decatur during World War II. On Saturday, he got to fly one again.

"I never thought I would be able to get to do this," he said.

Not only did Burk get a chance to relive his past, but he also caught a glimpse of the future because for the first time ever his great-grandson was able to fly by himself in the same field he learned to fly 75 years ago.

"I'm not worried a bit. He's more than capable," Buck said before take off.

David Thompson has been flying with his family for as long as he can remember. With a family full of pilots, it was no question that he wanted to fly too.

"My great grandfathers flew in World War II. Grandfathers flew in the airlines. Grandmothers were flight attendants in the airlines. My dad has been flying. To continue his legacy of flying and my family's legacy of flying. It's just a great experience. I'm honored to see that and be a part of it," Thompson said.

Without a doubt in his mind, Burk gladly watched his 16-year-old great grandson take off for the first time by himself. A memory he can easily recall.

"Do you remember what you were thinking right now?" a family member asked him.
Burk chuckles as he answered, "Scared to death."

David was able to safely land after a couple of laps. As tradition for a pilot flying for the first time, the back of his shirt was cut off, which will always remind him of the experience he got to share with his great grandfather.

"I will definitely remember seeing my great-grandfather on that taxiway as I came in from my first solo," Thompson said.

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