Earlier today, Korean War Veteran Gerry Nadeau celebrated his 78th birthday by taking his first flight lesson at Ormond Beach Municipal Airport in Florida.
Nadeau’s first comment upon getting in the airplane was about the advanced radios and equipment in the Cessna 172SP, said Will Shaw, a CFI at Sunrise Aviation. The flight consisted of a short safety briefing on the use of safety belts and the emergency procedures for the C172 and then a flight up and down the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean. The C172 took off from Ormond Beach Municipal Airport’s runway 8 and a 90° turn southbound gave the Nadeau a great view of Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Ponce Inlet and the intercoastal waterway. The weather was perfect for the morning flight with mostly blue sky and light winds, Shaw reported.
Nadeau’s adventure was sponsored by Mike Erthal, who belongs to a local veterans support group. This group focuses on helping residents of the Emory L. Bennett Veterans Nursing Home in Daytona Beach. Erthal was assisted by several members of the local American Legion Post 267 in Ormond Beach including Fred Whatton (Sergeant-at-Arms), Richard Baumann (Finance Officer), and Ralph Hunnefeld who helped Nadeau enter and exit the aircraft. Though he arrived in a wheelchair, Nadeau was able to stand up and step into the airplane with a little help from his friends.
Nadeau suffered a stroke several years ago and has worked for months to be able to stand and get in the small plane. Recently, he was given the go-ahead by his caregivers at the nursing home to take the flight. Nadeau is also President of the Resident Council at the Emory L. Bennett Veterans Nursing Home.
Nadeau hopes his next adventure will include skiing once again in the mountains.
For more information: FlySunrise.com.