For 96th birthday, firefighter gives grandpa flying experience - FOX 35 News Orlando

For 96th birthday, firefighter gives grandpa flying experience

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What do you get a man who's been there for you, entertained you with his stories, and shared his wisdom and love of aviation with you?

It was a dilemma facing a valley man until he came up with the perfect birthday gift for his Grandpa Charlie.

Grandfather Charlie turned 96 last Sunday.

Phoenix firefighter Darrell Wiseman wanted to get him a special birthday gift, and after listening to grandpa Charlie's stories over the years, he knew the sky was the limit.

"Aviation's been my life, the military and civilian," says Charlie.

"The stories he would tell from when he was back in World War II, Korea and Vietnam… he tells some pretty neat in regards to his flying experience," says Wiseman.

So with the help of friend and pilot, Grandpa Charlie was once again airborne, reliving a childhood obsession that he turned into a lifelong passion.

"I can't remember that far back. I was just a little kid. That's when I got interested in airplanes."

"He's got so many aviation experiences in his past, it's kind of nice to introduce him to that again and take him up for a flight, and let him get the feel on how it is to fly sit in the front seat and kind of look out and enjoy himself," says pilot Brian Mangis.

The trio took off from Stellar Airpark in Chandler Wednesday morning and even though the flight only lasted a few hours, it brought back a lifetime of memories.

"It's a nice, very good birthday present. Brings back a lot of old memories," says Charlie.

A little more about grandpa Charlie. He started flying in high school in 1936.

After serving more than 20 years as an Air Force pilot, he made a living repairing aircraft and stopped flying in 1977, so today was a real treat.

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