A provider and a charity teamed up to fulfill a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran’s dream of flying again.
Chartwell Retirement Residences and its partner charity Wish Of A Lifetime Canada helped Gordon Helm, 84, celebrate National Seniors Day by setting up a flight at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. He was able to help pilot a de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk over Ontario’s Hamilton International Airport.
Helm, who’s a resident at the Chartwell Lancaster Long Term Care Residence in Lancaster, Ontario, piloted a F-86 Sabre on the No. 4 Wing fighter squadron at RCAF Baden-Soellingen in West Germany during the 1950s.
He was forced to stop flying following an unnamed medical diagnosis after 13 years of serving in the Canadian Air Force. He said his “life ended when I was 29 as far as flying goes.”
Helm later went on to become an engineer and a chief operations engineer with Air Canada. He said last week’s flight was a reminder of his flying days.
“Aviation is my life,” he said. “I wish everybody had the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.”