Veterans Soar with Dream Flights at Chicago Executive Airport

Hal Dyer with family after his Dream Flight.

On July 31, 2023, Covenant Living of Northbrook and Signature Flight Support teamed up to give local US war veterans a Dream Flight at Chicago Executive Airport. Made possible by the non-profit organization, Dream Flights, these honorable veterans took a ride in the Spirit of Wisconsin piloted by Darryl Smith. The plane, as pictured to the left, is a 1943 Stearman once used to train military aviators during WWII. The plane now offers a trip down memory lane for veterans across the United States.

The seven local veterans that visited CEA were WWII, Vietnam, and Korean War veterans, all with a special connection to the evolving world of aviation. Sitting in the front seat of the open cockpit Stearman, each had the opportunity to view the Chicagoland area from a familiar perspective. Pointing out their homes, their military bases, and landmarks in their remarkable careers, the gentleman who disembarked from the aircraft were joyful and renewed.

Front seat (co-pilot): Ken Padgitt; Back seat (pilot): Darryl Smith Landing the Spirit of Wisconsin.

The Stearman was provided by Dream Flights, an organization that strives to serve those who served and give war veterans a chance to touch the sky one more time. Darryl Smith, his wife, and a few volunteers from Dream Flights’ sponsor, Supercuts, gave the veterans and their families a safe and happy memory that will be cherished for a lifetime. For more information about the program, visit

(Feature photo contains a Vietnam War veteran just before take off in the Spirit of Wisconsin.)