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WWII pilot gets airborne for charity after 60 years on the ground

WWII pilot gets airborne for charity after 60 years on the ground

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SALT LAKE CITY — A World War II pilot who hasn't been in the pilot seat for 60 years took to the sky over Salt Lake City Saturday in a fully restored PT-17 plane.

89-year-old Keith Richards was flying a bomber during WWII when it had engine trouble and he was forced to land in the Soviet Union. He was one of 140 American's held under terrible conditions for six months.

Richard's flight was part of a program to help raise money for the War Bird Warriors Foundation which restores old planes.

Commemorative Air Force pilot Tim LaPage took Richardson up in a 1941 PT-17, which is similar to one Richardson trained in during the war. Richardson was thrilled to take over the controls after getting airborne.

"This plane is very sensitive compared to a bomber," Richards said.

Money raised Saturday will help fund the restoration of a newly donated Harpoon which the foundation hopes to have flying by next summer.


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