John Bixby's earns a living flying for an airline, but he lives to fly this WWII training aircraft called an AT-6.
"It's a handful. It was a handful to learn because of what it is. It's a quirky old war bird," he says.
The plane belongs to the West Houston Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. The organization is dedicated to preserving military aviation, especially World War II aviation.
Some of the members are vets, others like Bixby are not. But flying these airplanes make them feel connected to history, and the men who made that history.
"It's kind of humbling because when they did it, they were under wartime conditions. Hurry! Hurry! Go! Go! Go! It's such a fun airplane to fly. It's a thrill every time I start the engine. It's so cool it makes me giggle, but for these guys, it was a little more serious than that. You have to keep that in the back of your mind."
They were young men with few flying hours under their belts getting ready to take on the enemy in the skies.
The combat missions were dangerous and so were the training missions.
On November first the wing will go on its own mission, a mission to honor those who took on the enemy in the air, on the land or on the sea sixty years ago.
They will do a flyover of a luncheon honoring WWII vets put on by the West Houston Chamber of Commerce at the Omni Houston Westside.
"We want to have the room half veterans and the other half sponsors. We want sponsors to pay for the veterans to attend," says Jeannie Bollinger with the chamber.
Time is running out to get seats, and time is running out to honor WWII vets.
We are losing them at a terrible rate.
The planes of the Commemorative Air Force are well preserved and well cared for you have plenty of time left to see and appreciate them. but you don't have a lot left to appreciate the men and women who stood up to the enemy and earned the title "the greatest generation."
If you are interested in sponsoring a veteran for the luncheon, it's easy. Call the chamber at (713) 785-4922 or copy and paste this link to your browser. http://www.hwcoc.org/news-and-events/salute-veterans