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80-year-old's wish: to fly plane

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 28, 2002

Doris Stebbins, who was one of the country's first female aviation machinists, got her 80th-birthday wish. She had wanted to take the controls of an SNJ, the same type of plane she had worked on nearly 60 years ago.

"I was extremely calm. It was a magnificent experience," Ms. Stebbins said of the 30-minute flight from the Warbird Museum in Kissimmee, near Orlando, on July 20.

She was helped with the takeoff and landing of the two-seater plane by flight instructor John M. Sausedo. Ms. Stebbins said getting in and out of the cockpit was the most difficult because of a knee injury.

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