“If I died right here today,” he said. “I’d die a happy man.”

Charlie Taylor’s hands, wrinkled and mottled, grasped the wheel firmly.

His feet, in old-guy black Rockports, moved the rudder pedals.

In his eyes was a look of fierce concentration.

On his face: a beatific smile.

The 88-year-old WWII pilot, who flew 36 missions in a B-24, took the controls of a restored bomber in the sky over Alamance County on Wednesday afternoon.

It was his first time in 64 years.

And I’d bet that, despite his protestations, he flew just as well as he did then.

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