“It brought back some old memories,” Carriker said. “Both good and bad.”
In WWII, Carriker accumulated over 600 hours of flight time in a B-24 bomber, the same model plan in which he flew in Sunday. As a pilot in the war, he flew 23 combat missions before coming home.
“It was a great thrill to stand there and listen to it crank up,” Carriker said. “Those engines just screamed.”
Carriker hasn’t flown in a B-24 in over 65 years and mentioned that he had forgotten just how loud they are.
The plane took off from Davidson County Airport in Lexington and spent 24 minutes airborne, according to Carriker. Most of the flight took him, his wife and other passengers over High Rock Lake.
“It was a beautiful sight,” Carriker said. “I enjoyed every minute of it.”
His wife Jacqueline Carriker said she just couldn’t understand how they stood flying in the B-24s, between the wind blowing through the cabin and the noise from the engines.
According to Carriker, around 100 to 150 people showed up to see the plane and watch it take-off, but only about 10 actually took flight.
He said he remembers meeting several ex-combat soldiers, but no other pilots besides the ones flying the plane and himself. There were flight navigators and fighters and those who just wanted to witness a piece of history.
“So many people would come up to me, shake my hand and thank me for what I’ve done,” Carriker said. “But I was only doing what I had to do.”
Carriker said he was impressed with the number of people who have taken interest in the history of the war, especially those who have a deep interest, knowledge or enthusiasm about it.
“A lot of them were impressed by the sight of that old airplane,” Carriker said.
According to Carriker, he was worried people had forgotten some of the history behind the war and why America fought.
Originally, the Carriker’s were scheduled to take-off on Oct. 31, but due to heavy cloud cover and subsequently a low cloud ceiling, the flight was delayed until Sunday.
“We would have taken off in that back then,” Carriker said. “But life isn’t quite as cheap now.”
Through an unidentified donation under Carriker’s name, his name had been painted on the side of the B-24 bomber.
“I look back and it’s sort of like a dream,” Carriker said. “Never thought I’d get the chance again, but I have.”