Chief Pilot Ray Fowler with The Liberty Foundation talks about the Boeing B-17 “Madras Maiden” that will be taking off throughout this weekend for $450 per person at the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport.

This Georgia pilot has flown more than 2,100 kids for free

One beloved pilot from Georgia has retired after flying thousands of kids for free for the past three decades. 

» RELATED: Viral photo: Mother and daughter pilot Delta Boeing 757 from Los Angeles to Atlanta

Kenneth “The Colonel” Sines of Columbus has been flying planes since he served in the Army in the 1960s. 

While he retired from the Army after 24 years of piloting, he continued to fly as a volunteer pilot for his local chapter of the Young Eagles, a program designed to give children between the ages of 8 to 17 an opportunity to experience flying at no cost.

Over the course of 27 years, he flew 2,155 kids in his fixed-wing plane. It was his way of giving back. 

“Taxpayers paid the way. I had 17 years of flying in the military, and I figure I owe something for the experience I had in the military,” the 84-year-old told the Ledger-Enquirer.

Sines is now retiring as the No. 14 pilot on the national association’s Pilot Century Club & Beyond list. He has the highest ranking in Georgia.

“Every time you take a kid for a flight and let them experience the flying, you can tell from their faces that they really are enjoying it,” Sines said.

Although he will no longer be flying, he said he still plans to volunteer at his local Young Eagles group in other ways. 

» RELATED: Atlantan first black woman pilot in Georgia Air National Guard

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.