Art of Aging: Retiree is living his best life

WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- When retirement hits, dream destinations vary. Many think about traveling to exotic locations, but a 62-year-old West Chester business owner shares why all he has to do is lookup.

Stephen Richards, owner of Brandywine Flight School says he is living his dream.

Richards was first a lawyer, then worked business operations in pharmaceuticals, leaving his true passion for flying on the backburner.

"It was fulfilling and paid a lot of bills, but. And then as I approached my 60s, I thought, well, if you're not going to do it now, when are you going to do it?" he said.

After corporate retirement, Richards purchased the Brandywine Flight School in 2016.

"We'll sit you in the pilot seat day one. The instructor will take off and land but once you're airborne, you're gonna fly," said Richards.

Richards focuses on ground operations, but there are nine, soon to be 10, flight instructors, who share his enthusiasm for aviation.

"The first time a student takes off unassisted they bring the nose up a little bit and the moment the wings take the weight of the airplane, that's magical," said Rick Laytham, Flight instructor of Brandywine Flight School.

Each lesson begins with a one-on-one discussion on the ground.

"Then you go up and execute," said Richards.

Students range in age from 16 up to 70, with differing goals. There are retirees.

Richard Bender, a student at Brandywine Flight School said, "It's fun just to go up and fly around because they have a nice array of airplanes. And I'm enjoying it very much."

Also, high school students looking to jumpstart their careers.

Student Jackson Fields said, "I decided this is like the path for me. The instructors here are great."

"To watch it all come together like this is amazing," added Richards.

Richards says he hopes the flight school enables others to live their passion too.

"If you want it badly enough, it's going to happen. It's a lot of fun," said Richards.
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