World War II veteran dies weeks after his remarkable flight

World War II veteran dies weeks after his remarkable flight

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) -- One month after taking a remarkable flight, a World War II veteran in Colorado has passed away. At 101 years old. Col. Frank Royal died over the weekend.

Col. Frank Royal salutes after his final flight alongside White 33.

You may remember, recently he got a chance to take a ride with a warbird he once flew.

It's not often a veteran is reunited with the exact plane he flew. In fact, it's happened once at the Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs.

Col. Royal took a final flight with a plane he knew well. The veteran sat copilot last month in a chase plane flying beside a P-38. It wasn't just any P-38; he flew in that exact plane years ago, nicknamed "White 33."

"I'm glad I was able to be here and with so many of my family also. We've been visiting out here from time to time since they first brought it here from New Guinea and started working on it," Col. Royal said at the time.

The plane was damaged in a dogfight over Papua New Guinea. Eventually, it was brought to the museum.

On a chance encounter, while Royal's son was at the museum, he saw White 33 and knew right away.

"It was a nice flight. I got a good look at the B-25 with the White 33 right behind it up over the city and toward the mountains," said Col. Royal.

Family, friends and other veterans who lined the runway that day are now in mourning.

A remarkable reunion for Royal.

"Mentally, I was flying it," Col. Royal said when he got out of the chase plane.

"I'm hoping that I'll still be able to enjoy seeing, and perhaps even, my spirit taking a little ride in one now and again," he added.

Saluting the skies one final time. Funeral services are pending.

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