DANVILLE, Va. (CBS) — Andy Waggoner was surprised by all of the attention when he arrived at the Danville, Virginia airport Saturday afternoon.

The World War II vet is a former Navy pilot with a love of the sky.

Next week he celebrates his 97th birthday.

In honor of the upcoming occasion, Waggoner and his wife Ruth climbed into a four-seater plane and enjoyed the sweeping views of the city below.

“I started flying when I was a junior in college, and I’ve been flying ever since,” said Waggoner. “To me, it’s a very relaxing moment. if you enjoy flying.”

Waggoner declared the flight a success, complimenting his pilot when they reached the ground.

For the students at the aviation school, they say flying with a World War II hero is something they’ll never forget.