What could be the largest
Douglas DC-3/C-47 gathering in more than 60 years will be a centerpiece
of the aviation activities at EAA AirVenture 2010, "The World’s
Greatest Aviation Celebration," which will be held July 26-August 1
at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
EAA is working with a
large group of owners and operators of the venerable aircraft, which
commemorates its 75th anniversary in 2010, to bring their airplanes and
join the reunion at Oshkosh. The event is likely will be the final time
that more than 25 of these airplanes will be seen together, including
formation flights. It will also mark the final major reunion for scores
of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, crew chiefs and passengers that
flew, operated and traveled in these aircraft.
While exact details of
the weeklong festivities are still being finalized, planned activities
will include a mass formation arrival, a designated aircraft display
area, historical and technical forums/presentations, fly-bys and a
special evening DC-3 commemorative program at Theater in the Woods.
"The DC-3, in both
civilian and military configurations, has been a true workhorse aircraft
since it was unveiled in 1935," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president
and AirVenture chairman. "While the aircraft helped make air travel
popular and profitable in the 1930s and 1940s, the fact that it is still
used around the world today is a testament to the aircraft’s design.
We’re looking forward to welcoming these iconic aviation legends to
Oshkosh for AirVenture 2010."
Douglas Aircraft made the
first flight of its new DC-3 on Dec. 17, 1935 – the 32nd anniversary
of the Wright brothers’ first successful flight. It was first designed
as an all-metal passenger airliner, later evolving to a coast-to-coast
luxury transport complete with sleeping berths. By the late 1930s, it
was estimated that 90 percent of America’s airline passengers were
flying in the DC-3. More than 14,000 of the type were built, with some
10,000 of them used extensively in all World War II operations theaters
carrying the C-47 designation.
Fewer than 100 of the aircraft remain
airworthy in the United States. Thousands of those airplanes went into
civilian service after the war in countless applications, from freight
to fire suppression. The airplanes continued to be upgraded for many
uses today, with one of the world’s leading DC-3 converters - Basler
Turbo Conversions - based at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, also
home to EAA and AirVenture.