A Douglas Aircraft DC-7B, the product of a six-year restoration effort by the Historical Flight Foundation (HFF), has been confirmed to appear at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010. After a lengthy and thorough restoration, it's almost ready to return to the skies. The four-engine airplane is in the final stages of FAA certification with a final inspection scheduled for later this month at its base at Opa-locka Airport in Miami, Florida.
Roger Jarman, HFF president, announced that the airplane would carry 35 passengers to AirVenture Oshkosh from Miami. The flight is planned for Saturday, July 24, and while in Oshkosh it will be on static display on AeroShell Square where visitors will be able to tour the cabin.
"The aircraft was acquired in 2004 after sitting idle for 32 years at the downtown St. Paul Airport," Jarman said. "Its four (Wright R-3350-30W) engines hadn't run in some 15 years."
Of the 112 DC-7s produced, this particular airframe (N836D) is the only one surviving in passenger configuration. It was first operated by Eastern Air Lines and later by several flying clubs before being parked at St. Paul, Minnesota Downtown Airport. It was acquired by Marc Wolff and Carlos Gomez in 2004, who donated it to the HFF.
After the replacement of two of the four engines and other preparations, the airplane was ferried to Opa-locka in September 2004 to begin a complete restoration. More than 65 percent of the original aluminum skin and outer wing panels have been repaired or replaced. It has 60 seats and is painted in the original "Red Falcon" paint scheme it was delivered with in January 1958.
Earlier this year the FAA granted the HFF an exemption request to conduct "living history flights" in the airplane and plans are to provide flights as it tours the continental U.S. in the coming years.
Another unique quality of N836D: It's the only DC-7B aircraft in the world equipped with evacuation slides - retrofitted from a Boeing B-727-200. Last Thursday, May 27, HFF successfully tested them.
The 1,335-mile Miami-to-Oshkosh flight is reserved for HFF annual members. The trip will be about 5 hrs 40 minutes at altitudes ranging from 3,500-6,500 ft., cruising at 205 knots. They may make a fuel stop along the way. It will be staffed by a complete cabin crew with beverages and "elegant" refreshments served. Passengers will also receive a special set of souvenirs commemorating the flight.
To learn more about accompanying the flight, send an e-mail as soon as possible to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the airplane, visit www.N836D.com. Also visit the HFF's YouTube Channel.