lot of attention is being paid to the 75th anniversary of the Douglas
DC-3, and rightfully so. But another airplane from the Douglas fleet
will garner some deserved notice at AirVenture this year: a resurrected
Douglas Aircraft DC-7B, the product of a six-year restoration effort by
the Historical Flight Foundation (HFF).
The aircraft, N836D, was scheduled to
arrive with 35 HFF members onboard Saturday, July 25, from Miami’s
Opa-locka Airport. Roger Jarman, HFF president, said the airplane will
be on static display on AeroShell Square during its Oshkosh stay, and
cabin tours will be available.
The aircraft was acquired in 2004 after
sitting idle for 32 years at the downtown St. Paul Airport, Jarman said.
The four Wright R-3350-30W engines hadn’t run in some 15 years.
Of the 112 DC-7s produced, 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 Downtown Airport in St. Paul, Minnesota. 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. May 27, HFF successfully tested