Thursday, September 21, 2000

With Delta, time really does fly

60-year-old DC-3 going in museum

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HEBRON — If the business of flying people from place to place doesn't work out, Delta Air Lines can fall back on something else — historic restoration.

[photo] Airship 41 is a restored DC-3 that was Delta Air Lines' first plane to turn a profit carrying passengers.
(Delta Air Lines photo)
| ZOOM |
        Wednesday, the airline presented its Airship 41, a meticulously restored DC-3 that was the company's first plane to turn a profit carrying passengers.

        The airline brought it to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport as part of a tour of major Delta operations.

        It was not available for public viewing, but Delta plans to highlight the plane at its Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum, scheduled to open early next year in Atlanta.

        The plane meets today's flight standards, although Delta officials said they were not planning to use it to generate revenue.

        The DC-3 is credited with launching the air travel industry by making it profitable. Delta stopped using DC-3s in 1963.

        The restored 21-seat plane was the second delivered to Delta, but the first to run a regular route. (The first was used to train pilots.)

        Officials would not disclose how much was spent on fixing up the plane, but it certainly was much more than the $115,000 Delta originally spent when it took delivery from Douglas Aircraft Co. on Dec. 23, 1940.

        Using volunteers and staff mechanics, every detail — from the color and pattern of the seats to the forward mail compartment — was researched and recreated.

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