Some of the Douglas DC-3 aircraft that will attend EAA AirVenture to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the venerable airplane are literally waking up in the weeds like Rip Van Winkle.
The blue and white DC-3 registered as N74589 lay dormant at Covington Municipal Airport in Oxford, Ga., for years, abandoned by its owner after a distinguished career. The aircraft towed a glider above the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, then returned to Seattle where it was fitted for a life as a cargo carrier. Atlanta East Aviation got control of it after a court fight and sold it to Clive Edwards of England who has experience in warbird restoration.
The aircraft began what is normally referred to as a 45,000-hour inspection only weeks before this year’s AirVenture. The inspection required wing removal, but little was found that might keep the airplane on the ground. It is well preserved and needed only new engines and a prop overhaul. John Dodd said a crew of five from the United Kingdom has worked day and night to get the aircraft ready.
“I’m multitasking while I am talking to you,” Dodd said, “looking something up on the computer.” He spoke from the Atlanta East Aviation FBO. “Every minute counts. We’re flat out,” he said.
The wings are on, the taxi test went well, and if a test flight doesn’t uncover any problems the aircraft will make its way toward Oshkosh, Wis., July 23 with a goal of arriving on the day AirVenture starts, July 26. After the show it will be prepared for a flight to England where it lived during its war hero days, never to sleep in the weeds again.