DC-3 Nostalgia Follow-Up

Monday, January 24, 2011

Last month’s Capers tribute to the DC-3 became part of a conversation, both here and on Facebook, that included several of my former students and a couple of students who graduated from Lomalinda before my time.

Garth Harms obtained this picture from photographer Jeff Evans, who spent a couple of months in Colombia just before I got there. That dates the picture to late ’83 or early ’84.



Photo by Jeff Evans


It’s authentic, right down to the left-wheel and rear-wheel ruts where the plane pivoted to put its passenger door facing the covered waiting area. The entire community was here to receive my family when we stepped off the plane the first time, and in turn, we joined the crowd for countless welcomings and goodbyes. Departures had a ritual: after final hugs, the doors closed but the waving continued. Then the engines would rev (first one side, then the other) and well wishers would jump on motor cycles for a race to the last hill at the end of the runway, for final salutes as the gooney bird lifted off. This airplane was central to so many emotional moments that just looking at the picture—all these years later—touches a nerve.

One educational advantage that students in Lomalinda enjoyed was an unusual opportunity for work experience during high school. Kirk Garreans tells me he had the privilege of working alongside the DC-3 crew. Through his connections, he also came up with the fact that DC-3s continue to be active in the relief efforts in Haiti. Ponder that a moment: the
youngest DC-3s are 65 years old, and still play a role in work-a-day aviation. Amazing.

Kirk also traced “our” DC-3 to its current owners, Dynamic Aviation, of Bridgewater, Virginia. The firm supplies “special-mission aviation solutions,” with over 150 aircraft doing commercial charter, fire management, sterile insect application, airborne data acquisition and other tasks. Before writing my first post, I was 90% certain I’d found the airplane, but Kirk’s information locked it. Dynamic Aviation restored the craft (N47E) to its original, 1943, Air Force paint job and insignia, and renamed it “Miss Virginia.” Here it is:



Finally, Kirk reported that Miss Virginia was part of the twenty-six plane, 75th Anniversary Fly-In to Oshkosh. Several nice videos are posted on You-Tube. Here is one:



A tip of the wings to all who participated in this conversation.


(My earlier post is here.)

7 comments:

Brian,

What a great pair of writings. Wonderful not just for their history, but also the emotional ties.

Amazing progress in aviation to think it took only 32 years to go from Kitty Hawk and barely off the ground to a utilitarian plane still in use today.

Thanks.

Steve

Steve said...
January 25, 2011 at 12:47 PM  

What a beautiful plane. There is something about its shape and color that bring you back to when that look was "modern."

January 26, 2011 at 12:35 PM  

It's amazing how many advances aviation has taken over the years. It's crazy to think 30 or 40 years ago they thought we'd be in flying cars by now.


http://www.edenpuresale.com

C said...
February 3, 2011 at 10:13 PM  

C, Steve Saint actually has a flying car. The biggest problem I see with it is in crowding up the sky. You wouldn't want 20,000 of these commuting to work over L.A.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc6aNymEg7s

Brian said...
February 3, 2011 at 10:23 PM  

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