The Douglas DC-3, which revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s, is universally recognized as the greatest airplane of its time and possibly beyond. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 DC-3s and military derivatives out of the total 16,000 produced are still flying today. This past weekend visitors to the Flabob Airport in Riverside, California had a unique opportunity to admire timeless beauty and durability of about a dozen of them during the first ever DC-3/C-47 Fly-In.
The collection included Douglas C-47 Skytrain “Willa Dean” from the Lyon Air Museum, DC-3 “Spirit of Benovia”, DC-3 “Thunderbird Flying Service”, DC-3 “Four Star Airways”, C-47 Skytrain “Virginia Ann”, C-47 Skytrain “Placid Lassie”, DC-3 “Flabob Express” and DC-3 (C-41A) with Golden Age Air Tours.
Visitors were able to get close to all of the airplanes and even tour some of them inside. Several of the DC-3s and C-47s were also available for short but unforgettable rides. As a side attraction some of the Flabob’s residents’ planes were also available for viewing and included a Beech C-45H Expeditor, de Havilland DH.88 Comet replica, Laird Turner RT-14 Meteor replica, Caudron C.460 Rafale replica and others.
We also got intrigued by a “Wright Flyer Project” sign on one of the airport’s hangars. As it turns out that inside, a group of volunteers is building a 1903 Wright Flyer replica that one day will recreate the famous Wright brothers first powered heavier-than-air manned flight. Visit the Wright Flyer Project website to learn more or to support the project with a donation.
We also met Dick Edwards, one of the Wright Flyer project volunteers, a former Douglas engineer who participated in a famous 1961 supersonic dive of the Douglas DC-8 over the Edwards Air Force Base. His collection of over 900 model planes is also available for viewing inside of the hangar.
The first ever DC-3 / C-47 Fly-In is expected to return to the Flabob Airport next year. Visit the Fly-In website for more information.