Posted 9/17/19

A piece of history will be landing in Cleveland soon. The Flagship Detroit, the world’s oldest flying DC3, will be at Cleveland’s Regional Jetport Sept. 21 and 22, for two days of tours and rides for the public.

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A piece of history will be landing in Cleveland this weekend.

The Flagship Detroit, the world’s oldest flying DC3, will be at Cleveland’s Regional Jetport for two days of tours and rides for the public.

The vintage passenger plane, which was built by McDonnel Douglas 1937, will be here Saturday and Sunday.

During a recent press conference, the Jetport’s Director of Operations and Jetport Manager Mark Fidler said the aircraft is a “flying museum” that served the Midwest region of the United States from 1932 to 1945.

“It’s the only one still flying,” Fidler said.

Plane rides will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Cleveland Mayor Emeritus Tom Rowland said he and his wife Sandra flew on the plane when it visited an airport near Chattanooga.

“It’s one of the safest planes ever built,” Rowland said, adding that he thought the plane needed to visit Cleveland, as well.

During its heyday, the 21-passenger Flagship Detroit was operated by American Airlines. It is now operated by the Flagship Detroit Foundation, which purchased and restored the historic aircraft.

Fidler said when old planes retire from commercial service, many are scrapped.

“Some are parked and forgotten and a special few end up in a museum,” he said. “But few fly on.”

According to a press release, a former American Airline chief pilot, Zane Lemon, purchased the plane in 2004 and restored it to its original 1937 condition. The process took two years, with much of the interior replaced, including the installation of a new galley and lavatory.

In addition, “workers at an American Airlines base in Tulsa, Okla., hand built exact replicas of the seats to supplement the seats they were able to find.”

Fidler said this is a great opportunity for students to learn about our country’s aviation history.

“Plus, it’s a great piece of history for aviation buffs of all ages,” he said.

The Civil Air Patrol will also be hosting a pancake breakfast at the airport from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday where they will be serving pancakes, sausage, eggs, orange juice, chocolate milk, tea and coffee for $5.

Hot dogs will also be available Saturday afternoon.

The breakfast will help support the Civil Air Patrol Cleveland Composite Squadron, which operates as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit.

According to a press release from 2nd Lt. Debbie Jones, squadron commander, "CAP performs services for the federal government as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force and performs other missions as a nonprofit organization, as called upon to do so."

Jones said CAP is "one of the best-kept secrets in the country.

"The cool thing for young adults is that they get to learn how to fly planes for free," Jones said. "Additionally, they train as radio operators and also learn military customs and courtesies, rocketry and honor guard, along with other subjects."

The public may tour the plane’s interior. Rides are offered through a $100 membership fee paid to the nonprofit Flagship Detroit Foundation. Membership provides free rides anytime where the Flagship Detroit is displayed.

For more information, call the Cleveland Regional Jetport at 472-4343.


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