In his local favorite from 1972, singer-songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore asks, “Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?” More recently, did you ever see a DC-3 over Dallas by day? If you scanned the skies above our neighborhood on September 24, you may have seen (or heard) exactly that.

At 78-years-old, the Flagship Detroit is the oldest flying DC-3 in the world, and the twin-prop plane roared over Preston Hollow Thursday morning.

To kick off “Girls in Aviation Day,” which took place at the Frontiers of Flight Museum September 26, the bouncing DC-3 carried a precious cargo of local schoolgirls thanks in part to Women in Aviation International, a nonprofit determined to propel young women into aerospace and aviation industries. What better way to do that than to take a flock of younglings for a 45-minute joyride in a plane that could be older than their grandparents?

The Flagship Detroit DC-3, named after its city of origin, flew for American Airlines from 1937-1947. According to Zane Lemon, President of the Flagship Detroit Foundation, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a commercial aviation advocate, took this very plane to tour the Midwest. She always sat in the same seat. Seat 22.

Steve Jacobson, one of the Flagship Detroit’s captains, said that the plane transported American soldiers during WWII. After the war, and after shuttling suits for the Bank of Mexico, the plane was retrofitted as an insecticide sprayer to cull seasonal mosquito and gypsy moth swarms from Virginia to Florida.

Then, in 2004, the Flagship Detroit Foundation, staffed by volunteers and former aviation employees, purchased the aircraft and spent more than two years restoring it to its lustrous condition. It now tours the country with a nostalgic and educational agenda, hence its appearance in our neighborhood this past weekend. Scroll through the photo gallery above to relive the action.


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