A 1940 Douglas DC-3 airplane — once used by Skydive Chicago for parachute jumps — went airborne from the company’s airstrip in Dayton this morning for the first time in 13 years.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” explained Skydive Chicago Owner Rook Nelson as he watched the classic aircraft lift off into the skies. “The plane has been here since 1998 and we used it as a jump plane until 2003 when we parked it because it was getting too expensive for us to maintain. Since that time, it had become sort of a (historical) landmark for the business here.”
Nelson said the airplane was previously owned by a man in Texas and was recently purchased by Shell Creek Aerospace, based out of Punta Gorda, Fla., to be completely overhauled for possible commuter passenger flights in the future.
He said the plane was damaged when it was tossed around in a severe storm about 10 years ago, crushing a wing.
“The folks from Shell Creek spent about three months all together during three different trips up here to repair the wing and fix up the plane just enough to get her down to Florida for the major work,” Nelson said. He said the crew had to apply by a ferry permit from federal authorities to fly the craft from Dayton to Florida.