The old cliché’ that states “nostalgia is regression” was recently rendered to be obsolete. The 2010 Oshkosh air show (AirVenture) showcased A DC-7B that took us back to the glory days of commercial aviation. The aviation community salutes the Miami based Historical Aircraft Foundation for its presentation of the immaculate ex-Eastern Airlines DC-7B (N836D) at Oshkosh.
While the 21 DC-3s got star billing amongst the old classic airplanes, the shiny, squeaky-clean DC-7 with its beautiful early-era Eastern Airlines paint scheme was the highlight of the Aero Shell Square center stage. It was parked in the midst of numerous classic aircraft such as; the Ford Tri-motor, F-4 Phantom, and the behemoth C-5A, but its presence dominated the scene.
The interior of the aircraft, with its spacious seats, and white, headrest replaceable covers, was a contributing element of the ambience that was so prominent in the “golden era” of commercial flights when the “stewardesses” would be in a constant state of extending themselves to the highest possible level of cabin service. It also takes us back to a time when airline flight crews were held in high esteem and treated by their employer as assets rather than liabilities
If you have been fortunate enough to have experienced the crew coordination required to effectuate a successful flight in a reciprocating four-engine aircraft, you are then aware that flying this aircraft extends the meaning of CRM (Cockpit Resource Management), to a higher level. An “old salt,” MIA “corrosion corner” DC-6 engineer once stated that operating one of these old Douglas four- engine airplanes was “ kind of like running a large, airborne 19th Century factory.”
The aviation community should offer extensive kudos to the many dedicated people that made this project possible. Marc Wolf and Carlos Gomez are to be congradulated for seeing their vision come to fruition and all of the behind the scenes contributors, both financially and physically, should also receive their plaudits. Only those that were there and participated understand how much effort was necessary to resurrect N836D. The restoration of this aircraft by the Historical Flight Foundation was a wonderfully noble deed and their ongoing mission is as equally noble.