Friday, November 02, 2007

American Airline's DC-3 Flagship Knoxville

Sitting on the hard stand at DFW yesterday was American Airline's Flagship Knoxville!
The Flagship Knoxville's last flight came on May 4, 1993. Piloted by Capt. William S. McCormick and Capt. Ray Newhouse, the aircraft was flown from Tulsa to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Capt. McCormick had previously flown the Flagship Knoxville in the 1940s and had accumulated more than 10,000 flight hours in Douglas DC-3s. From the D/FW Airport, the Flagship Knoxville was disassembled and towed to the C.R. Smith Museum. Lifted into place on the museum's patio by a pair of cranes, the aircraft served as a focal point of the then newly opened museum.
Unfortunately, during the following five years, exposure to Texas weather took a terrible toll on the Flagship Knoxville's markings and fabric covered control surfaces. The aircraft was removed from its perch in front of the C.R. Smith Museum on February 9, 1998 and towed to the American Airlines maintenance facility at D/FW Airport. A team of volunteers and American employees completed a second restoration of the Flagship Knoxville in the fall of 1998. The aircraft returned to the museum and was lifted into its specially built "hangar" in November 1998. The cost of the constructing the Flagship Knoxville's 10,000 sq. foot glass exhibit pavilion was supported by the sale of thousands of engraved bricks that make up its floor. Preserved and protected in its new home, the Flagship Knoxville continues to serve as a tangible reminder of American Airlines' early history and the golden age of World War II-era commercial air transportation.

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