Historic aircraft restored to its former glory

Published: Aug. 16, 2015 at 3:13 AM CDT
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FREDERICK, Okla._In the shadow of the 70th Anniversary of Victory Over Japan Day, marking the end of WWII a local airborne demonstration team worked to restore a historic aircraft Saturday.

About a dozen members of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team helped continue the restoration of a DC-3 aircraft at the municipal airport in Frederick Saturday.

The former 1940 DC-3 passenger plane or "Boop D Doop" as they lovingly call her, sure has a story to tell. One that goes beyond her years serving in the war, following its use by the military in WWII it was used in the 1973 Super Bowl half-time show.

"It demonstrated the strength of two pickup frames attached to the landing gear, so it's a pretty famous aircraft," said Wolf.

Founder of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team Richard Wolf says it was most recently used by Mission Air in Florida.

"Utilized for taking supplies and missionaries to South America for the later part of its life," said Wolf.

The plane was purchased by the non-profit from Mission Air in 2000 for more than $70,000, after the tail was damaged in a hurricane. Wolf says they want to keep its history intact, including its special paint job.

"White and black painted on the wings and around the fuselage in certain places. This was during WWII during the D-Day operation. It was a method of identifying our American or Allied aircraft going into enemy territory, so that they didn't shoot them down by accident," said Wolf.

David VanPaepeghem has been helping to work on the DC-3 since February to help get it flight-worthy. He says Saturday they placed the second engine on the aircraft.

"There is about 100 hoses on the back side of that thing that have to go to the right place on that so we have been checking and double checking making sure that we get them all back in the right place. Making sure the exhaust stacks sit up right and proper and just basically giving it a once over," said VanPaepeghem.

The group does jump demonstrations all across the U.S. for veterans seeing about 1,000 jumpers a year hop out of their other aircraft, a 1941 C-47. The WWII demonstration team hopes to turn the DC-3 into a C-47 continuing to expand their capabilities of honoring veterans. When the plane is able to fly it will be moved to the Tulsa Technology Center's campus in McAlester. Once at the campus the team can continue its restoration.