jeudi 26 janvier 2017

Getting HB-IRJ in the air again after 4 months of maintenance

We took the airplane out from the hangar for a thorough inspection  before its engine cowlings were put on. This allowed any leak, suspicious vibration to be detected. After that, Paul had to get his european DC-3 rating validated from his actual U.S. DC-3 rating. As a matter of fact, with such experience and airmanship, it took him the exact hour to be on his feet and ready to hit the road. 
I will have the chance to fly in Japan with Paul also, and crossing the Pacific next June towards Alaska. I am looking forward to it, to say the least!

This picture is taken mid-flight and Paul looks concentrated with his throttle management. The wonderful girl on the left is Marie, my One and Only, supporting me on that amazing tour with a load of love. Marie and I were quite busy that morning, having to put seat row back on the plane. Believe me, this is no easy task and required some attention as no one from us in the hangar had ever done this before.

 Hard work done!

The make up of a great adventure

Here we are, almost the end of January and our project seems too close to be real. Maintenance is still underway and a lot, I mean, A LOT still needs to be done to allow our venerable DC-3 HB-IRJ to be certified for its Round the World Tour. Let me first give you some insight on what we are planning to do and who is HB-IRJ.
Back in August 2016, Francisco Agullo, the Chief and Founder of the Breitling DC-3 told us about his project to fly around the World with his DC-3. That particular model is a DC-3A and was rolled out on March 12, 1940 under the name "Flagship Cleveland" with the construction number 2204 to American Airlines. During WW II, from  April 4th, 1942 to April 1st ,1944, the aircraft was leased to the U.S. Army and based in Europe. Upon returning from War, American Airlines took the aircraft back and sold it later to Trans Texas Airways on February 24th, 1949. This Airline which became Texas International operated the aircraft until 1968.
A year later Tradewinds restored it completely and sold it in December 1971 to the famous PBA (Provincetown Boston Airlines). Registered now as N34PB, it operated on commercial flights until 1987 when it changed colors to Eastern Express. A year later Bar Harbour Airlines leased the aircraft but also quickly put it on storage. N34PB was then preserved for four years until Champlain Air bought it in 1992. A complete restoration took place in 1995 and the DC-3A received a new registration N922CA. In November 2008, Francisco Agullo and a group of friends bought the airplane with the intention to make it fly in Switzerland and Europe. It was again registered new and  is now HB-IRJ, an old liner with a proper liner registration and can carry 20 persons and is fully IFR.
So now, with this beauty in hands, the whole Team was about to enter a new era, flying across almost every continent, from Geneva up to Geneva!