Vintage plane set to visit Macau on 54-city round-the-world tour

Douglas DC-3, which is 77 years old, will be open to the public on April 24, but Hongkongers will have to travel to Macau to see it

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 April, 2017, 7:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 April, 2017, 9:57pm

The oldest aircraft to do a world tour is set to land in Macau as part of a 54-city trek around the globe to highlight the history of the second world war plane.

The 77-year-old plane will arrive at Macau’s airport on April 23 from Laoag in the northern Philippines and be open to the public in the Menzies hangar at the airport on April 24. It will leave for Taipei the following day.

A spokeswoman said Macau was selected “because it’s one of the fastest growing cities [and] airports in Asia”.

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Hongkongers who want to see the plane will have to travel to Macau to see it.

The Douglas DC-3 began its global tour on March 9 – the plane’s birthday – from Geneva in Switzerland, making its way across Europe, the Middle East, and now Asia. The tour is expected to conclude in late September.

The nearly 20-metre aircraft – now flying under the Breitling watch brand – made its maiden flight on March 9, 1940 in the United States. It was delivered to American Airlines just three days later.

The twin-engine propellor plane was hired by the US military from 1942 to 1944 during the second world war.

The plane has had a wide variety of uses during its life, including as a bomber, fighter, flying hospital, paratroop transporter and sightseeing aircraft.

The DC-3 was bought in 2008 by pilot Francisco Agullo and a group of friends who restored it to flying condition. It has taken part in air shows ever since.

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The first DC-3 was built and tested in 1935. Large-scale production started the following year. More than 600 planes were built.

The aircraft’s cruising speed is 250km/h – at least four times slower than today’s modern commercial jets.

The plane is known for its versatility and ruggedness and is still in operation today in various countries which use it for aerial spraying, military transport, skydiving and transporting freight.

After the world tour, the Breitling DC-3 will continue to fly, mainly in Europe, to promote aviation history.