Historic DC-3 ‘Flagship Tulsa’ Makes a Return Flight Home

HISTORIC AIRCRAFT: Kim Jones, Tulsa Air and Space curator, unveiled the DC-3 aircraft in front of members of the community at its homecoming Aug. 29 at TASM.


The historic DC-3 known as “Flagship Tulsa,” made a return flight on the back of a semi truck. Kim Jones, Tulsa Air and Space curator, unveiled the DC-3 aircraft in front of members of the community at its homecoming Aug. 29 at TASM.

The Flagship Tulsa was originally built for American Airlines Flagship Fleet in 1939. TASM will be partnering with American Airlines’ Tulsa Maintenance Base, the Transport Workers’ Union Local 514 and other area aerospace companies to fully restore it to flying condition. Two local aviation enthusiasts, Don Newman and Pete Kourtis, made the donation to TASM in memory of their fathers who instilled the appreciation of aviation in them. Jones stresses the need for area industries to donate their expertise and tools in rebuilding the Flagship Tulsa.

“We want it to be a Tulsa project. Not a Tulsa Air and Space project or American Airlines project; a Tulsa project,” he says.
The goal is to have the aircraft flying the air show circuit in its original 1940’s vintage look in about three years.

“It’ll look like it did in 1940 in Tulsa,” says Jones.

After flying ten years for American, Flagship Tulsa flew in passenger service for Trans Texas Airways, Air New England, Provincetown-Boston Airlines and Aero Libertad in Mexico. It was ultimately sold to Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wis. where the aircraft was stored since 1994. A group of TASM volunteers traveled to Oshkosh to dismantle Flagship Tulsa for shipping. Melton Truck Lines, Inc. donated the trucking and shipping services needed to transport the DC-3 to Tulsa. Anyone interested in donating parts, labor or funds to aid in the restoration of Flagship Tulsa can contact the Tulsa Air and Space Museum at 918-834-9900.

Updated 10-21-2008

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