DC-3 drops in on Duluth
Dan Gryder dropped in on Cirrus Design today during day four of what he described as a nationwide barnstorming tour to promote general aviation. He touched down behind the yoke of his 71-year-old Douglas DC-3. "This is a magnet," Gryder said, ges...
Dan Gryder dropped in on Cirrus Design today during day four of what he described as a nationwide barnstorming tour to promote general aviation.
He touched down behind the yoke of his 71-year-old Douglas DC-3.
"This is a magnet," Gryder said, gesturing toward the airplane parked on the tarmac in Duluth. "It draws attention no matter where we go."
Just in case the vintage airliner wasn't enough, Gryder pulled out a guitar and enlisted the services of a flight mate and fiddler, Jeff Pritchard. The duo performed a bluegrass ditty in front of the DC-3 moments after landing in Duluth.
The old bird arrived following a stop-over on Mackinaw Island. Nine other pilots accompanied Gryder as passengers and co-pilots on his costly adventure.
He said a DC-3 consumes about 100 gallons of fuel per hour of flight. With aviation fuel currently selling for $5.39 per gallon at Monaco Air Duluth, that equates to $539 per hour of operation.
Pat Waddick, Cirrus' executive vice president of operations, joined other representatives of the airplane manufacturer to welcome Gryder and his plane to Duluth
"We are aviation enthusiasts first, and everything else comes after that," Waddick said.
Despite a warm welcome this afternoon, Gryder and his colleagues found Duluth a little on the chilly side, and they decided to push on to a warmer still-to-be-determined destination. Gryder explained that the group was traveling with no flight plans and was charting its course on the fly. The only certainty in Gryder's plans is that the tour began and will end in Atlanta, Ga., where he lives.
So far, the plane has visited Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and now Duluth, Minn.
The group already has had a few misadventures. In southern Illinois, the DC-3 required the aid of a 12-ton John Deere tractor to extricate it from a muddy airfield in which it was briefly mired.
Russ Niles, editor-in-chief of AvWeb, an online aviation publication, one of the tour's sponsors, is accompanying Gryder on his trip. To follow the tour's progress and view video, check out www.avweb.com .