Source: Delta

Historic airplane to be added to Delta Flight Museum collection

A historic airplane destined for the Delta Flight Museum flew at 9,500 feet from the Arizona desert to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport over the weekend.

The DC-7B plane flew at low altitude because it has been depressurized, and it made an overnight stop in Midland, Texas before landing in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, according to Delta.

The airplane had been used to fight fires on the West Coast before retiring to desert storage in 2008. The plane’s longtime owner Woody Grantham is the founder of International Air Response.

After learning of the plane known as Ship 717 -- the last surviving DC-7B -- the Delta Flight Museum sought to acquire it.

That’s because Atlanta-based Delta had operated that DC-7B, a piston-engine propeller plane, as part of its fleet from 1957 to 1968.

The airline says its 10 DC-7Bs had a lounge in the back of the cabin and “brought luxury to the skies.” The DC-7B was a longer-range version of the DC-7.

The interior of the DC-7B was decorated in tan, white, aqua and turquoise fabric and leather accented with gold and silver, with gold window curtains depicting scenes along Delta routes, according to the Delta museum’s website.

Delta retired its last DC-7 in 1968 as newer jet engines rose in prominence.

Mechanics in Coolidge, Ariz. repaired Ship 717, replaced engines and ran tests to prepare it to make the trip to Atlanta.

In a written statement, Grantham said he was happy “to see the DC-7B going home to be celebrated and immortalized at the Delta Flight Museum.” The museum is located next to Hartsfield-Jackson and Delta’s headquarters, and has a collection of historic planes including a Boeing 747.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.
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