NAPA, Calif. (KTVU) - The DC-3 is a timeless aircraft celebrated for its significance during World War II. It’s often revered as the greatest aircraft of its time and right now you can tour the magnificent Northern California coastline from inside the storied fixed-wing propeller driven plane.
"It is a beautiful aircraft, the lines, the design," said Sonoma resident Richard Martin. " This DC3 is the godfather to the modern corporate jet and nothing rides or sounds like it. Truly it is a magnificent beast."
Currently on the tarmac at Napa Executive Airport, this 80-year-old DC-3 is flying tours over the San Francisco Bay and down coastline. Martin owns and runs GoldenAge Air Tours and he invited KTVU to join his crew for a sunset flight over the bay. His vintage aircraft has been thoughtfully restored to the present period on the exterior and interior, as well as undergoing an update on the cockpit and flight electronics.
"This DC-3 N341A is one of only two commissioned at the end of WWII for Five Star General Hap Arnold, an aviation pioneer. This plane is a part of the fabric of our rich aviation history. We are so lucky to have it in our backyard and to be flying it over California again. Soon we’ll fly it over the United States and around the world for an extended tour," said Martin with a thick British accent.
As part of a squadron, this airplane will take part in Daks Over Normandy, which in June 2019 will celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Daks Over Normandy will be the largest assembly of authentic war aircraft and paratroopers since the fateful day of June 6, 1944. Flying in mass formation, organizers of the American contingent say the skies will be filled with dozens of DC-3/C-47's dropping hundreds of paratroopers onto the beaches of Normandy.
"All to honor the service and sacrifice of the citizen soldiers who risked life and limb to bring about the beginning of the end of the war in Europe," Martin said.
Martin and his crew of DC-3 pilots will be crossing the United States and over the Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain where they’ll to meet up with other allied vintage aircrafts to fly the final leg together to Normandy, France.
But Normandy isn’t the only stop. This plane will continue on around the world for a promotional and education tour, involving companies and nonprofit organizations on a global scale by creating a unique way to spread awareness and carry a special message to the world.
"This plane is living history. Without it we are bound to repeat our past – unaware,” Martin said. “This is great stuff, beautiful views and lots to learn, always lots to learn, come see for yourself."
This weekend tours and flights run from Napa Executive Airport and at Half Moon Bay on April 29 for the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show.