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February 14, 2014

Historic airplane heads to new home

OKLAHOMA CITY — A historic aircraft listed on the National Register of Historic Places relocated Thursday from Oklahoma to a museum in Texas so more people will have the chance to see it up close.

Several dozen employees with the Federal Aviation Administration turned out Thursday morning to watch the DC-3 N34 take off from FAA facilities in Oklahoma City for its new home at the Texas Air & Space Museum in Amarillo.

“I’m happy to see it get to someplace where somebody — kids can come back on board and we can do what it’s meant to be. People can learn about flight inspection,” said Thomas Solinski, a reliability engineer with the FAA who has been responsible for taking care of the aircraft for the past decade.

The aircraft was built in 1945 at Tinker Air Force Base for the U.S. Navy. In 1956, the Civil Aeronautics Administration took it over and refurbished it for its flight inspection program. The Navy officially gave ownership to the FAA in 1966, Solinski said. It was one of 50 such aircrafts the FAA used to certify navigation equipment.

“For a while it was a schoolhouse here in Oklahoma City. You learned to be a flight inspection technician, you came here to Oklahoma City, you flew this airplane,” Solinski said.

All the other DC-3s have been retired, and the N34 became the last one in the FAA’s fleet.

— AP

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