June 5, 2014 - The Flabob Express, a DC-3B aircraft that is now used as a learning instrument, will return to Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014, July 28-August 3 at Wittman Regional Airport.
The Flabob Express, built in 1943 in Long Beach, California, was originally a C-47B staff transport for the U.S. Army. One of 3,364 B versions built by the Douglas Aircraft Company, this aircraft has experienced quite a history. Used as a Royal Air Force transport with wartime service, it is rumored to have carried public figures such as Winston Churchill and the Royal Family. It has also been owned by the governments of India, Canada, and Pakistan before it made its way back to the U.S.
Today the aircraft is owned by the Flabob Aviation Association at Flabob Airport in Riverside, California. The plane had been donated by previous owner Jerry Bartow after it was significantly damaged in a storm. It is now used as a hands-on laboratory for Flabob’s and EAA’s youth education programs.
While in Oshkosh, visitors will be able to tour the Flabob Express. Tours will be conducted by students from the aircraft restoration programs at the Tom Wathen Center who earned a trip to Oshkosh through a competition. The students will also provide information about the Wathen Center Aeronca Chief, which was restored and flown to Oshkosh by program participants who built it. Last year that airplane was donated to the EAA AirVenture Museum as an example of what can be done through EAA youth education.
Since the distance between Wisconsin and Flabob Airport during the 1950s seemed too far away for aircraft designer Ray Stits in California, EAA Founder Paul Poberezny suggested that Flabob Airport host the first chapter ever created, EAA Chapter One. Along with this historic accomplishment, Flabob Airport held the first EAA Air Academy programs for young people outside Oshkosh, and is now known for its outstanding youth programs.
The 12-hour flight to Oshkosh is accomplished in three, four-hour legs, according to captain and Wathen Center chairman Jon Goldenbaum. Stops are scheduled in New Mexico and Wichita, Kansas, then on to the final destination at AirVenture Oshkosh. The students appearing in Oshkosh will be on board.