Ship 41 is the only Delta passenger DC-3 left in existence.
Delta is the only carrier known to possess its first new revenue-carrying DC-3.
Restoration was completed in October 1999.
The plane is housed in Delta's original 1940s hangars in Atlanta.
Ship 41 flew into Atlanta as the second delivered of Delta's first group of five DC-3s in late 1940. Delta's Ship 40 was being used for pilot training, so Ship 41 was the first DC-3 placed into Delta's scheduled passenger service, entering service on December 24, 1940.
Retired from Delta service after 18 years, Ship 41 was sold to North Central Airlines. Since then, Ship 41 flew for many owners.
In 1990 there was an effort, led by Delta's retirees, to locate one of Delta's first five DC-3s. Ship 41 was discovered in Puerto Rico, registered as N29PR, and had been flying cargo with Air Puerto Rico. The aircraft was purchased in 1993 by Delta, and flown back to Delta headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia for restoration.
No other DC-3 in the world has been restored with such impeccable care and attention to detail. The restoration has received prestigious awards:
In 2000, the DC-3 received the Judges' Choice "Lindy" award at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture OshKosh, the world's premier aviation event.
In 2001, Ship 41 was the first aircraft ever to win a National Preservation Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Challenging Restoration Project
The enormity of the project can be understood when tasks such as the complete rebuilding of the cockpit had to be undertaken. The cockpit was brought up to 1990s standard without detracting from the original Douglas design or the period look of the aircraft. For example, instruments are all analogue but were uniformly painted, the radio and navigation and communications equipment were positioned discreetly and the seats, pedals, control column and control systems were all renewed.
Modern fire and soundproofing insulation methods were used inside the structure of the cockpit and cabin area.
The galley and boarding ramp were rebuilt into exact 1940s replicas from old photographs in the Delta Air Lines Corporate Archives. The cabins seats were remade with the original 1940s patterns and fabric.
Donations to the restoration project included:
Supply of zero-hour engines and accessories from JRS Enterprises in Minnesota.
Landing gear and hydraulic valves from Basler at Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Radios from Collins.
Ship 41 Pics & Video
YouTube: Los Angeles 2000 – watch »
YouTube: Take Off 2001 – watch »
Ship 41 Fan Photos (interior and exterior) – view photos