I love flying, there is no way to explain how at peace I feel high above the clouds. Sadly, I can't fly myself, but there's a dream I'm never giving up. I remember ending up in a newspaper at the age of three with my dad at a local airshow, holding a glider in my hand. Being interested in planes all my childhood, after highschool I was sure to become an aviator, a fighter pilot. Top Gun, and all that. I was invited to the Air Force Academy tests, but my eyes got the better of me. Now everytime I see an F-18, I think - what if? Sometimes reality does get in the way of your dreams, but that should not put us down - when there is a will, there is a way.
Modern airplanes are astonishing in their complexity and performance, however that gives us all the more reasons to appreciate the aviation pioneers and their early aircrafts. Best of all, they made them damn beautiful. DC-3, aka "Dakota", is absolutely one of the most beautiful ones ever, together with P-51 Mustang and the British Spitfire. Aviation in the old days was glamorous and eventful, an occasion to dress up for.
So if you are an aviation geek like me and like especially the old planes, I have good news. There is a very much affordable way of getting up in the air, on one of the most beautiful planes ever made. You get to meet fellow aviation fanatics, while enjoying view from the air, as early aviators did during the golden era of flying. To me, that's the most exciting part, to experience traveling as people did when flying was a novelty luxury - and always an adventure. If you are considering it, please have a look at the onboard video on youtube.
DC Association (DC-ry) based at Helsinki (Malmi) airport maintains and operates an original DC-3 from 1942, the OH-LCH, codesign Hotel. Their membership is open to everyone for a nominal fee. Members are entitled (for a separate, but reasonable fee) to short local sightseeing flights as well as to longer flights to both domestic and international destinations. In June 2014, their plane even attended the D-Day 70th anniversary gathering of DC-3s in Normandy, France. The DC Association serves a great cause of not only restoring a piece of aviation history, but also giving us mortals a unique opportunity to experience flying in the golden era. Bucket list stuff, this.
The OH-LCH "Hotel"
Built in Santa Monica, California on December 24th, 1942 DC-3A-453 C/N 6346 for Pan American Airways. Enlisted for military duty on December 27th, 1942 as C-53C-DO s/n 43-2033 for the US Air Transport Command, North Atlantic Wing based at Presque Isle, Maine until transfer in November 1943 to the European Wing. Transfer in October 1944 to the 8thAAF until the end of war in Europe. After being acquired by the State of Finland and registered on June 19th, 1948 as OH-LCH, the plane did the first commercial flight for the Finnish national carrier at the time Aero Oy on July 21st, 1948. After disassembly, plane was fully rebuilt and re-registered on June 25th, 1963 for Finnair Oy (ex-Aero Oy). April 1st, 1967 marked the last scheduled DC-3 passenger flight for Finnair. On March 5th, 1970 the Finnish Air Force acquired the plane and finally retired the DC-3s in 1985. Airveteran Oy bought the plane on January 15th, 1986 to fly as OH-LCH again. DC-Association), established in 1988, was created to allow non-owners to participate on flights, whereby Airveteran continues to own the aircraft, but association maintains it, and operates non-commercial member flights .
Wing span 28,96 m / Length 19,65 m / Height 5,16 m / Maximum weight 11,450 kg / Engines 2 x Pratt&Whitney R-1830-92 producing 1200 hp / Fuel consumption 350-400 litres per hour / Cruising speed 260 km/h / Ceiling 7315 m / Range 2575 km / Crew 3 members / Seats for 19 passengers