Vintage Photo: A DC-3 Comes To Innsbruck In 1952 – She’s Still Flying Today

This looks familiar: The airport in Innsbruck the way it was back in the 1950s, right down to the DC-3. This photo is from 1952, when the planes were still parking on grass, and the tanker looks to be a US Army WW2 veteran 6×6.  My father used to take us there sometimes if he knew a plane was coming or going, something that did not happen all that often. Once he hired a pilot to take us up in his Cessna, my first highly memorable airplane flight. Flying through the valleys between the chains of mountains was amazing, as was coming in low over Innsbruck on the approach.

One day in 1959 my father told my older brother and I that something unusual would be flying in today, a four engine DC-4. That was a big deal, so my brother and I went by ourselves on our scooters. A memorable day, only marred by my brother getting bumped by a car on the way home. He just toppled over and got a bad scrape, fortunately.

It turns out that this DC-3 is still flying to today.

The complete history of this plane is fully documented here. She was built as a C47A-1-DL in Long Beach, CA and inducted into the US Army in 1942. After the war, she was turned into a civilian DC-3 and flew for the Scottish Airlines, but was requisitioned for the Berlin Airlift. In October of 1952, not long after she visited Innsbruck, she emigrated to France with the French Air Force. In 1972 she was privatized again, with a series of owners.

In 1974, she went to the Central African Republic and became the personal aircraft of Jean Bedel Bokassa. Then she was owned by several other private owners, including Inter-RCA, and then with Transvalair in 1983. Then followed a number of other private owners, presumably cargo or charter operators.

In 2008 she was finished in the livery of Air France as used in the 1950s on one side and as KLM Flying Dutchman on the other. Sometime not long after, she received the Air France livery on the other side too.

In 2014, this video of her performing at an air show was taken.

This picture was taken in July of 2021. Sometime in the previous couple of years, the Air France logo was painted over. She’s still looking as beautiful as ever.