“The seats are going to be the centerpoint. When the aircraft arrived, it had seven rows of four seats, twenty-eight seats. Seven of the seats were add ons. When the DC-3’s were made, this one was made in 1942, they had twenty-one seats...So we very laboriously had to cut seven of the double seats…”
- Carl Cruff, NEAM Volunteer
“The stewardess mannequin displayed by the DC-3 has a story. The woman who owned that uniform came to the museum one day and said, 'I flew in that aircraft and I still have my uniform!' She donated it to the museum and it is now on display beside the same tail number she flew on.”
- Pete McConnell, DC-3 Restoration Crew Chief
The DC-3 is an iconic aircraft that revolutionized aviation. It was the first commercial aircraft to be profitable as a passenger airplane, it had an impeccable safety record that helped pilots with their insurance premiums, and it provided passengers with a luxurious experience.
Although NEAM's DC-3 was originally intended for American Airlines, it requisitioned by the Army Air Corps while still in production. It was delivered in 1942 under the designation C-49J as a transport for troops during World War II. In 1945, it was converted back to a DC-3 passenger aircraft and flew for Eastern Airlines. The aircraft changed hands several times through various airlines before the museum purchased it in 1992. Painted in the two-tone beige colors of Florida Airmotive/Taino Airlines, the DC-3 was on display in the museum's Civil Aviation Hangar for many years. The aircraft began a total restoration in 2014 beginning with stripping the paint and polishing it back to its original shiny aluminum finish. The aircraft's restoration team decided to restore the DC-3 to its original Eastern Airlines colors and lettering in homage of the first ever passenger flight out of Bradley Airport which was an Eastern Airlines DC-3. Restoration work continues today under the leadership of Crew Chief Pete McConnell.