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Eastern DC-7B  
User currently offlineEASTERN747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 546 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2101 times:

I was just wondering what the heck has happened to the restored Eastern DC-7B? Last I heard it blew an engine leaving CLT and returned to the airport. I can't imagine after all the sweat and tears, hours, dedication, energy, that they can't get it back to Florida for repair. What about a 3 engine ferry? Did it suffer airframe problems? There are enough X Eastern folks around who would love to see it fly again and send $$$$$. Me included. I saw it at Oskosh but didn't take a ride. Is the company in FLL who put it back together go out of business?

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline802flyguy From United States of America, joined May 2012, 200 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2032 times:

AFAIK, it is still at the CLT airport, on the Carolina Aviation Museum ramp. (Not sure if it is part of the museum tour.)
The foundation that runs it is trying to raise money for repairs>.

http://www.historicalflightfoundation.com/

Come Fly With Us!

*Due to engine failure, all previously scheduled flights have been cancelled until further notice. Refunds and/or exchanges for memberships will be made as needed. We fully expect to have the airplane back in the air, but at this point cannot say when. If you would like to donate toward the cost of fixing the engine, please contact us at info@hffshop.com, easterndc7@gmail.com, or 305-883-2012.


User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1648 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (5 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 1905 times:
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Any of the restored airplanes that use the Curtis-Wright R-3350 engine have had engine problems. The CAF with their restored B-29 “Fifi” had all their engines rebuilt by the last company that still overhauls them to a hybrid version, using parts form 2 different models which was supposed to increase the life of the engine and after spending a huge sum of money they still have had engine problems.

Also the restored TWA Constellation has been grounded by engine problems, and from what I have read they do not have the money right now to replace the bad engine.

So it’s to no surprise that this restored Eastern DC-7 needs a new engine, if you are going to operate an airliner with 4 R-3350’s then you better have deep pockets or a few spare engine lying around because sooner or later you will be replacing one or more.

My first job after I graduated A&P school I worked on the R-3350 and I can still remember one of our customers airline maintenance reps yelling at the Curtis Wright engine rep telling him their engines were nothing but pieces of $hit and where to shove them

JetStar


User currently offlineFLYjoe From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 291 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1762 times:

AFAIK, it is still at the CLT airport, on the Carolina Aviation Museum ramp. (Not sure if it is part of the museum tour.)
The foundation that runs it is trying to raise money for repairs>.

Quoting 802flyguy (Reply 1):

Yes, it it's still at the museum and part of the tour. I was at the museum last week. I'm addition to the museum and ramp tour, they do an on board tour of the DC-7 for an additional $5. The tour guide said they are trying to raise funds to fix it, but didn't have any timetables on its fix or how close they are financially.


User currently offlinecrownvic From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1916 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (5 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 1567 times:

Quoting EASTERN747 (Thread starter):
I was just wondering what the heck has happened to the restored Eastern DC-7B? Last I heard it blew an engine leaving CLT and returned to the airport. I can't imagine after all the sweat and tears, hours, dedication, energy, that they can't get it back to Florida for repair. What about a 3 engine ferry? Did it suffer airframe problems? There are enough X Eastern folks around who would love to see it fly again and send $$$$$. Me included. I saw it at Oskosh but didn't take a ride. Is the company in FLL who put it back together go out of business?

From what I was told by the operator, the FAA denied their 3 engine ferry permit, hence it's current resting place at the museum. From what I have also heard, it is a good attraction for the museum, so they maybe holding her "hostage"  


User currently offlineTW870 From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 1516 times:
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Quoting crownvic (Reply 4):
From what I was told by the operator, the FAA denied their 3 engine ferry permit

I am not surprised by that. In the early 1990s, the Dominican cargo operator AMSA lost one of their L1049s on a 3-engine ferry flight. The other R-3350 on the bad side failed, and the aircraft crashed at sea. The founder of the company was, I believe, the captain on the ferry flight, and was killed. AMSA had operated Convairs, C-46s, and Connies, and ceased operations shortly thereafter. As all have said, the turbo compound version of the R-3350 was a science experiment on the cusp of the jet age to lift more weight at higher speeds. And for the most part, the experiment failed. I still love seeing them run, though, and watch the DC-7B takeoff videos on youtube all the time. Any other info on the airplane would be fantastic!


User currently offlinecrownvic From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1916 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (5 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1450 times:

Quoting TW870 (Reply 5):
Quoting crownvic (Reply 4):
From what I was told by the operator, the FAA denied their 3 engine ferry permit

I am not surprised by that. In the early 1990s, the Dominican cargo operator AMSA lost one of their L1049s on a 3-engine ferry flight. The other R-3350 on the bad side failed, and the aircraft crashed at sea. The founder of the company was, I believe, the captain on the ferry flight, and was killed. AMSA had operated Convairs, C-46s, and Connies, and ceased operations shortly thereafter. As all have said, the turbo compound version of the R-3350 was a science experiment on the cusp of the jet age to lift more weight at higher speeds. And for the most part, the experiment failed. I still love seeing them run, though, and watch the DC-7B takeoff videos on youtube all the time. Any other info on the airplane would be fantastic!

Yes, that was a real mess. The a/c did an unauthorized 3 engine ferry from SJU to SDQ. The #3 engine was the bad one. After take off out of SJU, #2 followed by #1 failed. Four engine a/c don't stay up well with 3 of 4 down! They ditched into the water soon afterward. I recall reading the Captain was killed, but I think there were 3 survivors.


User currently offlinecedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8114 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (5 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1353 times:

I was onboard the abandoned flight from Charlotte back to Opa Locka. The engine was completely destroyed, the oil that was leaking out after we taxied back to the parking place outside the museum was full of metal particles. Smoked.

Quoting EASTERN747 (Thread starter):
Did it suffer airframe problems?

No, but the new engine is $150,000 and no-one will cough up that money. While I blame Sully in no way for what happened, fact is he and Skiles did type ratings on N836D in the weeks before the flight, and an FAA examiner was involved as well, and between the three of them they did something like fifty touch-and-gos. No wonder it blew an engine, but it's a shame that Sully can't put in for the new engine (the type ratings were gratis), he gets $70,000 for a personal appearance so he could actually afford it.

But the real problem is, there is no reason to restore the aircraft back to airworthy status. In the months before Sully's flight, the HFF were cancelling joyrides because they would get, like, four bookings. Admittedly they did very little marketing but the number of people who are actually interested in flying on vintage planes (and have the means to get to the place where the flight will start, and back from where it will end, and buy a ticket as well) is finite. And here we have a perfect example.

Quoting EASTERN747 (Thread starter):
There are enough X Eastern folks around who would love to see it fly again and send $$$$$. Me included.

Really? But you can donate on the HFF's website, have you sent money? And here's the clincher:

Quoting EASTERN747 (Thread starter):
I saw it at Oskosh but didn't take a ride.

So actually you don't care enough to even put $100 on the table, even in return for a flight. Doesn't bode well if you are representative of these ex-Easterners who would, ahem, "love to see it fly again and send $$$$". What do you mean by $$$$? Is that actually four dollars?

Quoting EASTERN747 (Thread starter):
I can't imagine after all the sweat and tears, hours, dedication, energy, that they can't get it back to Florida for repair.

Absolutely they can. While the aircraft was in the air on three engines, it was considered to continue to Opa Locka on three engines, the aircraft would have made it no problem, but the FAA were watching the operation like a hawk and it was decided to be too risky from a legal / certification point of view, not from a flight safety point of view. And so we landed. No, getting it back to Opa Locka is not the problem. The problem is, why bother? No-one is going to pay for the new engine, and if they did, no-one is going to pay to fly on her. It was pretty much done before the Charlotte flight due to lack of interest / commitment by avgeeks.



fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineEASTERN747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 546 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 months 4 weeks ago) and read 1235 times:

When I was at the air show you could tour the plane ($5 I believe), but they were not giving rides. That plane eats alot of fuel, and you need crews to operate it. If you want to fly a prop, go to the other side of the airport, where you can ride a Ford Tri-motor for $75.00. It is painted in the vintage Eastern decor that was Eastern Air Transport.

User currently offlinecubastar From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 408 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (5 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Quoting jetstar (Reply 2):
So it’s to no surprise that this restored Eastern DC-7 needs a new engine, if you are going to operate an airliner with 4 R-3350’s then you better have deep pockets or a few spare engine lying around because sooner or later you will be replacing one or more.

When it ran.....it was quieter and more powerful than the Pratt 2800's on the DC-6. and it gave a much more enjoyable ride for the passengers. But, and it was a big But especially in its earlier years; it drank oil almost as much as it drank aviation fuel. In the beginning of its airline use, my company had received their first four models and at one time I understand that all four were diverting to alternate fields for emergencies w/ the engines. One had one shut down w/ a fire warning, another had one with CHT pegged out, another had one running rough and shaking in its mounts, and the fourth had to shut one down because it was running out of Oil.

Flight Engineers ruined many a white shirt when doing their walkarounds by getting dirty black oil dropped on them. Nothing could get rid of the blacks spots. No "oxy-clean" back in those days.

Shorted Secondaries on the engine analyzer were showing up quite often and of course a shorted Primary was an automatic feather and shutdown. Most mechanics dreaded to see one pulling into the ramp with a engine feathered. When one of those 3350s with the turbo compound gutted itself, it really did a good job of it.

Still, back in those days, the DC-7 and Connies did elevate the comfort of the passengers to a higher level until the early jets (DC-8s and B-707s) arrived.

Even with improvements that were developed with time, those old Wrights remained a "Touchy" engine to operate.

One moment of glory for the old 3350 happened on a night takeoff out of STL headed for ORD with a full PAX load.
Just after liftoff and with the gear retracting, all four engines one by one, started to run rough.....and then rougher and following that, backfiring on all four. The captain nursed the ship back around to land with all of the cylinder head temps pegged into the red line and was able to safely get back on the ground in one piece. Needless to say, it was a four engine change but without a scratch on pax and crew or the aircraft. (Oh, by the way, it had been incorrectly serviced with av jet fuel instead of aviation gas 115/145.

Long live the props!..... (just like me)


User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1648 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (5 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 975 times:
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Quoting cubastar (Reply 9):
When it ran.....it was quieter and more powerful than the Pratt 2800's on the DC-6. and it gave a much more enjoyable ride for the passengers

Even today there are DC-6’s still in service in Alaska hauling cargo and freight, those P&W R-2800’s are still reliable work horses.

If the R-3350 was as reliable, you might even see some Connie’s or DC-7’s still hauling cargo today, but no matter what the aftermarket people have done to these engines, they are still unreliable.

I feel Curtis Wright tried to get more power out of the engine than it was capable of, I worked on the R-4360 in my Air Force days and these engines put out the same horsepower as a R-3350, but wasmuch heavier, had 10 more cylinders and 1000 more cubic inch’s, which is why it was not used on the DC-7 or Connie.

The R-4360 had it share of problems, but it didn’t self destruct as often as the R-3350. Almost all of our engine changes were from a cylinder swallowing an exhaust valve or excessive oil consumption. Its going back over 40 years, but I can only remember changing 2 or 3 engines because an engine threw a crankshaft rod or the impeller let go.

JetStar


User currently offlineTW870 From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 916 times:
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Quoting jetstar (Reply 10):
If the R-3350 was as reliable, you might even see some Connie’s or DC-7’s still hauling cargo today, but no matter what the aftermarket people have done to these engines, they are still unreliable.

I was just in Miami last week, and I was looking over towards corrosion corner and so depressed not to see a bunch of heavy props over there. There was that boom in the 1985-1990 period after the Stage 2 requirements came in that there actually were a lot of R-3350 ops in MIA - with operators like Trans-Air-Link, Aerochago, and AMSA. But the whole thing clearly ran on cutting corners, because once the safety crackdown happened after a string of crashes, it all ended by about 1991. Except for a few rare exceptions, nothing was flying on R-3350 power.

Anyone remember the Aerochago DC-7C that was pinch-hitting once they grounded the Connies? That was an ex-Northwest bird. I walked through it in Alexandria, Minnesota in about 1989 when T+G aviation was restoring it for sale to Aerochago. It was in full - if faded - Northwest colors. It crashed about a year after arrival in Miami. I think it was about the last straw for the Feds with the whole Dominican operation in Miami. It was dangerous but I sure miss it!


User currently offlineEASTERN747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 546 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 888 times:

To Cedarjet I sorry you felt it necessary to beat me up. I worked for Eastern for 25 years and was hoping to retire there. Please don't give me a lesson on my commitment. I gave them $250.00 when they wanted to get in the air. Couldn't afford the trip to Oskosh....what was it, $1000. I commute to England several times a year, so money is tight. Also, the restoration could put an adon the monthly Newsletter to retirees, or contact the F/A retirees or pilots or the rest of our groups. How about an e-mail? They have our addresses....send an e-mail. My interest is saving the plane for history. That's all

User currently offlinemilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2000 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (5 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 589 times:

Quoting jetstar (Reply 2):
My first job after I graduated A&P school I worked on the R-3350 and I can still remember one of our customers airline maintenance reps yelling at the Curtis Wright engine rep telling him their engines were nothing but pieces of $hit and where to shove them

They were always a troublesome engine, from when they first appeared on B-29's through their airline service days, although I didn't think the non turbo compound versions used on the L-049 and L-749 were that bad. Why does a new engine cost $150,000.00? What happened to all the engines of the RC-121's and similar aircraft that were tired by the USAF in the late 70's?


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