Legendary DC-7 Gets New Life

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The world's only intact, as-original DC-7 could take flight for the first time in 33 years in early August. Legendary Airliners, a Florida travel club, hopes to ferry the former Eastern Airlines passenger plane from St. Paul, Minn., to Miami after replacing a balky engine. The company had hoped to make the flight in mid-July but the No. 4 18-cylinder turbocharged radial engine wouldn't develop oil pressure or power. Legendary Airliners, which operates another DC-7, had a rebuilt engine in stock and hopes to have it installed this week. There are other DC-7s flying but what sets this one apart is its original condition. "It's basically a museum piece," said Legendary Airliners owner Carlos Gomez. The aircraft still has the sumptuous interior that coddled passengers on flights from New York to the Caribbean when it was nicknamed The Golden Falcon. Most DC-7s now toil as freighters and air tankers (three of which were inspected last week and may be returning to service). This aircraft will become a travel club plane, taking club members all over North American and overseas to air shows. Gomez told the Pioneer Press the plane will be ready for use in early 2005 after a complete restoration. Gomez bought the plane from Roseville, Minn., resident Joe Kocour for just $40,000. Kocour bought it in 1972 but his plans for a travel club never materialized. Until the late 1980s, the plane was regularly run up and maintained but it's been sitting idle for more than 15 years at St. Paul Downtown Airport. "Well, it was time. We couldn't do anything with it," said Kocour