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DC-3 Added to Shannon Air Museum Collection

Stars & Stripes, an 81-year-old DC-3 commercial airliner, recently moved up the east coast to Spotsylvania County, VA from Georgia.

Stars & Stripes has a history dating back to 1940, when the silver-hulled airliner rolled off the assembly line and was sold to Braniff International Airlines. The propeller-driven craft was later acquired by Provincetown–Boston Airlines before being passed to Eastern Airlines, where it operated out of Massachusetts during the warm months, transitioning to Florida airfields during the winter.

Luke Curtas, who owns and operates Shannon Airport said, “I wanted to get an aircraft that had a history with Eastern Airlines. As we grow the [Shannon Air Museum], we wanted to have an aircraft like that, part of the museum artifacts.”

Shannon Airport was founded in the 1950s by Sidney Shannon Jr., as a result of his love for aviation and to honor his father, Fredericksburg native Sidney Shannon Sr.

The elder Shannon helped form Eastern Airlines along with Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, a U.S. Army Air Forces captain and the most successful fighter ace of World War I. Eastern Airlines went on to hold a near-monopoly on air travel between New York and Florida from the 1930s until the 1950s, and it dominated the airline industry for the decades that followed until its demise in 1991.

“I looked at the history of the airport and didn’t want to see it go down the drain,” said Curtas.

Today, the Shannon Air Museum is fully operational and is located just inside the airport entrance at 3380 Shannon Airport Circle. Curtas said first-time visitors are in awe when they open the door to the museum and step onto the exhibit hall.

Stars & Stripes is positioned just outside of the museum, giving visitors an instant glimpse into aviation’s historic past.

“The plane has lived outside all its life,” said Curtas. “With it here now, we hope to have the DC-3 experience, not to show it to people on the ground, but to actually fly it.”

The Shannon Air Museum is open daily by appointment only. Visit or call 540-642-4387 for more information.