A piece of history is returning to the Badger State

Wisconsin's Morning News

A group of folks at the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin are working to preserve the history of North Central Airlines.

The non-profit museum at the Sheboygan Municipal Airport recently bought a quite historic plane.

“The aircraft we bought is a 75 year old Douglas DC-3 aircraft that actually has a history of flying with North Central Airlines from approximately 1953 until about 1965,” Jon Helminiak, executive director of the Heritage Center, tells Wisconsin’s Morning News. “It’s a very rare aircraft in that a) there aren’t a lot of DC-3’s still remaining and b) to find one that actually flew for North Central Airlines. There are only a couple of those left anywhere in the world.”

Helminiak says this particular aircraft is coming from Victorville, California.

“It’s been sitting in a dry, desert environment, which is where you want an airplane to be so it doesn’t corrode, for the last 21 years. And the former owner is thrilled that it’s going home so to speak to be painted in North Central colors and bring the airline and Herman the Duck back to Wisconsin.”

So once it’s back, what are the plans for the historic object?

“We hope that we can put it on tour next summer,” says Helminiak. “There are a lot of things we need to do in advance of that. The aircraft needs to be inspected and brought up to standards and codes according to the FAA. We hope to get that done in California. Hopefully by next spring, we can return Herman the Duck to Wisconsin on her inaugural flight, and then next summer take her to many of the small towns and cities that North Central Airlines actually served.”

For the full conversation with Helminiak, click in the Soundcloud player above.

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