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Aircraft of defunct Varig

Scrapping of a historic DC-3 causes outrage

In Rio de Janeiro, a Douglas DC-3 of the defunct national airline Varig stood as a monument. Now it was scrapped - for financial reasons.

In 1947 the Douglas C-47 Dakota was delivered to the United States Army Air Forces. Later it was used by the Hughes Tool Company, the company of legendary aviation pioneer Howard Hughes. But this was just an interlude. At the end of the 1950s, she traveledon  to Brazil and joined the fleet of national airline Varig, where she was given the registration PP-VBF.

The C-47, which was called DC-3 like the civilian variant of the plane in her new home country, had a stressful life afterwards. It was used for almost 20 years on the air bridge between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. On 18 August 1971 she made her last flight.

Exhibited in a park in downtown Rio

But this did not fulfil the purpose of the plane’s life. From then on, it was exhibited at Aterro Do Flamengo, the large park of the Brazilian metropolis on Guanabara Bay, which borders Santos Dumont Airport. The DC-3 was a visual sign for the achievements of the up-and-coming South American nation.

Later, however, the Douglas DC-3 had to move – to a site further away from the city center, belonging to Galeão International Airport. And now it had to go. The administrators of Varig had the aircraft scrapped at the end of January. This caused outrage in Brazil, after all many Brazilians are still proud of their former national airline today, as aviation site Aeroflap reports.

High debts

But the administrators of the bankrupt airline defend the move. The fuselage of the Douglas DC-3 was full of corrosion. A repair would have been expensive, they explain in a statement. In addition, the airport had demanded a high rent for the site. They also offered the aircraft to a museum, but this was refused.

In this respect, scrapping the aircraft was the best option, according to the administrators. After all, Varig, which finally went under in 2009, still owes the state pension fund four billion real – or the equivalent of 850 million euros. The DC-3 is the most produced passenger aircraft in the world after the Antonov An-2, with over 16,000 units.

In the picture gallery above you can see pictures of the DC-3 from Varig and from the scrapping.

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