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DC-3 over valley was a prized airplane

One of the advantages of clear skies during our cold snap has been the ability to see what's flying overhead. On Wednesday, I saw what appeared to be a firefighting tanker, perhaps on its way to a new location. However, it just circled the valley and returned to the airport. It looked like a DC-3. What can those intrepid souls at Since You Asked tell us about the partially identifiable flying object?

— Marlin T., Medford

It took some digging, hanging out and speculation before we here at SYA World Headquarters could discover that was no ordinary DC-3, but perhaps the finest DC-3 in existence based on observations and Internet photos.

There was a time when DC-3s were a staple of passenger travel at the Medford airport, but it's hard to imagine any commercial airliner could compare to N3006, registered to DC-3 Entertainment of Aurora in rural Marion County. DC-3 Entertainment, in turn, is owned by Jonathan and Esther Phelps, who have a Florida address, as well.

The 32-seat, 1946, Douglas-built aircraft has a top speed of 174 mph.

You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but the polished exterior on the N3006 is matched by an extraordinary interior.

Aviation enthusiast Chris Cooper, who photographed the plane in San Diego in 2007, had this to say on Airliners.net: "Don't think I have seen a better looking and cleaner DC-3 than this one. This aircraft was immaculate inside and out, with many efforts to keep many original parts, such as original style brakes and exhaust stacks. The interior was beyond words with the quality of workmanship."

The brilliant reflection from the sun as it flew above the Rogue Valley last week was accompanied by a distinctive drone.

"The DC-3 has a sound all of its own," said Medford Airport Director Bern Case. "You feel like you are in a Clark Gable movie when it goes overhead. It spends quite a bit of time around here and (the owner) wants to be here more if it can get a hangar."

To see more photos of the DC-3 Entertainment plane, go to Google Images and enter DC-3 N3006.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.

The DC-3 N3006, which spends a lot of time at the Medford airport, was photographed in 2007 at Brown Field Municipal Airport in San Diego. Brown Christopher Cooper / Airliners.net