Opa-locka Airport - January 23, 2008

Opa-locka Airport/Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport

September 18, 2009

Ralph M. Pettersen

I visited Opa-locka Airport (OPF) on Friday September 18, 2009 to get an update on the status of Legendary Airliners DC-7B N836D. I had hoped to meet with Carlos Gomez and Roger Jarman but duty called and Carlos was off in Europe flying with the SCFA Breitling Super Constellation. Roger is treasurer of the Historical Flight Foundation and has been working closely with Carlos and Marc Wolff to get the veteran DC-7B back in the air. Restoration of the aircraft is complete and all four engines have been successfully test run. They are currently waiting for the FAA to complete review of their application, which should happen in the near future. Carlos will be returning to Florida later in the month and plans to perform high speed taxi tests in anticipation of FAA approval and the long awaited first post-restoration flight.

Opa-locka Airport is much quieter than it was a few years ago during my first visit. All of the small cargo airlines operating out of OPF have seen a downturn in business as a result of the recession, but there was some activity including a long grounded Convair twin being worked on. Roger was kind enough to ride me around the airport so I could photograph the large collection of veteran aircraft including Beech 18s, Super DC-3s, Convairs, a Grumman Goose, a DC-4, C-118, a pair of DC-7s and a pair of DC-9-30s awaiting the end near OPFs scrapyard. One aircraft was a long retired Northwest DC-9 N929RC while the other was former Northwest DC-9 N919RW painted in Dominicana colors.

Roger is the owner of Atlantic Models and had to head back to Miami to tend to some rush orders so I thanked him for his time and, having some time before I had to catch my flight back to Maryland, headed north to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). I have a good friend that works for FXE based Monarch Air Group, which operates Beech 18s and has recently acquired a DC-3. Not having any idea where Monarch was located on the field, I drove around the perimeter road until I saw two Beech 18s and a DC-3. Unfortunately my friend was out flying but the folks were very friendly and they allowed me to photograph the three aircraft. One of the Beech 18s was a turboprop conversion, which had flown as a sprayer for K & K Aviation in a former life. Faded K&K markings were still visible on the side of the aircraft.

All good things must come to an end and it was time to head back to Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) for my ride home on Southwest Airlines. I visited FLL back in the early 1970s and continue to be amazed at how it has changed in 30 years to become another sanitized and boring airport. The legions of retired propliners are all gone, with the exception of a few Airborne Express YS-11s, that have been parked there for some time. I'd like to thank Roger for taking time out of his busy day to show me around the Opa-locka Airport. Lots of interesting aircraft still call this airport home.

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Opa-locka Airport (OPF)
Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE)

Ralph M. Pettersen
September 20, 2009

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----Created 20 September 2009----