What is the DC 3 RV?

In this blog post, we will answer the question “What is a DC 3 RV?” We will discuss the idea behind the DC 3 RV and the conversion. We will look into the registration and permit for this unique RV and discuss some of its features. We will also talk about the Jet engine camper and Winnebago’s Hele-home. Additionally, we will touch upon the advantages and disadvantages.

What is the DC 3 RV?

The DC 3 RV was a troop carrier aircraft that was later converted into an RV. The former Navy R4D plane was used to transport soldiers during World War II. The plane was purchased by Gino Lucci and his son Giacinto in 2019. The 1943 model has now been converted into an RV and is one of the only few planes to be turned into a motorhome.

The DC 3 RV became famous after its conversion. The body of the plane was assembled on the top of a truck frame. The inside of the DC 3 RV has all the basic requirements for camping. With enough space on the inside, Lucci and Giacinto made the best use of this airplane. It has enough beds, a sink, and a bathtub.

Interiors features 

The DC 3 RV has some of the interiors retained. Some seats from the aircraft remain untouched and they can be used for sitting. Their cockpit is also unchanged except for an addition of a steering wheel. The RV systems are integrated with the plane’s original control panels. The switches on the rooftop are used to control the heating and the air conditioning system.

The pilot intercom remains the same and most of the other gear in the cockpit has been unchanged. The gauge cluster and the steering is also intact on the inside. A double-DIN head unit for in-plane entertainment has been retained as well. The DC 3 RV has a plane-like appearance on the interiors but has been modified into one of the best recreational vehicles.

The old seats from the aircraft were used for the driver and front passenger seats. By making use of the control gadgets and the aircraft yoke, the DC 3 RV has a unique system that is a mix of an aircraft and an RV. There are more seats at the back along with a table that can be folded down into a berth from the 1930s.

Registration and road permit

Any vehicle that has all the basic living amenities for an RV can be road-registered. The DC 3 RV has been properly inspected to see if they meet all the requirements. With everything in the right place, including the safety features, the DC 3 RV has been registered as a Class A motorhome.

Due to the large size of the vehicle, there was no better option than a Class A motorhome. Since the body of the aircraft was fixed onto a truck frame, there were a few struggles initially. However, few other planes are now converted into recreational vehicles. The Jet-engine camper is one example of another plane modified in the same manner.

It took almost a year to complete this project and it was not done until late 2020. The DC RV 3 is recognized instantly on the road and many people turn to look at this model because of its appearance. By permanently attaching the plane structure to the frame of the truck, this idea turned out to be a huge success.

The alteration process

Converting an aircraft into an RV is not an easy task and several alterations come with the process. The first and most difficult part was getting all the right gear in the right place. The construction and the design were crucial and the measurements were no easy task since it took months to establish the idea.

There were several alterations to the interiors and the exteriors. The wing attaches points of the aircraft had to be altered accordingly and they managed to make it exactly right for the max legal width. The aircraft is just perfectly altered to fall within the legal criteria and it took a lot of alterations just to get it done.

The Jet engine camper

The DC 3 RV is not the only model that has been altered from an aircraft. The jet engine camper took more than six years to build and 1,000 hours of work. It is also known as the jet stream camper. This project was initiated by Steve Jones who converted the Vickers jetliner into a custom camper. Jones has built several campers but this turned out to be one of his best.

After introducing the jet engine camper to the world, Jones received several offers from $31,000 and more. Overall, Jones had spent less than $5,000 to convert this incredible camper. Jones managed to get his hands on the engine nacelle from the 1967 Vickers. He managed to pick it up from a scrapyard since it has been phased out of service since 2012.

Winnebago Hele-home

Winnebago has a reputed name that we all know of and they have been coming up with some incredible models over the years. One well-remembered model was their real flying RV. This Hele-home was sold by Winnebago back in the late 1970s. Though this was one of a kind, it came with several restrictions.

The Hele-home was one of a kind and it still had amenities like a 6,000 BTU air conditioner and 40,000 BTU furnace. It had provision for hot and cold water and a full bathroom with a shower. The kitchen was well-equipped and it had a 3,500-watt generator. With enough space on the inside, this hele-home could comfortably accommodate up to six people with ease.

It also had an option for floats and you could easily land this RV even on a lake if you find it hard to find space on land. Imagine an RV that can fly, land on water and still move about on the road. Winnebago has been successful with this particular model. However, the price was too steep and even the base model was priced at $880,000.

Disadvantages of Winnebago’s Hele-home

There are disadvantages of Winnebago’s Hele-home and the first one is the price. Paying for fuel to fly this machine is also going to be pretty expensive. Despite the price range, it was not a total failure. The Hele-home soon became an attraction and was popular throughout the country and the world. The idea was unique and several people wished to have a flying motorhome.

When it came to the price, it was way too expensive and out of the pockets of many. The top version of the Winnebago Hele-home was priced at $1.4 million. Since the manufacturer witnessed a drop in sales due to the skyrocketing prices. Winnebago soon turned to rent their Hele-home for $10,000 a week.

Some people loved the idea of renting a Hele-home but again it was not too popular and not many were ready to give $10,000 a week just to rent a motorhome. Yet again the biggest drawback was hiring a pilot to fly the RV. Not many people are pilots and not everyone can afford to hire a pilot each time they want to head out.

There have been several inventions over the years in the RV industry and there were some of the best inventions were introduced and developed by individuals and top manufacturers. The DC 3 RV is one of a kind and one of the rarest RV models today. The Winnebago Hele-home is still remembered for its idea and many people wish to own one of these today.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have answered the question: “What is a DC 3 RV?” We will discuss the idea behind the DC 3 RV and the conversion. We will look into the registration and permit for this unique RV and discuss some of its features. We will also talk about the Jet engine camper and Winnebago’s Hele-home. Additionally, we will touch upon the advantages and disadvantages.  

Citations

https://www.thedrive.com/news/40717/a-dc-3-transport-aircraft-makes-an-eye-catching-rv
https://www.thedrive.com/news/34753/the-winnebago-heli-home-was-a-real-flying-rv-that-ne

eds-to-make-a-comeback-in-2020

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a36688499/air-force-veteran-turns-plane-into-rv/
https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/rv.html
https://www.insider.com/airplane-converted-into-rv-wwii-aircraft-photos-2021-5

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