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9 MAY 2011
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Sierra India X-ray Charlie, one of Air Atlantique’s pair of venerable Douglas DC6 propliners has been finally grounded and turned into what is claimed to be Europe’s, and certainly the UK’s first and only aircraft diner. It is part of the AIRBASE “Living Air Museum” at the airport but has its own entranceway and is open into the evening.
The four-engine Santa Monica 1958-built aircraft has a fascinating history and first saw service operating covert flights in South East Asia very much with the backing of the CIA. In 1973 it was back in the US, this time registered to Southern Air Transport where it flew secret missions into Central America. Mike Collett, Chairman of Air Atlantique, eventually purchased the aircraft in 1987 and used it in a variety of cargo roles until 2004 when it totalled just under 45,000hrs.
The base crew at Coventry Airport have done a tremendous job in converting the aircraft into a 40-cover restaurant and bar where you can have a Meteor Marinated Fillet Steak, Cloudmaster Mixed Grill and the Captain's Home Made Lasagne. The Diner has retained many of the original aircraft equipment, including the cockpit and even the call bells, which you can still press overhead to order drinks or get additional service. www.classicflight.com
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