77-year-old plane soars toward world record

WHEELING, Ill. (WLS) -- Aboard the Douglas DC-3 airplane, history beckons.

The propellers rumble, the tail lifts and this classic airliner takes to the skies with breathtaking views of Chicago.

And thanks to Swiss watchmaker Breitling, this decades-old twin propeller plane cruises over the Windy City on a mission.

"It will be the oldest aircraft in aviation history to fly around, or circumnavigate the earth," declared Chief Pilot Francisco Agullo.

The plane is 77-years-old, yet Agullo and his team have already flown it across Eastern Europe, Asia and the western United States.

The feat is all the more remarkable considering some of the plane's key parts are originals from 1940-The propellers, engines and yoke included.

"There is only cables and pulleys. So you need to use your own muscles to steer the aircraft," said Agullo from his seat in the cockpit, which has sliding windows that can open mid-flight.

There have been some modifications for this adventure. The plane originally sat 30 passengers but more than half of those seats have been removed for one thing: extra fuel.

"With the fuel we have on board we can fly 14 hours, so we stretch it quite a bit," added Agullo.

Breitling also updated the cockpit's flight instruments and navigation system to make sure passengers could share the experience.

"The history and the experience as a whole, just amazing," remarked Michael Kelly, who had a window seat on board today.

At low altitude, the Chicago skyline looks like something you could reach out and grab; it's hard to resist snapping a photo.

Following its Windy City flyover, the Breitling DC-3 continued east back to Switzerland, with stops in Toronto, Boston and New York still to come.

When the plane touches down in Switzerland, it will have travelled for 6 months.

The Douglas DC-3 is regarded as the first plane to make commercial air travel profitable. But this trip is priceless.
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