Friday, May 31, 2024

Air force veteran converts a WWII plane into an eye-catching RV

Gino Lucci, a Nashville, Michigan-based air force veteran, and his son Giacinto have converted a 1943-era WWII plane into a road-legal motorhome. Called the “Fabulous Flamingo,” the RV is built almost entirely from the plane, except for its engine and frame.

Gino Lucci is also the owner of a company, Round Engine Aero, that salvages airplanes, meaning the Fabulous Flamingo project had likely been gestating for quite a while. He had dreamed of making one since he was 12 years old, and now he has finally realized it.

The donor plane for the project was a Douglas R4D, a modified DC-3 designed for Navy service that was built in 1943 before entering service in 1944, spending much of its service life in South America during World War II as an executive transport. Its last flight was in the 1980s, after which it suffered serious damage from a tornado and has since been retired.

The father and son duo bought the plane in mid-2019 and spent a year converting it into an eye-catching motorhome. The aircraft body is assembled on top of an out-of-service delivery truck frame, fitted with a big diesel powerful enough to haul the rig down the highway. The resulted 300-square-foot RV is legally certified for the road, ideal for traveling across the country with the family in tow.

Inside the plane/camper, Lucci installed parts from a variety of old airplanes – such as light switches, an intercom system, and a decorative, nonfunctional copilot’s yoke or steering wheel. The wheel is purely for decorative purposes, though the plane’s original intercom system still works.

The old aircraft’s crew area was converted into a plane-themed bedroom for Lucci’s youngest son. The seats from the old airplane were used for the driver & front passenger seats in the RV. Lucci also extended the galley, or the kitchen area, of the plane and added a microwave, cooktop, oven, and fridge. Behind the kitchen, there is a living room, and in the bathroom, there is a sink and a faucet from an airplane. Finally, the rear area is a bedroom with two single beds and a bathtub, which Lucci said he added at his wife’s request.

Several converted airplane projects have gone viral on social media in recent months and years, such as a Limo-Jet and a VC10 jet engine nacelle converted into a four-bed Caravan Pod.