July 29, 1975 just arriving from JFK to Antiqua - then on to St. Marten. Capodilupo as a child on his first flight on "Marcella". Photo from David Capodilupo
On Thursday I posted a photo of a static display Eastern Air Lines Boeing 727-100 N8160G at the Future of Flight and asked “What’s wrong here?”
Most of you guessed correctly: the logo and font were wrong. You can check out the before and after-photo to see the change. As I was doing research on the fixed logo, I found the story was much more interesting than I expected.
My research led me to David Capodilupo who has been following N8160G almost his whole life.
Capodilupo first flew on N8160G in July of 1975 (that is him and the plane in the first picture). He fell in love with the tri-engined “whisper jet” and started a life-long relationship with the plane. After his flight he would purchase different airline models and make them look exactly like N8160G by painting the “160″ on the nose.
He had a hard time following the plane through most of his life since there was not an easy way to do so. About eight years ago he was able to track her down and see she was flying for FedEx as N124FE. FedEx had named her “Marcella.”
Capodilupo in front of N8160G at the Future of Flight. Notice the "160" on her nose.
Most Boeing 727-100′s were being retired and scrapped by the early 1980′s, but since Marcella was a 727-100 Quick Change (meaning she could quickly be converted to a cargo carrier), she already had a large cargo door built into her side, allowing her to have a second life with FedEx.
Marcella flew with FedEx from November 1981 until October 2003. In December 2003 she had her last flight from Oakland to Paine Field in Everett, WA where she was to have her front end preserved and displayed in the Future of Flight.
Capodilupo told me it was hard to be sent photos of Marcella being cut up, however he was happy she would find a loving home with the Future of Flight, instead of being sold for scrap.
After Marcella was set up in the Future of Flight, Capodilupo flew out from Boston to visit her. He was very excited to reconnect with the same plane that first flew him as a child in 1975. Once he saw her, his joy turned to disappointment when he noticed the logo and Eastern font were incorrect.
For years Capodilupo has been making his own models (and what airline enthusiast wouldn’t want this 6′ Eastern L1011 model he made in their living room?) and since most model companies didn’t make the Eastern logos properly, he would create his own. Faced with a similar problem, but on a little larger scale, Capodilupo told the Future of Flight “I will fix this.”
He donated his own time and money to put the graphics and logo properly on Marcella and of course the “160″ back on the nose. He is not quite done with Marcella. Can you tell a difference between the two pictures still? The one from 1975 has a black tip on the nose and the current one does not. Capodilupo is hoping to help fix that during a future visit to the Seattle area.
Marcella doesn’t only live on at the Future of Flight. Some of her parts are also being used to restore the first Boeing 727 (which is interesting enough for its own blog in the near future). Hopefully pieces of Marcella will be back in the air in the next few years.
* More photos of Capodilupo and Marcella on my Flickr
* Photos of N8160G on Airliners.net
* Photo of Marcella in silver Eastern Air Lines livery
* My blog on the Future of Flight with more pics of Marcella
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