It was early Sunday morning, April 2.
As the rest of the country were still in bed – or slowly rousing from slumber – the legendary Breitling DC-3 landed at Subang Skypark, Selangor.
Celebrating its 77th anniversary this year, this was part of a record-breaking world tour aiming to become the oldest airplane to circumnavigate the globe.
Media members – a few more sleepy-eyed than others – and some lucky guests got to be part of this adventure.
The non-air conditioned flight – hey, they didn’t have that kind of luxury back in those days – took 30 minutes.
Cruising at a low altitude of 609.6m over Kuala Lumpur’s city skyline, it offered a different view – and a better appreciation of our beloved landmarks.
Hey, there’s the Tugu Negara national monument … and look, it’s Petronas Twin Towers! From beginning to end, it was certainly a memorable experience.
The first DC-3 twin-engine propeller plane made its maiden flight in 1935, at a time when Breitling had introduced its first onboard chronographs for civilian and military aircraft.
Nicknamed the “Normandy landings plane”, the DC-3 seats 20 passengers and has a cruising speed of 241km/h. More than 16,000 DC-3 aircraft were built and most major airlines acquired them as part of their fleet.
Today there are fewer than 150 DC-3 aircraft in flightworthy condition worldwide, including the Breitling DC-3, which itself flew for the first time in 1940.
This particular Breitling DC-3 world tour took to the skies on March 9; 77 years to the day since its maiden flight.
Departing from Breitling’s home country of Switzerland, the plane will visit 28 countries and 55 cities over six months, landing back in Switzerland at the Breitling Sion Airshow 2017 in September.
Malaysia is its 12th stop, after crossing the Balkans (Zagreb, Athens), the Middle East (Tel Aviv, Amman), the Gulf states (Bahrain, Doha, Dubai), Pakistan (Karachi), India (Nagpur) and Thailand (Chiang Mai, Phuket).
En-route to KL, the Breitling DC-3 was intercepted by four Royal Malaysian Air Force PC-7s near Alor Setar and flew in perfect formation over the Penang Bridge, symbolising the global spirit of aviation.
Commemorating the Breitling DC-3 world tour
To celebrate this world tour, Breitling has introduced 500 pieces of a limited edition Navitimer aviation chronograph. This steel Navitimer 01 (46 mm), powered by Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01, will be distinguished by its caseback engraved with the Breitling DC-3 World Tour logo.
Enthusiasts will have to wait until after September to get their hands on this model – all 500 pieces will travel aboard the DC-3 around the globe, thus ensuring that they are truly part of the adventure. Each watch will be delivered with a certificate signed by the flight captain, Franceso Agullo.
For more information, visit www.breitling.com.