The DC8 Discovery

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By Phil Brooks

Note: All photos are courtesy of the author.

In the mid-1980s, Fred Erdman, from Springfield, OH, and one of the original World Airline Hobby Club members, told me there was a DC8 restaurant near the town of Hillsboro, OH. I flew over it (I don’t remember who the pilot was, but it wasn’t me) shortly after that in the spring of 1986, but it was several more years before I could visit it. It turns out the DC8 was actually northeast of Mowrystown, OH, but Hillsboro was used as a reference since it was the nearest town of any size. The actual location was at the intersection of US Hwy 62 and OH Route 321, where the two roads form a “Y”.

I told my friend Pete Crawford about it, and he learned there was an airstrip nearby. Pete got permission from Fred Kay, the strip’s owner, to land his flying club’s Cessna Cutlass there on January 3, 1988. We flew over from Eagle Creek Airpark (now KEYE) in Indianapolis.

Our party of three walked to the Highland South restaurant, and while I don’t remember eating a meal there, we did get access to the DC8, which was not in use at the time. I found this old newspaper article that mentions the owner had difficulty heating it, so it was mainly being used for private parties: follow this link to read the Cincinnati Enquirer DC8 article.

Fred recently told me that he carpeted his attic floor with the original Eastern blue carpet from the plane!

A shot looking at the interior of the ole DC8.
The flight deck with orange plush carpeting.
“Captain Phil” at the controls of the DC8 ready to fly you to your next dinner.
“Captain Phil” points out traffic to his “First Officer.”

The aircraft came south by road from the former Clinton County AFB in Wilmington, Ohio, where it was used as a “spares” source by Overseas National Airlines at their maintenance base, which is now Wilmington Air Park (ILN). 

The left (public) side was painted in different colors, maybe so it wouldn’t be confused with any specific airline. The “wings” were not original to the aircraft.

Here we see the left/port side of the DC8 with a red and blue cheatline.

It was far from any population center or major highway, so we were probably among the few airline enthusiasts to visit. Nice that they left the registration on the right side!  

The right/starboard side of DC8 shows the true heritage of its original owner, Eastern Airlines.

I wonder how long it lasted there, before being broken up? The restaurant still exists; it’s now called “The Old Y.”

Here are a few overhead shots of the DC8 Restaurant and “the Old Y.”

Yes, this was my sweet 1979 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with the “B707” vanity plate.  
The USAir window sticker was from my employer at the time.

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Comments (2)

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    Daniel Kennedy


    Super Thanks for sharing! Get that guy out of the left seat!


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    What a fun discovery! Thanks for sharing your story.


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