Air Force Veteran Turns WWII Aircraft into an Airplane RV

This airplane is a 300-square-foot, legally certified motor home.
Chris Young
Gino Lucci's 'The Fabulous Flamingo'Bontrager's Surplus, Inc.

Converted airplanes are truly taking off, though not in the literal sense. More than one of the grounded, wheeled passion projects has gone viral on social media in recent months. The latest one to be brought to our attention, the "Fabulous Flamingo," is undoubtedly another conversation starter on the roads.

The plane part of the Fabulous Flamingo was purchased by its creator, air force veteran Gino Lucci, in 2019. Lucci spent a year converting what was a 1943-era WWII plane into a road-legal RV, according to a report from Insider.

Lucci owns a company, Round Engine Aero, that salvages airplanes, meaning the Fabulous Flamingo project had likely been gestating for quite a while — in fact, in an interview with FOX 17 WXMI, he explained that he had dreamed of making one since he was 12 years old.

Air Force Veteran Turns WWII Aircraft into an Airplane RV
The 'Fabulous Flamingo' still features a co-pilot wheel as decoration. Source: Bontrager's Surplus, Inc.

The Nashville, Michigan-based creator bought an old 1943 Douglas DC-3 Transport aircraft — renamed an R4D when it was assigned to the Navy for executive transport during World War II — with the express intention of converting it into an RV.

The result is a 300-square-foot RV that's legally certified for the road, ideal for traveling cross country with the family in tow.

The 'Fabulous Flamingo' joins a distinguished list of converted airplanes

According to Gino Lucci, the RD4 aircraft had suffered damage from a tornado, and subsequently from looters, and was therefore irreparable for flying — though it was the perfect size to fit on the road.

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Though Lucci hasn't stated exactly how much he bought the old airplane body for, he told Insider that he bought it for the "cost of a used car." The build process lasted approximately a year, from 2019 to the summer of 2020.

Air Force Veteran Turns WWII Aircraft into an Airplane RV
Lucci said the airplane RV is just the right size for the road. Source: Bontrager's Surplus, Inc.

Inside the airplane RV are parts from a variety of old airplanes, including a vintage intercom system and copilot's wheel. The wheel is purely for decorative purposes, though the plane's original intercom system still works.

Lucci used a big diesel engine and a frame from an old delivery truck, sourced from his airplane salvage company, in order to make the RV drive.

The old aircraft's crew area was converted into a plane-themed bedroom for Lucci's youngest son, while the galley was extended, and an oven and fridge were also added. Bathroom equipment and kitchen sinks were installed from other planes. The back area of the RV, meanwhile, features two twin beds and a bathtub.

Air Force Veteran Turns WWII Aircraft into an Airplane RV
The airplane RV uses the frame and engine of an old diesel delivery truck. Source: Bontrager's Surplus, Inc.

In recent months and years, several converted airplane projects have done the rounds on social media. In April, we reported on a converted Convair airliner RV going on sale on Craigslist. We've also recently written about a bonkers private limo jet and an aircraft jet engine converted, not into an RV, but into a pretty epic BBQ grill.

Watch a video showing the Fabulous Flamingo in action below, in which Lucci tells people falsely taking credit for having made his converted airplane RV to "put some clothes on and get out of [their] mother's basement."

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