Smithsonian in the April 2013 issue ran a 2 page article on their DC-3. I remember visiting the museum in 1976 and noting that their exhibit claiming their airplane to be the high time DC-3 was in error. As a dumb kid right out of high school I worked for North Central, later Republic Air, from May 1967 until May of 1977 and was very familiar with NCA's 728. Herman flew proudly on that old bus. I spent countless hours cleaning, polishing and lounging in, on and around 728. It was a dirty old bird, blowing oil and exhaust from the nacelles to the tail. We cleaned and buffed the fuselage and belly until there was no Alclad left. The belly skin was so pitted that it would not polish, plus the jato bottles required additional heat shield aft of the bottles. The jatos were required after the last custom interior, read that heavy executive interior, poor old 728 could no longer take off or maintain altitude with one P&W 1800.
The first wing drop that I assisted on was a marvel that so many little bolts could hold on such a heavy wing. The whole airplane was a marvel.
I worked on most of the NCA DC-3 and C47 fleet as it was being phased out, loved the hump de hump idle and everything associated with DC-3, except the honey buckets and oil. By 1967 or 1968 NCA was converting their Convair 340's and 440's to 580 turboprops which was really their first jet fleet, the DC-9's came after the Convair conversions where started. I was so found of 728 that I could not believe that NCA would give it away. It wasn't much of an exec aircraft, dated and slow, but I don't think they ever had an exec after the departure. And it was the true all time high time aircraft for many years. NCA used to carry around an old dog eared cardboard story board on 728 that they displayed whenever the aircraft was used showing the maintenance records and changes.
Gone but not forgotten is old 728. Great old bird.