Avión DC7, Córdoba’s Abandoned Airplane that became a Monument

The DC-7, perching on a verdant hillock

photography by: Omri Westmark

When a wealthy businessman decided to rescue a Douglas DC-7 airplane from scrapping, he never imagined that his flying toy will end up as an eye-sore. Nestled atop a grassy knoll at the Spanish city of Córdoba, the famed aircraft was originally designated as a cultural center, yet it lies abandoned for almost a decade. While Avión DC7's second career never took off, it does serve as an unusual monument in an otherwise mundane park.

During the mid-1950’s, the American Douglas Aircraft Company introduced their brand-new airplane model at that time, known as the DC-7. It was the company’s largest piston engine-powered aircraft, and also the last of its kind ever produced. Out of the original 338 manufactured units, not even a single DC-7 remains operational today. Nevertheless, some aircrafts managed to reinvent themselves as monumental objects across the public domain.

 

In 1995, Baquero Servicios Aéreos, a Córdoba-based company, obtained a pair of DC-7 planes with the intent of repurposing them for firefighting. However, both aircrafts were ultimately confiscated due to financial issues and lied unused at the city’s airport for years. 14 years after their initial arrival to Córdoba, a Swiss-Spanish businessman named Francisco Agulló, purchased the two airplanes. He donated one of them to an aviation museum in France, while the other was given to the local municipality, which sought to convert it into a cultural space.

 

In 2011, the aircraft was transported to its current location, on a verdant park facing the Guadalquivir River. Originally, the Avión DC7 was branded as a “Cultural Place”, where exhibitions, audiovisual shows and seminars would take place. As this project failed to mature, the city council approved a plan to construct a massive auditorium right next to the DC-7, yet it too never came into fruition. Another attempt to revive the dormant aircraft took place in 2016, when its fuselage was repainted and rebranded as part of the European Cultural Capital contest, a title which was lost to San Sebastián.

 

When all further proposals failed as well, the 37-meter-long DC-7 was simply left abandoned. Featuring a wing span of 42 meters and weighing more than 33 tons, the aircraft soon became a canvas for graffiti artists as well as a target for vandalism. In fact, at one point, its doors were welded to stop the numerous trespassers from getting inside. In recent years, the Córdoban authorities vowed to remove what they perceived as a hazard. However, the hefty costs that any such removal entails, mean that for now, the abandoned and graffitied airplane still stands, waiting to be awed by curious onlookers.

The DC-7 aircraft

photography by: Omri Westmark


The plane is still covered with the logo of the 2016's European Cultural Capital contest

photography by: Omri Westmark


Each wing contains two propellers

photography by: Omri Westmark


The airplane sits on a grassy hill that was partially chopped off to create a balcony-like feature

photography by: Omri Westmark


The tires, standing atop a pedestal

photography by: Omri Westmark


The abandoned fuselage

photography by: Omri Westmark


As it turns out, the propellors also became a graffiti board

photography by: Omri Westmark


The DC-7 has a total length of 37 meters

photography by: Omri Westmark


The DC-7 has a total length of 37 meters

photography by: Omri Westmark


Its total weight is a whopping 33,000 kilograms

photography by: Omri Westmark


Like the article's protagonist, the hill's retaining walls are also chockfull of graffiti

photography by: Omri Westmark