Catch Up – Most interesting restaurant thus far…

This is no ordinary aircraft but a restaurant & bar!  Although the plane itself does have quite a history as part of one of the biggest scandels of the 1980’s. The plane was eventually left in Costa-Rica where the locals purchased it and transformed into the “El Avion” restaurant.  See below for a more detailed and very interesting history!

From the restaurant history write up…

“Our Fairchild C-123 was a part of one of the biggest scandals in the mid 1980’s. During this time, the Reagan Administration had set up a bizarre network of arms sales to Iran designed to win release of US hostages being held in Lebanon and raise money to fund the Nicaraguan, counter-revolutionary guerilla fighters, commonly referred to as the “Contras.” By artificially inflating the prices of the arms, NSA official Oliver North, was able to reap profits that could be diverted to fund the counter-revolutionaries of the Cuban allied Sandinista government.
Of the $16 million in profits raised, only $3.8 million actually funded the Contras. With the CIA’s help, they purchased several items, including two C-123 cargo planes (one of which is our plane), two C-7 planes, a Maule aircraft, spare parts, and munitions. They also built a secret airstrip on an American-owned, 30,000 acre ranch in northwest Costa Rica. On October 5, 1986, a US cargo plane (the twin sister) of El Avion’s own Fairchild C-123, was shot down over southern Nicaragua. One of the crewmembers, C.I.A operative Eugene Hasenfus, parachuted to safety and was captured by the Sandinista army. Led out of the jungle at gun point, Hasenfus’s very existence set in motion an incredible chain of cover-ups and lies that would mushroom into one of the biggest scandals in American political history known as the Iran-Contra Affair. As a result of this successful Sandinista strike on our Fairchild’s sister plane, the cargo operation was suspended and one of the C-123s was abandoned at the International Airport in San Jose.
In August 2000, we purchased the abandoned Fairchild for $3,000. We then disassembled and shipped the pieces of the Iran-Contra relic to Quepos. From San Jose, the fuselage was shipped via ocean ferry (from Caldera to Quepos) because it was 10 inches too wide for the antiquated Chiquita Banana railroad bridges! After hauling all seven aircraft sections up the Manuel Antonio hill, the C-123 finally found its current cliff-side resting-place.

The Pub Plane
Monica Quesada, Tico Times

Now, our C-123 has been retired to less risqué endeavors as a restaurant, bar, coffee store, and an enduring Cold War relic.
Now El Avion is ready to serve up a food, drinks and beautiful sunsets! Join us under the wing at our restaurant or in the fuselage at our pub.”

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