The Carnage Continues at Gila River Memorial Airpark – February 4, 2023
The vandals have been very busy defacing and destroying airplanes during the past 15+ years. In addition to DC-7B N4889C, which was destroyed by fire in 2020 and the former Biegert Aviation DC-4 that was burned some years ago, vandals have set fire to another DC-4. N44910 can be identified by its missing tail; N44904 remains relatively unscathed; but both N44906 and N44908 have been burned to the point where their nose sections have separated from the fuselage. Ken visited the field on May 17, 2018 and the amount of additional damage that has been done since then is obvious from the photos he took that day. Luckily he wasn't nabbed by the tribal police during that visit.
In addition to the DC-7B and DC-4s, PV-2s N7086C and N7151C along with Howard 500 N130P are parked on the field that have also been targets of the vandals. The Howard has also been torched while the two PV-2s have to date escaped the arsonists.
While I understand that it is practically impossible for the tribal police to protect these airplanes 24-7, they ought to ease up on the enthusiasts that only want to take photos of these sad hulks and mean no harm. They got me a few years ago on a quiet Sunday morning when two of them (in separate patrol cars) were assigned to the field. While it was all very civilized and my rental car wasn’t impounded, it did cost me a $125 fine and a pile of aggravation dealing with the tribal bureaucracy.
Ken Swartz recently overflew Gila River Memorial Airpark (formerly Chandler Memorial Airpark) in a helicopter and photographed the aircraft that were left behind when International Air Response moved their operations to Coolidge, Arizona in 2005. It’s not a pretty sight as Ken explains in his report and photos. "Last Friday (January 27th) I had an opportunity to fly with David Chow in his RotorWay A600T Talon helicopter, N67DC, while visiting the Rotor X kit helicopter factory (formerly Rotorway) in Chandler, Arizona. Our flight took us over Gila River Memorial Airport where I was able to photograph a fleet of grounded Douglas and Lockheed airliners slowly being destroyed by vandals. David’s helicopter is outfitted with a 360 degree video camera system and the YouTube video he posted shows me in the cockpit and the aircraft on the ground. You can change the camera angle but clicking the buttons that appear in the top left corner of the video screen. Hit the left button in the top left of the video (in the YouTube App) to see what I was photographing on the ground! This is the first time I have flown in a Rotorway helicopter model and the flight was surprisingly smooth."
S2F Firebomber Update – January 27, 2023
I spoke to Gordon Cole today and he provided an update to my January 2, 2023 report on the restoration of Bill Garrison’s S2F firebomber N736MA/Tanker #154 at Mesa-Falcon Field. To date both engines have been run and the carburetor on the #1 engine has been replaced; new wheels and tires have been installed; new hydraulic filters have been installed; and leaking hydraulic cylinders have been replaced. Work that still needs to be completed includes replacement of the carburetor on the #2 engine; inspection of the hydraulic system; inspection of the brakes; installation and checkout of communication and navigation radios; inspection of the flight instruments; and a gear retraction test.
Gordon said they hope to perform taxi tests as soon as next Monday January 30th. Once all this is complete and the aircraft has been deemed ready for flight by Bill and Gordon, an FAA ferry permit will be required for the flight to Kansas.
Buffalo, Wyoming PV-2 Update – January 26, 2023
Richard Plocek recently photographed PV-2 Harpoons N7080C/C39 and N7272C at Johnson County Airport in Buffalo, Wyoming. These aircraft were once owned by Hirth Air Tankers and during my July 30, 2006 visit to the airport I photographed these two aircraft along with PV-2s N7458C and N7670C, which were also owned by Hirth. The company ceased operations after the death of owner John Hirth, who was killed in the crash of PV-2 N6856C on April 20, 1997 while fighting a fire in Blandburg, Pennsylvania.
N7670C was purchased at the June 4, 2005 Starman Brothers Auction and was restored in period WWII USN BuNo 37472 markings. Photographed by Nigel Hitchman at AirVenture 2015, the aircraft has been deregistered and was photographed at McDonald Field in Heber City, Utah on June 25, 2021 in less than stellar condition. Gary Hilton reports that N7548C was moved from the area in September 2020 with plans on restoring it as a war memorial in Missouri.
For more information about these aircraft and my photos from July 2006, check out my April 30, 2020 report on this website.
Caribou Arrives at Utah Museum – January 22, 2023
Jim Buckwalter reports on the January 13th arrival of an airworthy DHC-4 Caribou at the St. George Airport. "I’m in my house and hear radial engines, which are very rare these days. I run outside and see a Caribou. What a nice sounding airplane with those long augmentation pipes over the wing! It looked like it was heading to the St. George, Utah airport so I drove there and it was sitting on the ramp with DC-4/C-54 N55CW. Turns out the Caribou is registered N6080 and belongs to John Bagley from Rexburg, Idaho. He's keeping it at the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum for the winter along with his yellow P-51 Mustang N51RH "Ole Yeller." The Caribou is serial number 002 and John told me that it was one of only two still airworthy."
"I went aboard the C-54 and it was like going to a reunion with old friends…so many memories looking around inside. The museum is redoing the overhead panel and cleaning up and relabeling the switches."
According the Airframe Dossier website, N6080 was the prototype Caribou, which definitely makes it a historically significant aircraft. Many thanks to Jim for his photos and report.
Bill Garrison Acquires Second S2F Firebomber – January 2, 2023
On May 6, 2020, November 17, 2019 and
April 2, 2019 I reported on Bill Garrison’s rescue of S2F N508JR/Tanker #95 from a Nevada museum and subsequent introduction as a firebomber in Kansas. Bill acquired former Marsh Aviation S2F N736MA/Tanker #154 at the recent Marsh Aviation aircraft and equipment auction held at Mesa Falcon Field, Arizona on December 8th thru the 10th. While it hasn't flown since 1999, the S2F in good condition with a low time airframe and low time engines. It has an 800 gallon retardant tank with four doors that can operate sequentially or all at one time. Bill and Gordon Cole are preparing the aircraft for a ferry flight back to Kansas and to date have pre-oiled and successfully run both engines; installed a new right main wheel and tire; and installed new fuel lines.
They plan on resuming work on the airplane this week and hope to have the aircraft ready for the flight back to Kansas by the end of January. Tasks needing completion include replacing the left main wheel and tire; inspecting the hydraulic system; inspecting the flight controls; performing a gear retraction test; and installation of replacement master controls and carburetors.
I photographed the airplane twenty years ago at Marsh Aviation in Mesa and Gordon sent me some recent photos. The airplane seems to have fared well over the past twenty years. This is an exciting project in that the aircraft isn't going to a museum for static display but is being turned into a working airframe!
Texas M404 Awaits its Fate – December 1, 2022
Jerry Griggs recently posted a photo of M404 N404CG on Facebook that a friend took on November 27, 2022 at Victoria Regional Airport in Texas. The aircraft was delivered new to Eastern Airlines in November 1952 and was retired by the airline in 1962. It passed through a number of aircraft brokers and small operators before Sam Stewart acquired it in 1979. It was registered N404CG and painted in USCG colors in about 1999 to represent VC-3A 1282. It appeared at a number of airshows, including both the 1999 AirVenture and Sun ‘n Fun events. Parked at Houston Hobby in 2004, it apparently made its last flight some time in 2004 or 2005 when it was flown to Victoria. Chris Siderwicz noted on a recent Facebook post that he had inspected the airplane 2½ years ago and found corrosion, which probably means that it will never fly again. The sad truth is that they can’t all be saved and it’s very likely that this Martin will eventually have a date with the scrapman.
Museum Acquires Walt Disney’s Gulfstream I – November 22, 2022
The Palm Springs Air Museum recently acquired Walt Disney’s G-159 Gulfstream I N234MM. The aircraft named “The Mouse” served The Walt Disney Company for 28 years carrying company employees and VIPs, including three former presidents. Its final flight occurred on Oct. 8, 1992, when it was flown to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It made its final landing on a road inside company property and was put on display in the backlot area of the Disney MGM (now Disney Hollywood) Studios theme park. Before arriving at the museum, the aircraft was on display in September at the D23 Expo 2022 in Anaheim, California. A new exhibit will be constructed at the museum and open on Walt Disney’s birthday, December 5th. This new exhibit will highlight the history of the aircraft and showcase its significance to The Walt Disney Company’s history and its relevance to the Palm Springs area.
Trio of Canadian CS2F-2 Trackers Looking for a Home – October 22, 2022
The University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC is looking to place three S-2 Trackers that are excess to their needs and currently parked behind the school’s hangar at the airport. The first two are former Saskatchewan CS2F-2 air tankers C-GEQC T504 and C-GEQE T506, with the third being an unconverted former Royal Canadian Navy CS2F-2 Tracker. The two air tankers are pretty much complete with the RCN aircraft missing props and quite a few instruments. The school wants them gone and they are reportedly free for the asking to a qualified organization. If a new home cannot be found, they will be scrapped.
Send me an email if your interested in acquiring any of these aircraft and I'll pass the word on to the university's POC.
Slow Progress on Repair of Everts C-46 – October 22, 2022
Everts Air Fuel C-46F N1822M Salmon Ella was involved in a runway overrun incident at Manley Springs Airport on 16 July 2018 and its nose section was severely damaged. From the appearance of the crushed nose section it was a miracle that neither pilot was injured. The aircraft was disassembled and transported back to Fairbanks where a nose “transplant” was well underway during my May 2019 to Fairbanks. Mike Golberg recently contacted Rob Everts regarding the status of the repair and received the following response. "She is still on shoring. Shortage of labor has been the stumbling block. We have not given up."
Lufthansa to Place Starliner and Ju-52 on Static Display In Celebration of its Centennial – October 20, 2022
An article published recently on the Simply Flying News website announced that Lufthansa will be placing L1649A Starliner N7316C and Ju-52 D-AQUI on permanent display to celebrate the airline’s 100th anniversary in 2026. Both aircraft are currently stored at Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport in Germany with the process of reassembling them scheduled to begin by the end of 2022. While the Ju-52 is almost completely assembled, the Starliner is almost totally disassembled and will required a considerable amount of work to get it back together for display. During a staff event, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr announced that the two airplanes will be placed in a new home in either Frankfurt or Munich.
While we would all like to see both aircraft in an airworthy condition and flying, this is a better outcome that many, including myself, expected.
National Airline History Museum Threatened with Closure – September 17, 2022
While Kansas City’s National Airline History Museum has been on perilous footing for some time, I heard yesterday that it had been closed. I reached out to AHM President John Roper to confirm the report and he responded telling me that the museum is still fighting Signature Flight Support and hasn’t given up yet. The museum has been in a prolonged legal battle with Signature, which was attempting to have it evicted from its longtime home at the airport's Hangar 9. The problem started in September 2019 when Kansas City amended its lease with Signature for management of the Downtown Airport. The change deleted all financial benefits for the museum, which meant the city would start charging Signature $3,256 per month rent for the hangar. Signature notified the museum of the change, which was effective December 2019 and a series of legal battles ensued. Apparently the museum is running out of legal options but is still fighting not to get evicted.
What will become of the museum’s collection of restored aircraft if it is evicted is anyone’s guess. To park the museums beautifully restored Super Constellation outdoors would be criminal. The museum’s collection also includes a Martin 404 and a DC-3 that has been under restoration for many years and is nearly complete. A jet-age engineless L1011 is also part of the collection and has been parked outside the hangar since arriving at the museum a few years back. This is absolutely horrible news and, I hate to say so, but it’s probably a sign of things to come. The country has seems to lost its appreciation of aviation history…plenty of money for illegal immigrants and the such but little allocated for the preservation of our aviation legacy. For more information about what led to this unfortunate situation, check out this May 27th article titled The Sad State of the Airline History Museum in Kansas City, Missouri
Arizona PBY Severely Damaged in Storm – August 11, 2022 - Updated January 23, 2023
Phoenix TV station Fox 10 aired a broadcast report that a number of aircraft were damaged by a storm at Buckeye Municipal Airport on August 7th. "A microburst on Sunday night managed to damage a number of planes at the municipal airport in Buckeye, with several aircraft flipped upside down, and propellers twisted." Unfortunately one of the aircraft severely damaged was PBY-5A Catalina N413PB, which was part of the Lauridsen Aviation Museum collection. From the images broadcast, it appears that the aircraft could be a total loss.
Sean Keating visited the airport on December 31,2022 and photographed the aircraft. While nothing is impossible, it appears that the aircraft is a total loss.
British Columbia Propliner/Firebomber Report – July 9, 2022
Martin Cooper visited Abbotsford and Penticton, British Columbia on July 8, 2022 and noted the following Propliners/Firebombers.
-Abbotsford International Airport-
Between the Conair hangars
- L-188 Electra C-FYYJ T460 – no props but otherwise appeared complete.
University of the Fraiser Valley
- CS2F-2 C-GEQC T504
- CS2F-2 C-GEQE T506
Both are former Saskatchewan Air Tankers looking unloved but complete.
- Lockheed Lodestar CF-TCY
- Unidentified bare meal S2
Both were also noted in this April 9, 2022 report.
- C-GFBP appeared to be under conversion to CL-215T wearing yellow with red stripe as Manitoba aircraft or similar
- Unidentified yellow CL-215T with black/white/black cheatline
- S-2 Firecat C-GHDY T573 ex Conair also looking unloved
-Penticton Municipal Airport-
All aircraft departed at approx. 13.30 returning approximately 50 minutes later. I later found out this was a weekly training flight carried out presumably if there is no other activity. Talking to one of the CV580 crew members he noted that whilst there has been no official announcement and the last few years have been rumored to the Conair’s last year the crews believe that when this year’s contract with British Columbia ends on 7 September that will be the end of Conair CV580 operations.
- Rockwell 690A C-GIAA AA137
- CV580 C-FFKF T444
- CV580 C-FLFL T449
- CV580 C-FHKF T455
AN-2 on Floats – July 6, 2022
Regular contributor John Olafson recently photographed an Antonov AN-2 on floats. While AN-2's don't really qualify as a Propliner, I’m making an exception and including it because an AN-2 on floats is rare and interesting....plus it has a big old radial engine up front!
"This huge biplane came to Vernon, B.C. from Calgary/Springbank where it is based just a few days ago. Its been here before but was on wheels at the time. It’s rigged out as a flying camper, so its only fitting that the owners would go one step further by putting it on floats. To my understanding there was only one or two of the type ever fitted with floats. Apparently there is one existing set of floats for the AN-2 in Europe so measurements were made and a set of carbon fiber amphibious floats were built for it. What makes these floats unique is the absence of water rudders. To steer the aircraft when its on water there are water jets mounted on the rear of the floats which provide the required sideways thrust to control its direction. There is a Go Pro camera and an outboard motor mount installed on the rear spreader bar, so probably there will be some fishing happening while on the water."
Grounded in Alaska – June 22, 2022
Dietmar Schreiber spent a couple of weeks in Alaska in June where he was blessed with some amazingly sunny weather for his hallmark air-to-air photography. He also managed to find time to photograph two grounded relics; C-119G N9027K parked at the south ramp of Anchorage International Airport and C-123K N123K parked at Nikiski Air Strip.
The C-119G is owned by the Alaska Aviation Museum and has been stored in its current location for a number of years. It was once owned by Brooks Air Fuel and stored adjacent to the Everts freight terminal for many years before being moved to the south ramp. Rumor has it that the airport wants it moved but, with the museum’s lack of space at its Lake Hood location, it’s definitely not going to be relocated there. The C-123K is owned by Everts Air Fuel and appears to be mostly intact, with it only missing its rudder. FAA records show Everts acquired the airplane in June 2019 and I’m at a loss to why they would want it. Perhaps for its two R2800 engines? Anyone have a theory??
Fokker F.VIIb/3m "Southern Cross" Update – June 21, 2022
While technically not a Propliner, I’ve included some photos and a short report I received from David Wood on Fokker F.VIIb/3m replica VH-USU "Southern Cross", which is being restored by the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Illawarra Airport, Albion Park NSW Australia.
An update on the situation with our Southern Cross replica restoration from project head Jim Thurstan. Jim is a retired senior Qantas Ground Engineer who also looks after the HARS Super Connie. He writes "Following the excitement of our initial engine running and taxi trials at the end of 2021 and early on this year, we had hoped to soon move into the upgrade of our navigation and communication systems. While we have largely completed the aircraft’s electrical system work and have purchased the new avionics components, their installation has not yet commenced due to outside contractor staff shortages. The new equipment need to be installed before we can finish off the electrical wiring and inside fit out of the aircraft. The avionics provider and installer hopes to be able to commence work soon. I will advise when this happens. Best regards, Jim Thurstan”
S-2A Languishes at Florida Airfield – May 2, 2022
Hart Fessenden recently photographed this sad looking Grumman Tracker at Tri-County Airport in Bonifay, Florida. A bit of digging through internet sites revealed that the aircraft is former U.S. Navy S-2A (S2F-1) BuNo 147552 with a civilian registration N8225E. It was flown to Tri-County Airport in 2005 and FAA records show the aircraft currently registered to Andersen Engineering Design of Patuxent River, Maryland. While it appears to be in relatively good condition, a missing engine and mold growing on the upper fuselage is not a good sign. Hopefully something good will become of this aircraft and it will not continue to slowly rot in place.
Not Many Propliners Attend SUN ‘n FUN – April 12, 2022
For whatever reason, friends that attended SUN ‘n FUN this year reported that there were very few Propliners in attendance. While their numbers have have steadily decreased over the years, there were still quite a few Propliners attending the event prior to COVID, including a handful of DC-3’s and C-47’s. Hopefully more will return in 2023....these two beauties were photographed by Graham Robson on April 9th. N222FT is currently based at nearby Leeward Air Ranch and I’m hoping to make a trip there in the near future to photograph her.
Canadian Lodestar – April 9, 2022
John Olafson recently sent me an email with a photo of Lodestar CF-TCY, which he took at Delta Heritage Air Park way back in 2007. It was moved to Abbotsford for restoration at the University College of the Fraser Valley but it doesn't appear that much has been done in the past 12+ years. "I was viewing the recent photos by Kenneth Swartz at Abbotsford and, in his photo of a stored Tracker (June 2021), I noticed that Lodestar CF-TCY was parked beside it. I photographed it September 19, 2007 at Delta Heritage Air Park and in October of that year it was taken apart and moved to Abbotsford to the University College of the Fraser Valley where it was to be restored for display and then taken to the Canadian Museum of Flight at Langley, BC. A number of retired TCA/Air Canada retirees raised some funds to go towards its restoration. It appears the restoration project is going to take a long time as there does not seem to be very much progress made over the last few years. It is hoped that the restoration will eventually be completed and the aircraft will be put on display as it has a great deal of Canadian aviation history associated with it."
Does anyone know the identity of the CS2F Tracker parked next to the Lodestar and if it's also waiting in the restoration queue?
Buffalo Airways Red Deer Update – March 21, 2022
Mike Golberg visited Red Deer Regional Airport on March 19, 2022 and photographed a number of Buffalo Airways aircraft from the fence line. Since John Olafson’s September 2, 2021 visit to the airport, former Conair CV580’s C-GKFO #53 and C-FKFM #54 have arrived joining C-GYXC #42 and C-FKFB #47. While Buffalo doesn’t fly Convairs, valuable engines and other components have been harvested for the company’s Electras and smart money have the Convairs eventually being scrapped. Like John, Mike was not able gain airside access and his photos are over and through the fence. The photos provide a sense of what’s happening with Buffalo at the airport and are much appreciated. Many thanks to Mike for sharing his report and photos.
Electra's C-GLBA, C-FBAQ #417, C-GXFC
Electra C-FIJX #416
CV580 C-FKFM #54, Electra C-GLBA
Electra C-FIJX #416, CV580 C-FKFM #54
Electra C-FIJX #416, CV580 C-FKFM #54
CV580's C-FKFB #47, C-GKFO #53
DC-3's C-FDTD, CF-CUE
DC-3's C-FDTD, CF-CUE
CL-215 C-FTUV #290
CL-215 C-GNCS #291
CL-215's C-FTUV #290, C-GNCS #291, C-FTXA #284, C-FYWP #292
RCAF Retires the CC-115 Buffalo – January 21, 2022
The CC-115 Buffalo ended its military career on January 15, 2022, when the type flew its final operational flight for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The Buffalo entered service with the RCAF in 1967 and after 55 years of sterling service, it is being replaced by the CC-295 Kingfisher. The first Kingfisher arrived during the fall of 2020 with delivery of the 16th aircraft scheduled for the fall of 2022. Three Buffalo’s will be retained by the RCAF as historical artifacts. For more information, check out the January 15th RCAF News Release and the January 17th SKIE article.
BAHF Acquires Three C-97s – January 17, 2022
The Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation's C-97G N117GA Angel of Deliverance experienced a catastrophic failure of its #2 engine on June 4, 2019 and the aircraft has been grounded in Reading, Pennsylvania ever since. On September 25, 2021 the failed engine was removed in anticipation of the organization acquiring a replacement engine. BAHF acquired a large cache of spare parts and engines when, on December 7, 2021, they purchased C-97G N1367N, KC-97L N29862 and KC-97L N29866 from B&G Industries of Greybull, Wyoming. All three are former Hawkins and Powers aircraft and have been stored at South Big Horn Municipal Airport since the demise of that company in February 2006.
Now that the aircraft have been acquired, the next step is to remove and transport several engines 2,000 miles from Greybull to the east coast, where at least one will be installed on N117GA. Each engine/QEC weighs 6,500 pounds and the organization’s tools and specialized equipment to remove the engines will have to be shipped to Greybull. Specialized engine stands will have to be fabricated to transport the engines and a heavy crane rented to remove the engines in Greybull. Even with BAHF members doing much of the work, all this is very expensive and a funding campaign has been initiated. If you think having a C-97 on the airshow circuit would be pretty cool, consider donating to this worthy project. Here’s a link to a FLYER, which includes a donation form. For more information about the project, check out pages 4 and 5 of the current BAHF Newsletter.
Martin Mars For Sale – January 16, 2022
The Coulson Group recently advertised one of their Martin Mars flying boats for sale on Platinum Fighter Sales for $5M. C-FLYL "Hawaii Mars" along with sister ship C-FLYK "Philippine Mars" were retired from firefighting in 2013 and 2007 respectively. C-FLYL trained Chinese pilots in 2015 and attended AirVenture in 2016 before being flown back to Port Alberni and parked. C-FLYK was painted in U.S. Navy colors in anticipation of a deal with the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida that never happened. It was reported at the time that the deal was blocked as the result of of Canada’s "Cultural Property Export and Import Act." The first two photos were taken at Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, BC in September 2005 and the third taken in September 2016 after C-FLYK was painted in U.S. Navy colors. Many thanks to Christopher Terry for sharing his 2016 photo of C-FLYK.
According to the advertisement, C-FLYL has 23,497.8 airframe hours and a current annual inspection will be included with an asking price purchase. For more information about the aircraft, check out the Platinum website at https://www.platinumfighters.com/inventory-2/1945-martin-jrm-3-mars.
Dumod Liner Beech 18 Acquired by Museum – December 22, 2021
As reported on May 8, 2020, Dumod Liner N445DM was being offered for sale and the owner was considering scrapping the aircraft if no buyer could be found. The aircraft is one of three aircraft built by the Dumod Corporation in the mid-1960s and is essentially an extreme modification of the basic Beech 18 airframe. Roy Blewett reports that the aircraft was acquired by the Vintage Flying Museum of Fort Worth, Texas and was trucked to Meacham Field in October 2020, where it will be used as a donor in the restoration of E18S N13JC. This aircraft was the last aircraft owned by famed aviatrix Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran. Not a great ending for this unique aircraft but better than being left in the weeds to rot.
Lauridsen Aircraft Collection Advertised For Sale – December 21, 2021
Hans Lauridsen recently advertised five aircraft from his collection in Trade-A-Plane. They include PBY/Canso IISR N413PB ($325K); HU-16C N216HU ($175K); Beech D18 N6365T ($175K); DC-3 N243DC ($125K); and C-119G N15501 ($125K). Not included in the Trade-A-Plane listing were B-25J N3438G; C-1A N71456; and B-26C N126HP. The C-119 was featured in the 2004 remake of the classic 1965 motion picture Flight of the Phoenix. The following note was included in the advertisement…"Would like to sell the collection to one buyer but will also sell individually….The End of an Era…Thank you"
Failed Engine Removed on C-97G – October 30, 2021
As reported on June 15 and June 16, 2019, Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation (BAHF) C-97G N117GA experienced a catastrophic failure of the #2 engine on June 4, 2019 while flying from Hagerstown, Maryland to Reading, Pennsylvania. The engine was shut down and the aircraft proceeded to Reading, where it landed safely. The C-97G was on its way to the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Air Museum WWII Weekend, where it was a featured attraction. It has remained grounded since then and on September 25, 2021 a small crew of BAHF members removed the failed engine. The organization posted the following report on their Facebook page. "Now that the replacement C-54 is finally in paint, we turn our attention back to the C-97, "Angel of Deliverance", which suffered a catastrophic engine failure in June 2019. Today, our team removed the failed engine from the airplane in anticipation of its replacement. Onward, upward and ever forward! Thanks to Tim, Kevin, Jase, Jeff, Matt and especially Lada for the use and operation of his rotator recovery rig."
Lockeed Electra Junior 12A Damaged in Landing Incident – September 11, 2021
Lockheed Electra Junior 12A N25628 was damaged after its right landing gear collapsed as the result of a reported “very rough” landing at Moses Lake Municipal Airport on September 5, 2021. The Columbia Basin Herald reports that the collapse sent the vintage aircraft across the runway and into the dirt. While the incident resulted in some bent sheet metal and props, the aircraft is definitely repairable. Along with engine rebuilds, the cost for repairing the damage will definitely be six figures. Fortunately there were no injuries to the two persons onboard the aircraft. For additional information, check out the Aviation Safety Network report. Many thanks to Wayne Ostler who provided photos of the post-incident aircraft.
Red Deer Regional Airport Update – September 2, 2021
John Olafson recently visited Red Deer Regional Airport in Alberta, Canada and forwarded a report and photos. On July 29th I reported that Air Spray was building a new RADS II tank system and the obvious question at the time was what Electra would be pulled out of the boneyard for restoration. John reports that former Honduran Air Force C-GNPB had been moved to the active ramp and perhaps this long-stored airframe might be Air Spray’s next tanker conversion…or perhaps not. Only time will tell.
Former Conair CV580 C-FKFB #47 is a recent arrival at Red Deer and joins CV580 C-GYXC #42, which arrived some time ago. Buffalo obviously acquired them for their Allison engines since it doesn’t operate CV580’s. With that said, here’s John’s report.
I was at Red Deer on August 25th, and sadly, and unfortunately I could not access either Air Spray or Buffalo facilities. Air Spray’s director of safety was unavailable and nobody was there who was authorized to let me in. Same at Buffalo, although a sympathetic chap let me inside the gate but no further. Very disappointing. Maybe this is yet another airport where access inside is going to be near impossible. I hope not.
It looks like many of Buffalo’s stored aircraft have been moved away from the back field and are seen close to their hangars, behind locked gates and fences. Maybe that back storage area is earmarked for something else.
At any rate, I did get a few snaps, some through the blasted fence. Interesting thing is that Electra C-GNPB is on the Air Spray ramp and they are obviously doing something with it. Two engines are on it, and they are connected to the power cart. I wonder if this is the next one for the fleet. Maybe so. Sorry for the poor quality photo, it was the best I could do through the fence.
And I saw two of the former Conair CV580’s parked there, engineless. C-FKFB had just recently arrived and they still had not removed the engines. Buffalos two airtanker Electras were back off contract up north, and its likely they are finished for this year. I was also able to photograph Buffalo CL-215’s C-FTUV #290 and C-GNCS #291. C-FTUV had just returned from contract and C-GNCS was a standby aircraft.
Many thanks to John for sharing his report and photos.
Museum Acquires KC-97G – July 28, 2021
As reported on July 4, 2021, authorities are intent on clearing the remnants of the once mighty Hawkins & Powers (H&P) aircraft fleet from the South Big Horn County Airport in Greybull, Wyoming. In addition to the aircraft being auctioned, the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting has recently acquired former H&P KC-97G N97HB (incorrectly marked as N97HP). This aircraft will make a nice addition to the museum’s collection, which includes former RCAF C-119Gs N3935 and N5215R; PB4Y-2 Privateers N7962C/T126 and N6884C/T127; SP-2H Neptune N173AM; and Beech C18S N7391C. The H&P folks must have had a sense of humor in that the KC-97G is incorrectly marked N97HP vs the correct N97HB and the jet pod on C-119F N3935 is marked 136, which was assigned to C-119 N5216R. The correct tanker ID for N3935 is 139. This discrepancy could possibly have been result of the engine cowlings or engines being swapped for whatever reason. All of the below photos were taken on July 29, 2006.
Cleveland KC-97L Update – July 26, 2021
On September 23, 2020 I reported that Cleveland’s International Exposition Center (I-X Center) had closed and the fate of the center’s KC-97L 52-2604 was far from certain. While I haven't heard anything regarding plans for this aircraft, Mark Moxley-Knapp photographed it on July 2, 2021 and it appears to be well taken care of and in excellent condition. The grounds appear to be well kept and Mark reports that there is a guard at the gate and he was not able to access the grounds. This is a good thing in that vandals have not been able to access the aircraft with their spray cans and other tools of destruction. Many thanks to Mark for his report and very nice photos. If anyone has any information about the plans for this aircraft, please email me so I can share them.
Kenyan Beaver Lost – July 23, 2021
Tobias Ralle reports that Beaver 5Y-BCL crashed on July 12, 2021 in Naivasha, Kenya due to bad weather. The aircraft was on a flight from Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta Intl Airport to Lodwar Airport in Kenya. A refueling stop was planned at Lodwar before the flight was to proceed to Ethiopia. There were two pilots and one engineer onboard, with one of the pilots killed and the other crewmembers seriously injured. Tobias provided two June 2019 photos of the aircraft at the international airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Here’s a link to the Aviation Safety Net Report on the accident.
Greybull Propliners Up For Auction – July 4, 2021
It looks like it’s the end of the road for a collection of Propliners that have called Greybull home for many years. The C-119s, C-97s, P2Vs and C-130 were remnants of the once mighty Hawkins and Powers firebomber fleet while the C-82s were trucked in from Alaska; the C-54s from Mesa, Arizona; and the M404 from Sheridan, Wyoming. I believe they are all owned by Harold Sheppard but don’t know that for certain. I visited Greybull in May 2003 and again in July 2006, just before the Hawkins and Powers aircraft auction. There doesn’t seem to be much interest in the aircraft since current bid prices are extremely low…$1 in many cases. This is probably due to the fact that the price of scrap aluminum is currently very low and it could very well cost more to scrap the airplanes than the value of the scrap metal and other components. In the end, if the Greybull city fathers want the aircraft to be gone from the airport, they might have to pay to have them removed. Many thanks to Shawn Keating who pointed out a recent post on the Warbird Information Exchange (WIX) website.
Auction #2837182 - C-119G Salvage Aircraft - 10994/N8094
Auction #2837192 - C-119F Salvage Aircraft - 53-8076/N8505A
Auction #2837197 - C-119L Salvage Aircraft - 53-8150/N37636
Auction #2837222 - KC-97L Salvage aircraft 1 - 53-350/N972HP
Auction #2837234 - KC-97L Salvage aircraft 2 - 53-265/N497HP
Auction #2837238 - KC-97L Salvage aircraft 3 - 53-208/N397HP
Auction #2837290 - P2V Salvage aircraft 1 - 148355/N2218A
Auction #2837292 - P2V Salvage aircraft 2 - 135588/N4846N/N125HP
Auction #2837295 - P2V Salvage aircraft 3 - 140154/N8056D
Auction #2837298 - C-130 Salvage body - No markings - Probably C-130B 58-0740
Auction #2837310 - Lot of five aircraft fuselages - C-82s 45-57782/N5102B and 44-23027/N8009E, C-54s 39122/N67017 and 50865/N67019, M404 (N461M)
St. Maarten YS-11 Update – June 13, 2021
When I last visited St. Maarten in October 2019, the fuselage of former Winair YS-11 PJ-WIK was sitting at Bobby’s Marina in Philipsburg stripped of its interior in preparation for transport to its final destination as an ocean diving attraction. Nothing happens quickly in St. Maarten and, while the fuselage hasn’t reached the ocean bottom, it was noted on May 9, 2021 partially submerged in shallow water. I plan on checking on its whereabouts when I visit St. Maarten in October.
Super Guppy Cockpit Saved – May 1, 2021
The cockpit section of former Airbus Super Guppy (B377SG-201) F-BTGV arrived at the South Wales Aviation Museum (SWAM) in St. Athan, Wales on February 4, 2021. The Super Guppy had been on display at the former British Aviation Heritage Center at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in the UK for many years and was broken up in mid-December 2021. This is a good news/bad news story with the bad news being that the aircraft was scrapped and the good news being that at least the cockpit was saved. The museum plans on restoring the cockpit and putting it on display.
September 2020 Ju-52 Move to Paderborn – February 26, 2021
I'm a bit late on this one but better late than never! Lufthansa Ju-52 D-AQUI/D-CDLH has been moved from the warehouse in Bremen to the Quax Flying Club hangar in Paderborn, Germany. Although flying is probably not in the aircraft’s immediate future, reportedly the club plans on restoring it to where engines could be run and the aircraft taxied around the airport.
New Smyrna Beach Airport Update – February 4, 2021 - Updated February 6, 2021
I’ve recently made a number of trips to New Smyrna Beach Airport to report on the restoration of C-54D/DC-4 N9015Q by the Berlin Airlift Historical Society (BAHF). A number of things have changed at American Aero Services and the airport but much remains the same since my September 25, 2020 report.
DC-7BF N381AA, which was parked in a mid-field parking area has returned to the east side of the field and is parked once again on the Epic Flight Academy ramp. It still retains all it vital parts and appears about the same as when I last photographed it. The move was featured in the TV reality show Shipping Wars and provides some interesting insight on the aircraft’s 200 mile move from Opa-locka Airport to New Smyrna Beach. Warning, be prepared for reality show stupidity and silliness. PBY-5A N423RS/JV928 remains stored in a storage yard across the street from American Aero Services and is reported to be for sale.
The fuselage of Canso A N983CF remains stored outside on the American Aero ramp while the former Dutch PBY-5A N459CF has been moved to a storage hangar where it's keeping company with P-51 'Toulouse Nuts' and two TP-40Ns. B-17G N207EV remains in the work hangar along with B-25N N347GG 'Tondeleyo' and Grumman Goose N985R.
Airline History Museum Threatened With Eviction – January 20, 2021
Alan Shope recently posted a Facebook video reporting that Signature Flight Support is attempting to force the Airline History Museum (AHM) from its longtime home in Hangar 9 at Kansas City's Downtown Airport. Signature wants the museum to vacate the hangar immediately and the museum is suing Signature to remain. AHM has been based at the airport since 1986 and in the hangar since 2000. The hangar is home to a collection of unique aircraft including Super Constellation N6937C, M404 N145S, DC-3 N1945, a T-6, Northrop Delta and Curtis Condor to name a few. It would be a real shame if the museum was forced to vacate the hangar, which would result in many of the aircraft facing an uncertain future and the reality of being stored outdoors and possibly scrapped.
Aviation Icon Flies West – December 3, 2020
Dynamic Aviation announced on November 28, 2020 that company chairman and founder Karl Stoltzfus had passed away the previous night after a five week illness. Karl was one of those larger than life personalities that the aviation community is blessed with and he will be sorely missed by not only be his family but all those who he touched during his eighty year life. My first contact with Karl was during the spring of 2015 when he purchased VC-121A 48-610 "Columbine II" which had been stored in an Arizona airport boneyard since May 2003. The aircraft had been Dwight D. Eisenhower's first presidential aircraft and was the first presidential aircraft to be designated "Air Force One." At the time, it was in real danger of being scrapped as the airport authorities wanted it to be removed from the field. Karl first heard about the aircraft's plight while reading an article I had written a year before in Warbirds International magazine and was the proverbial "right man at the right time." I have no doubt that the Connie would have been scrapped if not for him. Karl had the resources and the will to restore the aircraft and, in less than a year, it was airworthy and flown to Dynamic Aviation's headquarters in Bridgewater, Virginia, where a "better than new" restoration has been underway. I first met Karl in person during my first visit to Bridgewater in August 2016 to gather information for an article. Karl was a gracious host and allowed me to make yearly visits to check on the progress of the project. During my last visit in June 2020 he seemed perfectly healthy and I was amazed to learn that we would be celebrating his 80th birthday a few months later. I'm proud to say that Karl considered me a friend and I’m a better person for knowing him. Here's the November 28th post issued by Dynamic, including a moving tribute by his son Michael, who is company CEO.
It is with heavy hearts and great sorrow that we announce the passing of Karl Stoltzfus Sr., founder of Dynamic Aviation. Karl passed Friday night surrounded by his family. He was loved deeply by many here in the Valley and around the world. We will miss him greatly.
Here are some thoughts written by Michael Stoltzfus, son of Karl, and President and CEO of Dynamic Aviation:
Dad passed late last night, Friday, Nov 27, 2020, after a five-week battle against severe pancreatitis. As you all know he was 80.
His body fought vigorously, to the end, just as anyone who knew him would fully expect. And, just as we would imagine, he was fully prepared weeks ago in both mind and spirit to make his journey to join his Heavenly Father. Dad's example throughout these last weeks was a beautiful testament to his ability to fight the good fight while simultaneously fully accepting God's unexpected change of plans.
There are many lessons that Dad shared with us throughout the years. Two among them guided him. He always insisted that the job be done well and that we always do the right thing. He also gave us a wealth of wisdom through word and deed, and by living a well-lived life – a life of faith and serving others; a life of joy and passion for aviation; and a life filled with hard work, focus, and perseverance.
Over the last number of years, Dad and I frequently discussed the future of Dynamic Aviation. He clearly expressed his interest that we do everything in our power to continue to make Dynamic stronger, that we care for our customers, and trust God’s leading of Dynamic.
So, that is indeed what we will do. And that is what we will do together. We will do it because it is the right thing to do, and we will do it because it’s the best way to honor what Dad created and what we have all built together throughout his lifetime.
For now, though, let’s stand together as we deeply mourn his passing. Let’s give ourselves and each other permission to weep as a sign of our love and admiration for him. And let’s share our stories and fondest memories of him and all the personal ways he impacted us.
We will continue building an amazing Dynamic that honors him and his legacy for years to come. We will continue serving and caring for our customers and for each other, just as he did. And we will continue building upon the foundation he laid, of innovation, passion, and hard work.
Finally, on a personal note, I am eternally grateful for Dad and for his love for me and my family. And I am grateful for the opportunity to have partnered with him in the business for 3 decades and to have been together with him throughout these last weeks. Thank you for your love for Dad and your outpouring of support for our family.
There will be a small private graveside service for Karl on Saturday December 5th. In light of the current pandemic, the family requests no uninvited guests at the service. A public memorial service is planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mission Aviation Fellowship at https://give.maf.org/ or by mail at:
Mission Aviation Fellowship
PO Box 47
Nampa, ID 83653
Former CALFIRE S2F’s For Sale – October 25, 2020
Amador County in California recently listed two former CALFIRE S2Fs on its public auction website. They are N406DF #95 / item #2655053 and N420DF #77 / item #2656909. CALFIRE retired its conventional powered S2F air tankers a number of years ago, replacing them with turbine powered S2T aircraft. Both are both powered by R1820 radial engines with bids due no later than November 12, 2020 at 3:00pm PST.
Hagerstown Aviation Museum Signs Lease on Hangar – October 5, 2020
For the first time in its 25-year history, the Hagerstown Aviation Museum has a permanent home for its collection of vintage aircraft. On Sunday September 27, 2020, museum president John Seburn signed a lease on the 1943 Fairchild Aircraft Flight Test Hangar at Maryland’s Hagerstown Regional Airport in front of a small group that had gathered for the occasion. The museum posted the following announcement on its Facebook page. 'At today's event, with the Washington County Historical Society, a major milestone was witnessed by those in attendance. A lease was signed by the museum to utilize the historic 1943 Fairchild Aircraft Flight Test Hangar also known as the Dome Hangar as the first permanent home for the Hagerstown Aviation Museum in 25 years. The lease has an option to buy the hangar so a capital campaign will be coming soon. Acquiring the Dome Hangar has always been a major goal for the museum and now it will be protected and preserved. Please donate to the Dome Hangar Project at https://www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org/'.
Seburn noted 'For many years, we kept things tucked away in t-hangars and other buildings and warehouses and just bring them out for events. But now with this, once we get it renovated and fixed up for the public to come in, they can, everyone can come here almost any day to see everything we have.' An open house was held on Sunday October 4th to showcase the new facility to museum members and the general public, many of whom are former Fairchild employees that worked at the plant. The museum’s collection includes a number of aircraft manufactured at Fairchild’s Hagerstown facility, including a C-82, C119 and C-123.
Abbotsford Firecats Scrapped – October 4, 2020
Firecats have a long history of firefighting in Canada and for many years there was a large collection of retired aircraft at the Conair boneyard at Abbotsford Airport. Gord Spruyt visited the airport on September 26, 2020 and reports that the remaining aircraft were being scrapped. While many retired Firecats were donated to museums or serve as gate guards around Canada, there was absolutely no market for the remaining aircraft and it was only a matter of time before their date with the scrapman would come. I visited Abbotsford in September 2014 when there were no fewer than 12 Firecats in the boneyard ranging in condition from total derelict to near-airworthy. It’s a sad end to an era but we can take some solace in that CAL FIRE still operates 20+ turboprop S-2T firebombers in California.
C-7A Caribous 'Rescued' From Tucson Boneyard – October 4, 2020 - UPDATED October 7, 2020
Carlos Gomez led a small team that 'rescued' five C-7A Caribou’s from the Western International Aviation boneyard in Tucson, Arizona, where they had been stored for about 30 years. Three of the aircraft were still on their landing gear (63-9755/N91NC, 62-4183/N98NC and 62-4182/N60NC), while two were sitting on their belly less landing gear (63-9739/N80NC and 62-4150/N92NC). Work began prepping the aircraft for the move at 11am on Wednesday September 30th with the actual move to the Pima Air & Space Museum beginning the next day at 10am when the USAF opened the access gate. The three aircraft with landing gear were towed to the museum while the two gearless airplanes were loaded on trailers for the move. Plans for the aircraft are very fluid at this time, with the 'current' plan having at least two of the aircraft made airworthy; one going to the museum; and the two gearless aircraft harvested for parts and scrapped. Many thanks to Carlos for his report and photo; Graham Robson for his photos; and Martyn Swann for providing the identities of the five aircraft.
The folks at the Pima Air & Space Museum captured the move across Valencia Road and posted the following comments and photos on the museum’s website. 'Just some Caribou migrating to the desert and we managed to pick one off the herd. Filling the gap between massive cargo planes and helicopters, the de Havilland C-7 Caribou was an effective short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility transport aircraft with extensive service in Vietnam.'
New Smyrna Beach Airport Visit – September 25, 2020
My wife and I visited New Smyrna Beach last week for her belated birthday celebration. While she was off getting a massage and some beauty treatments at a local spa, I had a few hours to visit New Smyrna Beach Airport. The airport is home to American Aero Services but I also wanted to photograph former Florida Air Transport DC-7BF N381AA. Danny Perna and his brother Chip acquired the aircraft from Florida Air Transport in 2012 and had it disassembled and moved from Opa-locka Airport to NSB Airport where it was reassembled for a planned airport restaurant. Things didn’t go to plan with the local authorities and the project was scrapped with the aircraft being parked in front of Danny’s Epic Aviation Flight School at the airport. The DC-7 was recently moved onto the airport proper and parked on a remote ramp behind police headquarters. This can’t be a good sign and the future of this aircraft is definitely not looking too good.
Next stop was the American Aero hangar with its interesting collection of warbirds. Parked outside on the grass was DC-4/C-54 N9015Q. As reported on August 26, 2020, the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation (BAHF) recently signed a purchase agreement to replace C-54E N500EJ that was severely damaged by a tornado in April of this year. The aircraft appears to be in good condition and the first order of business will be to replace the time-expired propellers with ones salvaged from N500EJ. Also parked outside was the fuselage of an unmarked bare metal PBY that, with the help of Nigel Hitchman, I was able to identify as Canso A N983CF. The Collings Foundation planned on restoring the aircraft but it was later set aside when the foundation acquired PBY-5A PH-PBY 'Karel Doorman' from the Dutch organization 'Stichting Exploitatie Catalina PBY.' This aircraft had been based in The Netherlands for 25+ years and was ferried to the U.S. in May 2019. For more information about this PBY, check out Ruud Leeuw’s excellent website. The hangars housed a number of interesting aircraft undergoing maintenance, most of which were owned by the Collings Foundation.
PBY-5A N459CF – former PH-PBY 'Karel Doorman'
B-24J N224J 'Witchcraft'
B-25N 44-28932/N3476G 'Tondelayo'
G-21A Goose N985R
If you ever find yourself in New Smyrna Beach, a visit to American Aero Services is highly recommended. Owner Gary Norville welcomes visitors and hosts at least one open house a year where the public is invited to tour the hangar and ramps.
Cleveland’s I-X Center Closes – KC-97G Fate Uncertain – September 23, 2020
Cleveland’s International Exposition Center (I-X Center) announced on September 16, 2019 that it would be permanently closing as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The I-X Center issued the following press statement. "The global pandemic has decimated the event industry as well as many other businesses and has ultimately led to this decision." The center was home to a KC-97G that was rescued from a Tucson boneyard in 2019 and beautifully restored. At this time, it is not known what will happen to the aircraft. For additional information about the rescue and restoration, check out the February 10, 2019 and October 25, 2019 posts on this website.
Gimli C-46 Remains Grounded – September 1, 2020
Mike Golberg recently asked if I had any recent information on C-46F C-GIBX, which has been parked at Gimli, Manitoba for quite a few years. I reached out to my Canadian contacts, but no one seemed to have the current status of this aircraft. Ken Swartz pointed me towards Ruud Leeuw’s excellent website, which had a number of reports regarding the aircraft, including a 2019 update. Multiple reports start about halfway down the page and I've summarized them below. http://www.ruudleeuw.com/canada07-gimli.htm
September 2017 UPDATE from Stan Mason:
"We have emailed previously some time ago re the above aircraft, and over last couple of years I have been in touch with a guy named Tom Phinney, who is at GIMLI and looks after 'IBX from engineering side. He was once Technical Director for Air Manitoba many years back. Well, the news is that the aircraft has been sold!! And Tom is getting the C of A back - currently just fitted two refurbished props. It is being bought by TransNorthern Aviation in Anchorage (their website offline at present) to add to their DC3 fleet."
September 2017 UPDATE from Alan Larson of TransNorthen Aviation:
"Actually the C46 is being purchased by a businessman here in Alaska. He operates a fuel farm in McGrath Alaska and purchased it to cover times when the river is too low to permit barge shipment of fuel to his facility. And because he likes airplanes! We hope to reposition the aircraft to Anchorage as early as next week (1st week of October -Webmaster) and TransNorthern will be crewing and maintaining the airplane. We will update you and also would certainly like to receive pictures of the aircraft in its past life!"
September 2018 UPDATE:
A ferry flight to Alaska was delayed due to a technical snag: a frozen fuel line had ruptured and repairs required a wing pull (status per Nov.2017). In Sep.2018 I received an update, "still arguing with the owner who is to pay for what." Not sure if that means whether that fuel line has been repaired or not.
A few years ago a deal was in the making, C-GIBX was to be sold to operate a mining contract in Alaska, on the AOC of TransNorthern Aviation of Anchorage, AK. But in preparation for the sale it was found that an expensive repair needed to be performed: a wing pull to address damage by a frozen and ruptured fuel line. By early 2019 that that repair was done and C-GIBX was looking better than a few years ago. Except seller and buyer went head-to-head about the repair bill, each refusing to budge and thus the status quo continues, C-GIBX isn't moving from Gimli as yet.
UPDATE - Mike reached out to Alan Larson at TransNorthern, who told him that the dispute over the repair bill continues and that the aircraft probably needs about 3 days work to get it back flying. It would be a real shame if it remained parked because of a dispute over a mechanic's bill. Mike also found this up-close and personal YouTube video of the aircraft. It was uploaded to YouTube on May 20, 2020 so I'm assuming it's fairly current. Please email me at email@example.com if you have any additional info on this aircraft.
Buffalo's Latest CL215 Being Readied for Ferry Flight – August 30, 2020 - UPDATED September 12, 2020
Dale Sawchuk reports that Buffalo Airway’s recently acquired CL215 water bomber C-FTUV #256 is being made airworthy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The aircraft has previously seen service with the Governments of Quebec and Manitoba and also Conifair before Buffalo acquired it in early 2020. Dale’s August 2nd report…"Buffalo’s CL215 #256 is getting brought back to life after sitting for about ten years. Engines are oiled and were fired up and I was told they started up fine. The props will be overhauled before it departs Winnipeg." UPDATE – Fred Barnes photographed #256 at Winnipeg on September 15, 2009. He believes that the CL215 fleet was still active at the time.
PBY Moved to Dutch Transport Museum – August 28, 2020
Paul van den Berg reports on yesterday's PBY move to the Dutch Transport Museum. "On August 27th, ex-Dutch Royal Navy PBY-5A '16-212' was transported by road from the National Military Museum’s storage depot at Soesterberg to the Dutch Transport Museum in Nieuw-Vennep for a proper static restoration. The 1944 former U.S. Navy Cat served in the Dutch Navy from 1951 untill 1957 and was in storage at Soesterberg for 16 years. She is part of the Military museum since 1984 where she was put outside for display. The amphib is totally gutted from the inside and the restoration team will therefore concentrate mainly on the outside. She will be restored to original standards, including gun turrets and fabric-covered flight controls which are currently totally made from aluminium. The aim is to have her finished in 4 to 5 years."
Many thanks to Paul for the report and photos.
PBY Center Wing Section Shipped to Texas – August 27, 2020
Matt Beaty aka MKB FARMS Specialized Heavy Haul picked up a PBY Catalina center wing section from American Aero Services (AAS) in New Smyrna Beach on August 22, 2020. The wing section is reported to be from American Airpower Museum's PBY-6A N7057C and Matt said his destination was Houston, Texas. The center section has been in a jig at AAS for some time. There are a number of Catalina aircraft in work and stored at AAS as reported by Nigel Hitchman on January 8, 2020.
Update on IAR C-130A Fuselage at Coolidge, AZ – August 24, 2020
Bill Van Dyck visited Coolidge Memorial Airport on August 23, 2020 and had an up-close look at C-130A N119TG, which suffered significant damage while making an emergency landing at Santa Barbara Airport on the night of August 25, 2019. Here’s Bill’s report and some photos that he took of the aircraft. BTW…Bill is correct in his assertion that the right gear never extended.
"I drove down to Coolidge Municipal Airport on Sunday. It was the first time I had been down there since the DC-7 flew out a year ago. The only thing of interest was a C-130 fuselage standing on its landing gear on the ramp where the DC-7 had been. It was, shall I say, mildly interesting so I took a few photos of it. Then, after wandering around photographing a few other old derelict C-130s, I got back into my car to leave. My car was parked near the fuselage on the ramp and as I looked at it one last time I noticed something interesting. I was surprised at myself for not having noticed it when I was walking around the fuselage taking photos; this C-130 had had a gear up landing. So, back out of the car for some more photos. Looking at the damage it was evident that the right main gear was the problem area because the "down and locked" nose and left main gear had cause the damage to be main gear area aft and the right main gear door."
"When I got home I was going to post my photos, but thought I would check the internet to see if I could find any additional information about the incident that caused the damage. Well, you have to start with YouTube, I mean anything of any possible interest is on YouTube. Bingo, there it was; an aviation site called 'blancolirio". The reporter, Juan Browne, talks about the accident that happened at Santa Barbara Airport, on the night of August 25, 2019."
"The airplane belongs to International Air Response (IAR). I am very familiar with them because they owned the DC-7 that I spent years photographing and is now at the Delta Flight Museum (ATL). IAR operates a number of C-130s, base at various places around the world, used for oil spill containment. Evidently, this one was flying in from Hawaii when it developed a hydraulic system problem. The reporter claims that the right main gear collapsed on landing. I have two reasons to think that's not quite accurate. One; the damage to the right main door is mostly runway rash. If the door had been open and then closed (closed, as demonstrated by the rash) as the gear collapsed I suspect there would have been considerable deformation damage to the door. Two; the photo of the plane resting in the grass the next morning at Santa Barbara doesn't show the extensive prop damage that would have occurred had the two right side engines been running. And, I find it hard to believe that a pilot would shut-down both engines on one side if he wasn't convinced they were going to be trashed in the landing. So, I suspect the right main never came down to begin with. But, I wasn't there, and from where I'm sitting it's easy to make speculations."
For more information about the incident, check out the April 24, 2020 and September 18, 2019 reports on this website.
1980 Florida Propliner Safari Memories – August 19, 2020
Well known aviation author and photographer Graham Robson made his first Propliner safari to Florida in October 1980 and has generously agreed to share his story and photos on this website. Part 1 recounts Graham’s visit to Miami International Airport, which was full of Propliners, both active and stored, at the time. He was only 19 years old and had spent all of his funds on airfare, a rental car, and a hotel room resulting in him only having enough money to purchase five rolls of film. How frustrating it must have been to be in such a target rich environment with only a limited amount of film. The two week trip included visits to other airports around the state and Graham promises to provide additional articles about these visits. Many thanks to Graham for allowing us to vicariously relive that bygone era.
Midwest Museum Acquires C-119 – July 13, 2020
The Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum recently acquired former Hawkins and Powers C-119G Flying Boxcar N3003 and will be placing it on display at the museum in Columbus, Indiana. The Columbus Municipal Airport donated $15,000 for the purchase of the aircraft, which had been stored in Greybull, Wyoming for many years. The museum immediately launched a successful crowdfunding campaign, which raised $50,000 to disassemble, transport and stage the airplane at the museum. Since this was accomplished prior to a July 21st deadline, a $50,000 matching grant will be received from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s Creating Places Program.
After years of storage, the aircraft was far from being airworthy so it was disassembled and trucked 1,460 miles back to Columbus in multiple shipments, with the last arriving just a few days ago. This concluded Phase I of the project, which was to get the airplane disassembled and moved to Columbus. This particular aircraft was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as 22106 in December 1952 and retired from RCAF service in 1967. It made its way south to the United States becoming a firebomber with Hawkins and Powers (H&P). Due to a number of issues, C-119 firebombers were grounded in 1987with H&Ps fleet stored at Greybull. A number are still stored there awaiting their date with the scrapman so N3003 was lucky to escape!
Museum staff and volunteers now face the formidable task of reassembling the aircraft and getting it ready for display next to the museum's F-4 Phantom II fighter. The goal is to have the airplane on display by the fall of 2020, with the eventual goal of restoring it back to how it appeared while in service with the USAF.
The Columbus Municipal Airport was originally a military airbase that was turned over to the city in 1970. During WWII it was used for pilot training and, from 1957 to 1969, it was home to the 434th Troop Carrier Wing, which operated upwards of 36 C-119 aircraft. So, it is very fitting that the museum will have a C-119 in its collection. For more information about the project, check out the Charlie 119 website.
C-123 Reassembly Nearing Completion – July 4, 2020
The reassembly of C-123K N681DG/54-681 is nearing completion at the Hagerstown Aviation Museum in Maryland. As reported on December 24, 2019 and January 5, 2020 the aircraft had been disassembled at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and moved by road to the museum’s headquarters at Hagerstown Regional Airport in late December 2019. The museum’s President John Seburn issued the following project update on July 1st.
"After six months of reassembly of the museum's 1956 Fairchild C-123 Provider, on Wednesday July 1st, 2020 the decals were installed by Fastsigns of Greencastle. The goal was to finish the C-123 as it would have looked when it left the factory in 1956. Heading up the restoration has been Paul Houck, museum board member and C-130 crew chief in Vietnam. Thanks to Bradley Overcash who was Paul's right hand man and many other volunteers who helped as needed. Also a grateful thank you to John Gregory and Digging & Rigging for their donation of crane services to help reassemble the large parts. Also, thank you to Michael Langer of New Heights Industrial Park for use of the ramp space during the restoration. And a special thank you to all the donors over the years who made the aircraft acquisition, move and reassembly possible. The control surfaces, engines and propellers still need to be installed but with the decals it is starting to look like a complete aircraft. You can walk through the C-123, C-82 and C-119 at the next Open Airplane Afternoon on Sunday, July 19, 2020. For more info and to donate to the C-123 Restoration Project go to: www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org."
Conquest Air Cargo Update – June 28, 2020
Conquest Air Cargo has supplemented its fleet of three CV340/C-131F aircraft with a CV580 leased from IFL Group. The lease includes flightcrew and Carlos Gomez confirmed that operations began about two months ago. While the CV340s operate under Conquest’s Part 135 certificate limiting their load to 7,500 pounds, the CV580 is operated under IFL’s Part 121 certificate with no such limit. As a result, the CV580 can carry roughly double the load of Conquest aircraft at comparable operating costs.
On a sad note, Carlos told me that YS-11A XA-UFJ/N775GS was recently scrapped at Opa-locka. The aircraft was acquired in 2018 and ferried from Hondo, Texas to Opa-locka Airport on December 29, 2018. The plan was to build a small fleet of YS-11 freighters with the addition of two or three near-airworthy aircraft parked in Satilla, Mexico. But, acquiring a clear title and ferrying them to the United States proved to be a near impossible task, even for Carlos. That, along with difficulties in overhauling RR Dart engines and the availability of a leased IFL CV580 made the venture impractical and it was decided to scrap the aircraft.
Fw 200 Condor Restoration Project – May 29, 2020
I recently received an email from Joachim Glasenapp apprising me of an ongoing 20+ year Fw 200 Condor restoration project in Germany. Many thanks to Joachim for bringing this very interesting project to my attention. Here’s Joachim’s email…
"Some weeks ago I came across a very nice and informative German website presenting a 4-engined propeller driven passenger plane restoration project in Germany - the Fw 200 Condor. The website describes in detail the restoration of a Condor to non-flying condition using three Condor wrecks that were found in Norway some 30, 40 years ago. Remains of all three planes were rescued and transported to Bremen, Germany, in order to become one plane to be put on exhibition. The restoration team was comprised of a number of retired mechanics and engineers formerly working at the Bremen plant of Airbus using state-of-the-art technology for all necessary re-design, re-tooling, and assembly work. The aim of the restoration was not as ambitious as for Lufthansa's L-1649A Starliner and in the end the new Condor is almost ready to be presented, even with a full set of the one row "Bramo" radial engines. Final assembly was due in March, but has been stopped due to Covid-19. The project features a very pleasant down to earth approach (in all meanings), however due to the voluntary character of the restoration team, until today the restoration work has lasted almost 20 years."
"The idea is to present the Condor in a stripped-down livery (representing the status of the plane just after final assembly without any military markings) in the German Museum of Technology in Berlin. I personally really like this idea just focusing on the plane, which indeed was developed for linking people and not for military purposes, exactly as it was the case for the Constellation. Almost needless to say, the restoration of this bird is not only a German but a European endeavor being sponsored by Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Lufthansa Berlin Foundation, Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology), and largely supported by many people in Norway."
"Unfortunately for the time being the website https://fw200-restaurierung-bremen.de/ is presented in German only, I really hope that it will also be presented in English language one day. Nevertheless, if you go through the pages and watch all the pictures you do not need much translation as it is almost self-explaining. Moreover, you will feel the good spirit and the devotion of the restoration team to preserve this beautiful plane (almost as beautiful as the Connie) to the public."
2019 "News" – Air Spray Adds CL-215 and CL-415's to Fleet – May 21, 2020
In November 2018 the Province of Manitoba awarded a ten-year aerial firefighting contract to Babcock Canada. Babcock subcontracted flight operations to Air Spray, which has many years of aerial firefighting experience in Canada, United States and Europe. The contract included the management, maintenance and operation of Manitoba’s fleet of four CL-415 and three CL-215 aircraft supported by three Babcock owned Twin Commander “bird-dog” aircraft. The Babcock press release stated that the province would retain ownership of the aircraft, parts, inventory, tools and equipment but would lease them to Babcock for the life of the contract. Interestingly, between June 2019 and April 2020, all seven waterbombers were registered to Air Spray. They include CL-215’s C-GMAF, C-GMAK, C-GBOW and CL-415’s C-GMFW, C-GMFX, and C-GMFY and C-GMFZ. Apparently the Canadian Civil Register differs from the FAA Register in that it records the “operator” of an aircraft and not necessarily the “owner.” Air Spray has expanded its business base in recent years to include the establishment of an US tanker base in Chico, California and the award of FireBoss and Bureau of Land Management AT-802 SEAT contracts in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. For more information, check out the Babcock November 2018 press release.
Fairchild F-27A Restoration Project – May 20, 2020
Doug Scroggins is planning to restore the forward fuselage of Fairchild F-27A N153L/N753L, which he acquired in 2001. The fuselage is currently stored at the Scroggins Aviation Mockups & Effects storage facility at Mojave Airport. The F-27A was delivered new to Bonanza Airlines in April 1959 and later saw passenger service with Southeast Airlines, Airwest, Hughes Airwest, North Canada Air, Horizon Air, Islena Airlines before being converted to a freighter by Fresh Air. Retired in the late 1980s, it was stripped of its useful parts at Chino Airport in 1992. By 2001 the airport wanted the hulk removed and Doug acquired it, just one step ahead of the scrapman. While he wasn’t able to save the entire airplane, he removed the forward fuselage and moved it to Mojave for safe keeping.
Doug has been collecting parts for the restoration and has seats and most of the passenger cabin interior. He's still looking for some cockpit items including a Fairchild produced instrument panel, radio rack, cockpit ceiling and other additional bits and pieces. Doug would be most interested in hearing from you if you have any of these items to donate or sell to him. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Doug plans on painting one side of the aircraft in Bonanza Airlines colors and the other in Hughes Airwest colors. When complete he would like to place it on loan to a museum, where it would be available for occasional use on motion picture projects.
Here's a couple of recent photos of the Scroggins Aviation storage facility at Mojave. Many thanks to Marcus Bench and Andrew Hunt for sharing their photos.
Mojave KC-97G Forward Fuselage – May 17, 2020
As reported on May 8th, Scroggins Aviation Mockups & Effects has a nice collection of vintage Propliner forward fuselage and cockpit sections at their Mojave Air and Space Port facility. On item that I failed to report on was the forward fuselage of KC-97G/L 53-0317/N971HP. This aircraft was delivered to the USAF in 1954 and was converted to a KC-97L in the mid-1960s with the installation of two J-47 jet engines. Assigned to the Texas ANG in May 1973, the aircraft was retired to Davis Monthan AFB in September 1976. Sold to Kolar and Company in October 1980, the aircraft was acquired by Hawkins and Powers in 1981 and flown to Stockton, California in January 1982 for conversion to a firebomber. This never happened and the aircraft sat at Stockton until it was acquired by Scroggins Aviation for exhibit at the Lost Birds Aviation Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Due to extensive corrosion, the aircraft was scrapped with the tail, wings, landing gear and engines donated to the Planes of Fame Museum for the restoration of B-50A 46-0010 "Lucky Lady II." The forward fuselage was moved to Mojave, where it was used by Scroggins Aviation as a field office for their aircraft scrapping operation. Doug Scroggins has no plans to scrap the fuselage and hopes to be able to use it in a future motion picture or television project.
Unique Dumod Liner Beech 18 Conversion in Danger of Being Scrapped – May 8, 2020 (Updated May 16, 2020)
Russell Smith originally posted the following message on Facebook back on October 27, 2019 and it was reposted by George Loudakis on May 6th. "Just got a call from Bill Signs in Dallas, TX. He is trying to sell his one of a kind Dumod converted Beech 18 before he parts it out and scraps it. It’s the triple tail extended one and is truly unique. Asking $25,000. Engines have not run in five years 740 hours and 1580 hours. Props are 2D30’s with 100 hours but have set outside and the hubs either need replated or replaced. Bill estimates 100 man hours to get it ready to ferry. The aircraft is in Addison Texas. Contact Bill Signs, 972-979-2037. Someone please rescue this iconic aircraft." From another post of Facebook, the aircraft is reported to perhaps have a spar corrosion issue.
From Robert K. Parmerter's Beech 18 book....N445DM was one of three Dumod Infinite II Dumod Liners built by the Dumod Corporation in the mid-1960s. It was the prototype and attended the June 1964 Reading Air Show with two rudders. A third vertical stabilizer was added in 1966 after additional flight testing was completed. N492DM and N497DM were the two other Infinite II conversions completed by Dumod and both were written off in accidents. This unique aircraft deserves to be saved and the Waller County Aviation Museum has expressed interest in adding it to its collection.
Update: On May 15th Russell Smith reported the sad news that N445DM would be scrapped. Barring a last minute stay of execution, it appears that this classic will fall victim to the scrapman. Very sad indeed!
Successful Season for Kansas Based S2F Firebomber – May 6, 2020
Bill Garrison recently completed his first aerial firefighting season with S2F N508JR. As reported on April 2, 2019 and November 17, 2019, Bill acquired the aircraft from the Cactus Air Force Museum in 2018. CAL FIRE operated the aircraft for many years as Tanker #81 and #93 and #95 before retiring it sometime around 2009 in favor of turbine powered S2Ts. After making it airworthy, Bill ferried the aircraft to his home base at Hutchinson Municipal Airport in Kansas and restored it as a firebomber. The Kansas state legislature had recently allocated funding for aerial firefighting and the S2F was put on a state firefighting contract. It fought its first fire in nearby Cheyenne County on November 9, 2019. The aircraft can carry 800 gallons of water and has proved to be very effective in fighting fires during its first season. Congratulations to Bill on a successful season and I wish him the best of luck with the S2F. With most of its sisters in the boneyard or worse, it’s great to see this 60+ year old vintage aircraft still being productive. In addition to some current photos, I've included some of the aircraft during its earlier days as N447DF with CAL FIRE.
Unalakleet C-97 Storage Shed – May 4, 2020
Alec Jurgeleit recently visited Unalakleet, Alaska and photographed the fuselage of C-97L N4580Q, which has been converted into a very nice storage shed by one of the locals. The aircraft saw service with the USAF as 53-223 and was converted to a KC-97L with the Oklahoma ANG late in its career. Acquired by Stratolifter in November 1986, it saw service in Alaska before being written off after catching fire while offloading fuel in Unalakleet on May 18, 1989. For more information about that incident check out the Aviation Safety Network website. The first two photos show the current state of N4580Q and the third photo shows it at Kenai in the late 1980s, where it was based hauling fish. The Kenai photo was taken by Rob Collard from the right seat of Stratolifter C-97 N39178. Many thanks to Alec and Rob for sharing their photos.
Vintage Aviation Museum Harpoon Restoration – April 30, 2020
The Vintage Aviation Museum is currently working on making PV-2 N7272C airworthy again after many years of being grounded. "We are returning a rare Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon to flight. We have named her "Bad To The Bone" and we need your help to wake her up. The Harpoon was a WWII patrol bomber that was used for anti-shipping operations, primarily in the Aleutian Islands. Currently there are only three airworthy Harpoons, and once airworthy ours would make number four. The cost of the carburetor overhauls is $9,000 for both carbs. Any donations to help offset this cost would be greatly appreciated. To donate simply click on this link."
This aircraft, along with PV-2s N7670C, N7458C and N7080C were once part of Hirth Air Tankers' fleet of PV-2s based at Johnson County Airport in Buffalo, Wyoming. The company was founded July 1987 by John Hirth and his wife Connie and operated a small fleet of PV-2’s doing aerial firefighting and spraying work. John was killed in the crash of PV-2 N6856C on April 20, 1997 while fighting a fire in Blandburg, Pennsylvania. I believe the company shut down operations shortly thereafter. I visited the airport on July 30, 2006, where all four aircraft were parked in various degrees of completeness. Here's photos of the other three aircraft taken during that visit.
Please consider donating to this worthy project. While the PV-2 is definitely underappreciated in the warbird community,it played a vital roll during WWII and this airplane deserves to be saved.
IAR C-130A Fuselage Noted at Coolidge Airport – April 24, 2020
Kevin Kadling recently visited Coolidge Airport and photographed the fuselage of C-130A N119TG, which had arrived from Santa Barbara, California about six weeks earlier. The aircraft is owned by International Air Response (IAR) and, as reported on September 18, 2019, it suffered significant damage while making an emergency landing at Santa Barbara Airport on August 25, 2019. IAR is headquartered at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and it is not known if they plan on repairing or writing off the aircraft. Ken Swartz photographed the aircraft at Santa Barbara on January 25, 2020 when it was being disassembled for transport back to Arizona.
C-46 Scrapped in Colombia - January 23, 2020
The world’s population of C-46 aircraft decreased by one when C-46A HK-3150 was scrapped at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, Colombia on September 17, 2019. The aircraft had been parked at the airport for a number of years in deteriorating condition and, while its scrapping shouldn’t be a big surprise, it was a shame that it had to be done. It was reported that the scrapping was completed between 7:00am and 12noon without even removing the engines and other salvageable components. Andres Ochoa photographed the aircraft on January 24, 2018 and again at night on March 5, 2019.
New Smyrna Beach Airport PBY Report - January 8, 2020 (February 5, 2020 Update)
While in the strict sense of the word, the PBY Catalina is not a "Propliner" but I'll make an exception in this case. Nigel Hitchman visited New Smyrna Beach Airport, Florida on December 30, 2019 and noted three PBY Catalina’s at American Aero Services and one stored in a yard across the street from their hangar. He posted the following report and photos on Facebook.
N459CF PBY-5A--Former PH-PBY, being returned to authentic US Navy configuration for the Collings Foundation.
N983CF Canso A--Former C-FPQK/RCAF was bought by the Collings Foundation for restoration, but now stored after their purchase of PH-PBY. Rumored to possibly be wanted by the Dutch? (Update---Coert Munk contacted the Dutch Catalina folks and they told him that they have no plans to acquire the aircraft.)
N4582U PBY-5A--Confirmed from an identification plate I found which gives serial as Bu46457 and FAB6510 (Brazilian AF) this was displayed at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM then sold. Now owned by a Russian and being restored to static condition for a museum in Russia.
N423RS/JV928 PBY-5A--In open storage at an industrial yard at the airport. It was apparently moved here some months ago from Ft Pierce, Florida.
I visited American Aero back in November 2017 and noted the stored fuselage, wings and engines from Super Catalina N287. This aircraft was a resident at Tamiami Airport for many years before being disassembled and trucked to New Smyrna Beach a few years back. Nigel reports…"The fuselage has gone to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, who owns the aircraft. It’s not on display and I have read that it’s stored somewhere else, not at Addison. The wing is still at New Smyrna Beach where it’s in the hangar in front of the other wing that’s been in a jig for years. It’s the basic box section between the front and rear spars with the leading edges, flaps and tips removed and the black paint removed. So it’s a bit difficult to recognize it as from N287. It’s been dismantled for inspection, but so far they don’t know what the next step will be, whether Cavanaugh restore it to fly, or just put it back together and paint it for static display."
Many thanks to Nigel for his report. As an airline pilot, Nigel travels the world and his frequent aircraft reports are both interesting and an invaluable source of information for the enthusiast community.
UPDATE: DAVID LEGG, EDITOR OF CATALINA NEWS PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS REGARDING NIGEL'S REPORT. "TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEGE, THE HULL OF N287 WAS MOVED TO SHERMAN, TEXAS. I AGREE THAT THE WINGS ARE STILL AT NSB. ALSO, SOMEWHERE IN THE HANGAR ARE THE WINGS OF N7057C, WHICH ARE UNDER LONG-TERM REBUILT TO REPAIR CORROSION."
Aviation Collection For Sale - January 5, 2020
I recently received an email from Richard Knight who has a large aviation collection that he would like to sell. "My name is Richard Knight and I have a large collection of Propliner and early jet books (paperback and hardcover); VHS videos (30+); models; Propliner Magazine issues 23 thru 90 with many doubles; and other aviation magazines. The collection takes up a whole bookcase and time has come for me to part with my collection. Do you know of anyone who would have an interest in buying my collection?"
If interested, please contact Richard directly at email@example.com
Reassembly Begins on Hagerstown Aviation Museum C-123K - January 5, 2020
Volunteers at the Hagerstown Aviation Museum wasted no time in beginning the reassembly of C-123K N681DG, which had arrived at the museum a few days before Christmas. With a crane hired from Diggers and Riggers, the center section was lowered into place on December 27th. With this accomplished, the interior of the aircraft will be protected from the weather, which had to be a high priority for the museum. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the aircraft is totally reassembled.
Hagerstown Aviation Museum C-123K Arrives Home - December 24, 2019
The fuselage of C-123K N681DG departed Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) on December 17, 2019 on a lowboy trailer for the long roadtrip to Hagerstown, Maryland. The aircraft is owned by the Hagerstown Aviation Museum and, after working on it for many years to make it airworthy for a ferry flight, it was decided to disassemble the aircraft and truck it to museum headquarters in at Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR). The fuselage was the final piece to make the trip with the wings, center section, tail, engines and other components making the trip earlier in December.
The move was not to be without challenges, with the State of Virginia requiring upwards of two weeks to approve the necessary permits. This dictated a reroute around Virginia through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia before finally arriving in Hagerstown on the afternoon of December 20th. Museum president John Seburn and about a dozen people were on hand to welcome the aircraft. Hagerstown Airport was home to Fairchild Aircraft, where 300+ C-123’s were built from 1953 to 1958. The museum’s collection contains many Fairchild produced aircraft including C-82A N9701F and C-119G N8093, which have been on display at the museum for a number of years. The C-123K will complete the museum’s trio of Fairchild produced military transports
N681DG had been parked at Florida’s Opa-locka Airport for many years before being seized by the U.S. Government. It was ferried the short distance to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) in June 2012 and offered for sale by the government. The museum acquired it in October 2012 and FXE based Aztec Airways was contracted to inspect the aircraft and perform the necessary maintenance required for a ferry flight to Hagerstown. A crew from the museum arrived in Fort Lauderdale in November 2013 and, along with mechanics from Aztec Airways, an inspection was performed and the engines were run. Other than deteriorated fabric on the flight controls, no major discrepancies were found during the inspection. The flight controls were removed and sent to Hagerstown where they were recovered with new fabric by museum volunteers in 2014. Getting the aircraft airworthy for the long ferry flight to Hagerstown proved to be more daunting than originally expected and it was finally decided in 2019 to disassemble and transport the aircraft by road.
Moving the C-123 from Ft Lauderdale Executive Airport to the Hagerstown Regional Airport has been a major project for the museum. Additional funds are needed to help with the transportation and restoration costs. You can donate to the C-123 Project at
https://www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org/ and by donating, your name will be included with other C-123 donors on a plaque inside the C-123. For a donationi of $100 or more, you will receive a unique collection of Fairchild C-123 original films. This DVD covers the years of C-123 production from the Hagerstown factory to Air Force Bases and to Vietnam and consists of 7 films/115 minutes.
Kansas Based S-2 Makes Firefighting Debut - November 17, 2019
As reported on April 2, 2019, Bill Garrison acquired former Cal Fire S-2 (S2F-1) N508JR/Tanker #95 from a museum in Nevada with the intent of returning it to wildfire fighting duties in Kansas. The Kansas state legislature recently allocated $650K for the operation and maintenance of firefighting aircraft for wildfire suppression. The aircraft can carry up to 800 gallons of water and was used for the first time by Garrison to fight a wildfire in Cheyenne County on November 9, 2019. The S-2 is currently on contract with the state and is based in Hutchison Municipal Airport.
KC-97G on Display at Cleveland Airport - October 25, 2019
Jim Kovacik recently attended a cat show at Cleveland’s International Exposition (I-X) Center and found KC-97G 52-2604 on display! As reported on February 10, 2019 the aircraft was rescued in June 2017 from a Tucson, Arizona boneyard where it was disassembled and trucked to Cleveland for reassembly. 52-2604 was the last of the many hundreds of retired C-97 type aircraft that passed through Davis Monthan AFB, with most being scrapped. Kudos to the International Exposition (I-X) Center for saving this iconic aircraft, which it plans on converting to a restaurant sometime in the future.
Former Winair YS-11 Hangs on in St. Maarten - October 24, 2019
In April 2019 Phil Brooks reported that former Winair YS-11 PJ-WIK was destined to be sunk in the ocean off Sunset Bar and Grill to become a destination for divers and the local fish population. The aircraft is still located in Bobby’s Marina where I photographed it on October 11, 2019. For many years the aircraft was fitted out as a restaurant on the outskirts of Phillipsburg. While the aircraft survived Hurricane Irma, the attached restaurant was not so lucky and was totally destroyed. The aircraft’s interior has been totally stripped and, as can be seen in my photos, large holes have been cut in right side of the fuselage. When comparing my photos to Phil’s photos, it doesn’t appear that much has happened since April so it’s hard to tell when the YS-11 will be relegated to Davy Jones locker. Not a great ending for this aircraft but at least it will be put to good use.
Visit to Ju-Air – September 22, 2019
On August 8, 2019 I was with a group that visited Ju-Air’s headquarters, which is located on Dübendorf Air Base near Zurich, Switzerland. Ju-Air was formed in 1981 and, for 36 years, provided sightseeing and enthusiast rides in four Ju-52 type aircraft. On August 4, 2018 one of their Ju-52s crashed near Piz Segnas, Switzerland, while on route from Locarno to Dübendorf with the loss of all 20 persons onboard. It was the company’s first fatal crash since the beginning of flight operations in 1982. The aircraft involved was 79-year old Ju-52 HB-HOT, c/n 6595, which had served with the Swiss Air Force from 1939 to 1985, when it was acquired by Ju-Air.
As a result of the crash, on March 12, 2019 the Swiss aviation authority FOCA restricted Ju-52 flights to club members only and decreed that vintage aircraft, such as the Ju-52, no longer met current safety requirements for carrying commercial passengers. The following statement was released by FOCA. “Following the accident in the summer of 2018, Federal Office for Civil Aviation (BAZL) re-evaluated the risks of passenger flights with classic planes and came to the conclusion that commercial operation with historic aircraft no longer meets today’s safety requirements.”
The remaining airworthy Ju-52s, HB-HOP and HB-HOS, were allowed to fly members until November 2018 when the Swiss Transportation Investigation Board (STIB) found corrosion on the accident airplane and both aircraft were grounded. A third Ju-2 (actually a CASA 352L) HB-HOY had been retired in 2016 and was at Mönchengladbach, Germany.
After months of planning and preparation, the overhaul of Ju-Air’s Ju-52s has begun with HB-HOS first to undergo the process. In order to return their Ju-52s to full airworthy status, Ju-Air has initiated the following plan and hopes to resume flight operations in the spring of 2021.
1. The project is being led by Junkers Flugzeugwerke in Dübendorf, Switzerland.
2. FOCA will have complete oversight over the project. Each step of the process will be planned out in detail with FOCA reviewing and approving it prior to implementation.
3. After a process has been completed, FOCA will verify that it was performed correctly.
4. The overhauls will be performed by certified specialty companies subcontracted by Junkers.
5. The entire aircraft and its components will be mapped digitally thus creating digital drawings.
6. The wings will be overhauled in Malters, Switzerland. Load bearing wing components will be replaced with newly replicated parts produced by certified specialty companies. These replacement parts will be fabricated using the digital drawings produced from the digital mapping. It is expected that 90% of wing components will be replaced.
7. The fuselage, tail unit, landing gear and other components will be overhauled in Dübendorf, Switzerland by certified specialty companies.
8. The BMW 132 radial engine will be replaced with the more common Pratt & Whitney R1340 engine. The BMW engines were becoming increasingly difficult to support and this issue should be solved with utilizing the R1340s.
9. Outside experts have been retained to develop a plan of action to reorganize Ju-Air’s aircraft and engine maintenance operations. FOCA will oversee this effort.
10. When the overhaul is complete, the aircraft should be almost new and meet current FOCA safety standards.
Arriving at Dübendorf Air Base, we were met by our guide and escorted to one of Ju-Air’s large hangars, which HB-HOP shared with a Twin Bonanza. Its engines and some control surfaces had been removed but otherwise the aircraft appeared essentially intact. This hangar also houses Ju-Air’s engines and we were shown a newly overhauled BMW radial engine. These engines were built in Germany under license from Pratt & Whitney. We next went to another hangar where HB-HOS had been disassembled and digital mapping of the aircraft was underway. We were warned not to touch the aircraft as any movement would invalidate the mapping process being performed.
Next on the tour was a hangar full of very interesting aircraft including Junkers F13 HB-RIM, Waco YMF-5FC HB-DMO and Bücker Jungmann HB-UVR, which are all used for sightseeing rides. In addition, Junkers F13 HB-RIA was being fabricated. I’m not totally sure, but I believe that the two F13 aircraft are replicas built to Junkers specifications.
It was a great visit and I’d like to thank Ju-Air for their hospitality and the great tour. Guided tours, similar to one I took, are available to the general public but must be scheduled in advance. After the Ju-Air tour, we made the short walk to the Flieger Flab Museum, which has an interesting collection of aircraft.
C-130A Makes Emergency Landing at Santa Barbara Airport – September 18, 2019
International Air Response (IAR) C-130A N119TG made an emergency landing at Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) on Sunday August 25, 2019. There were no injuries to the seven people onboard. It was reported that the aircraft experience hydraulic problems shortly after departing the Santa Maria Public Airport (SMX) enroute to IAR’s home base at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA). Unable to extend its landing gear, the aircraft slid off the runway and came to rest on its right wingtip. A small fire was quickly extinguished by the airport’s fire department. For more information check out the Aviation Safety Network website.
Lufthansa Ju-52 Moved by Road to Bremen for Storage – September 18, 2019
Ju-52 D-CDLH (marked as D-AQUI) was moved by road last night from Hamburg to a warehouse in Bremen, Germany for storage while it awaits a decision on its ultimate fate. Lufthansa operated the Ju-52 on promotional and enthusiast flights for quite a few years before the airline decided to withdraw funding for the program last year. It was disassembled and stored in Hamburg until last night’s move. Starliner N7316C departed Portland, Maine by sea on September 17th and will join the Ju-52 when it arrives in Bremen on September 29th. It is very unlikely that either aircraft will ever fly again as Lufthansa’s board has already decided that both will eventually become static displays. Many thanks to Jan Frieben, who was on hand for the move and forwarded the following photos.
Turbo-liner Operator GB Express for Sale - September 15, 2019
Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) based GB Express is for sale. The company owner is retiring and the sale includes Turbo-liners N30GB, N310GB and N320GB along with Skyvan N80GB, which are all on the company’s Part 135 certificate. Also included is a U.S. Customs bonded warehouse at the airport. These aircraft are the only Propliners based at FLL and hopefully they will remain based there under new ownership.
Rolling Boxcar Project Wraps Up Phase 1 – August 16, 2019
Well guys...pretty much done here in Battle Mountain. Fuselage is in McArthur, Calilfornia and all that can be done here is done. Took a little longer than expected but done is done. I have a huge load of props, doors, flaps and speed rings and I will be headed out in the AM for AK. Feels a little funny after being here for two months and settling into a routine of working everyday on the same thing. Might find a lake along the road north and stick my feet in it for a day. Then I will be looking for a J.O.B. to tide me over till we can start on Phase 2. The sooner the better. And I will be hot and heavy on the fundraising scene.
John Reffett has loaded all the parts and pieces to make the 3,000 mile trip north too but there is some sort of small problem with his truck so it's in the truck hospital in Winnemucca. He will be making good use of his "waiting on the truck" time to rid the horizontal stabilizer of it pigeon poop and nests. He will be returning to Battle Mountain several more times to get basically the entire airplane, minus the fuselage, moved to Palmer. He will be hauling a lot of stuff for RBC also including the engines at a later date.
Thanks for the coffee Dean. All five bags are sold as fast as they got here. Hotel staff, John bought some.
OK...Have a great meeting Monday as I'm sure I will be in the middle of Canada someplace. Dave will be putting together the agenda and be at the meeting. I will be compiling a list for Meg on the drive up for the grant she is working on. Lots of idle time so will put it to good use. Sure wish we could have dove into Phase 2 but was not meant to be...yet. See you all soon.
President, Rolling Boxcar, Inc.
Rolling Boxcar Updates From Battle Mountain – August 4, 2019
Dave Ciocchi and John Will are part of the team from Rolling Boxcar that is disassembling C-119G N5261R at Battle Mountain, Nevada. I previously reported on the project on April 22 and June 15 and since then Dave and John have been providing regular updates. The team successfully disassembled the aircraft and towed it 400 miles from Battle Mountain to McArthur, California on Friday August 2. Congratuations to all involved for a job well done!
August 4 – With great fanfair from our friends and fellow RBC members, we left Battle Mountain on Friday headed for the great state of California. Had not one mishap and actually got to the rebuild site later that day. Board member Randy Sorenson had us safely cooking along at a smooth 60 MPH and with a few breaks, we had RBC rolling into McArthur in record time. I have it on good authority that there has never been a C-119 moved from Battle Mountain Nevada to McArthur California that fast. Not on land anyway. Might be wrong but...OK. We'll keep you posted.
August 3 – Safe arrival of the Rolling BoxCar and completion of Phase One!
August 2 – On road at 07:37. It tows very nicely.
July 30 – Hello RBC members, fans and fellow compatriots. RBC is just about ready to hit the road headed for her rebuild site in McArthur California. She weighs in (unofficially) between 6-8,000 pounds, just under 15' high and an impressive 60 feet long and 11'6" in width. Should be cruising through Reno Nevada late Friday afternoon. We will be putting her to bed in McArthur and returning to Battle Mountain to finish cleaning up the sight and then we head home to Alaska. Her grand entrance into Alaska will have to wait as funds for Phase 2 will need to be raised. Phase 1 is all but in the bag and the design and build team have done a wonderful job in the heat and wind that only Nevada can dish out. Come see us if you like as we will not be leaving till Friday morning. ROLL ON!
July 28 – Well the design team of two Johns and a Dave had a little get together and come up with a plan for the next week or so.
Randy will be here on Thursday to dial in all the last minute details of getting RBC on the road and over to CA. The plan is to leave Battle Mountain early Friday morning after a hearty breakfast of KBC/RBC coffee, bagels and cream cheese and fruit loops. Dave usually makes himself a pancake out of some sort of discolored sheet rock taping mud they have as batter. Randy figures it will be a two day trip as we can only travel in daylight hours. Our new friend and RBC member Patty Johnson here in Battle Mountain will call ahead and do a press release in Reno and anywhere else she thinks would have interest. I ordered a banner so those that might might not see the 60 foot long, 11.5 feet wide and 15 foot tall fuselage pushing Randy's dually down the highway might be blown away with the cool RBC logo banner that will have the web site on it so they can go see what we are up to.
Dave and I will hang in CA maybe have a day with Bill and Karen and pickle RBC for the indefinite future before heading back to Battle Mountain the following Monday. Plan then would be to help John R finish up the wings and tails, clean up the sight, load up all the goodies to bring North and hit the road for Alaska the following Saturday.
I talked to the Battle Mountain Attack Base and they like the idea of RBC donating the jet to them as a monument to fallen aerial firefighters on their base with a flag pole and a plaque. RBC will provide the jet and the plaque and they will provide the concrete and whatnot to get it done. Dave will be working with Patty on a cool plaque and I will be checking on who/what/when can cast a plaque for us. We'll see what happens there as I need a sit down with the big boss.
Hope we had a good turnout in Deltana. Coffers need beans and I sure hope the iron is in the fire on that front. If someone could get some more flyers in the mail to me that would be good. Just send them to this hotel as we will be coming back here. Another hotel without crickets and fruit loops just wouldn't be the same. There is even a machine here that will, as long as you hold down the button, pump out an endless stream of both cranberry juice and/or orange juice. Not sure how that one works but I'm sure it's good for you. Coffee is to die for too. They make it a week in advance so it's always ready and hot. Good thing I got some Boxcar Blend in in my cell down the hall. Randy will be staying somewhere else Thursday night. Seems to think wall board pancakes and imitation cream cheese is not on his bucket list. Wait till he gets into RBC camp and I hand him a cup-o-noodles for lunch on pigeon poop carpet under the wing center section. Finer dinning can't be found.
OK...off to bed I go. See most of you sooner than planed. ROLL ON!
President, Rolling Boxcar, Inc.
July 21 – RBC was re-born a little after 9:00am, Saturday, July 20th with not even a whimper. Now comes the task of getting her ready for the trip to McArthur CA. The trailer is well suited for the weight of RBC. She looks big, and she is, but way less than the trailer is rated for. Tomorrow we will lower the booms down onto the water tanks that will anchor them so they don't move. Then we will collapse the main gear so the wing center section and booms and tails are at almost eye level making it a lot easier and safer to work on. As for RBC, we will be removing a lot more items and getting it ready for the road. Phase 1 of the project is almost complete. Thanks for your support thus far and we are looking for help in getting phase 2 started as soon as we get to California. Please go to www.rollingboxcar.com to help us out by becoming a member or giving a tax deductible donation. We are also still looking for sponsors for the sound stage, fuel, steel for the sub structure and propane. Thanks again! ROLL ON!!
July 20 – Congratulations RBC fans and board members! Behold the birth of rolling boxcar. We had separation this morning just a little after 9. Everything was successful and she has all her fingers and toes! Dave and I are ecstatic! And Matt was here to witness it!
July 18 – RBC is now on the trailer...just need a few more parts removed before the big move to CA. Will be going through Reno on our way to California.
July 16 – Big news today! Scott brought his heavy service truck crane to our site and by 10:45am both outer wing panels were safe on the ground resting on tires. Major alteration of appearance.
July 15 – Finished prepping both outer wing sections for removal. Back side of the front spar has three 1/4" bolts at the top that are just plain out of reach. I made 3 wrench adapters (one for my 1/4 drive ratchet, another for a 7/16" box end, and the other for an open end). Trying to get into the gap to turn them ..... I could get my head up in there, but only if I left my ears behind. So, stand on the 10' ladder one step higher than comfortable, crouch down, turn sideways, push up into the gap, and remove those last few nuts and bolts. I can only marvel at Fairchild production workers putting them in.
July 13 – Some fun today. Over 100 degrees inside that aluminum cavern, and more than that on top of those wings. Can only do topside work for a few hours early in the day before it gets too much hotter. Did the bathtub fittings on the left wing today and had no real issues. Outer wings about ready to come off; expect that to happen early next week. John is doing a magnificent job on removing part of the fuselage belly skins, frames, and stringers. At these ambient temperatures any kind of functioning is very difficult for these Alaskans.
July 6 – Many miles away from my computers with only a cranky cell phone to try connecting. And it's being its usual annoying uncooperative self. Can't comment or indicate like or much of anything. Wondering if this will post...... Had a fine day today, 10 hours and 25 minutes with no heat stroke. Getting closer to the next major milestone - de-mating the wing center section from the fuselage. Still a lot to do before the actual event, but much closer. Life is very, very, good. My blessings are countless!
June 29 – Beating on our airplane (oh, do I loooove being able to say that!) is tedious, potentially dangerous, and strangely satisfying. We are boldly going where no one with any sense would voluntarily go. But our chosen mission is an important one, and we are in a unique position to bring it off. If it takes hanging by my toes from the top rung of a tall ladder, I guess that is a small price to pay for the privilege of being part of the effort. I am honored to be in this project.
June 26 – Maybe no such thing as a typical day at the Battle of Battle Mountain, but here's a brief overview of Tuesday the 25 of June. We arrived at 07:30 and started actual work in about 10 minutes. That's set-up time for opening up the aircraft doors, setting out toolboxes, topping off the ice chests, and checking fuel and oil on generators, air compressor, and pressure washer. Yup, it would probably make more sense to do that before we roll out at the end of the work day, but we are so whipped by then it just doesn't get done then. Got to taking advantage of the sun position and worked the wing to fuselage fairings under the left wing pit. Nice shade! Got most of them off with no damage and little difficulty. Our 50 - 50 mix of acetone and automatic transmission fluid is working pretty well. Drilling out less than 20% of the screws, which ain't bad. Inside the airplane it is getting partially stripped of non RBC required items. All of the rotten plywood floor panels are out now. What a huge relief! Starting in on wing to fuselage attachments - no, not taking them out, just getting access to them. Got many, many, control cables, hydraulic limes, fuel lines, water injection plumbing, and loads of other stuff. We take hydration breaks frequently and about 30 minutes for lunch, so even though we were on site 11 hours today, we weren't working all that time. Of that 11 hours I was on a ladder for probably 7 or 8 hours. Not my favorite thing to do! Feet hurt! Finally decided to hang it up at 6:30. "Home" to the Royal Inn, a hot soak in the tub, a quick bite of dinner and a very little bit of electron pushing (like this update) and maybe you should spread some butter on me - 'cause I'm toast!
June 22 – Both engines uncowled and props prepped for blade removal. Today we pulled the outboard ailerons, the rest of the floorboards, and the ventral fins.
June 20 – One full week in Battle Mountain today - and it was a really full week. We stood down on Sunday (which we will continue to do) and have averaged 10 hours a day. I am borderline close to being sunburned on both arms but so far am avoiding it. Drinking LOTS of water. Our home brew penetrating oil mixture is working pretty well. Drilling out far fewer screws than I had feared (still too many though). Both props, both engines, and all fairings on outer wing panels topside are off. Most of the floorboards are out. Lots of work! Just the pigeon poo removal alone was a Titanic undertaking. We are pleased with the results so far. Tonight I treated John to a steak dinner as a celebration of out first week on the job.
Many thanks to Dave and John for providing these informative and colorful updates!
AMC Museum C-119 Restoration – July 8, 2019
During our annual visit to Southern Maryland in June, I took the opportunity to visit the very excellent AMC Museum at Dover AFB on June 26th to check out progress on the restoration of C-119B 48-0352. As reported on March 3, 2019 the aircraft was rescued by the museum from Edwards AFB just days before it was to be auctioned off as scrap. Transported to Dover AFB, the aircraft was reassembled by a crew from Worldwide Aircraft Recovery earlier this year. Museum volunteers are currently completing the restoration of the aircraft, which had been upgraded to a C-119C during its USAF service. The C-119C dorsal fins and extended vertical stabilizers have been removed as they were modifications performed after the aircraft’s Korean War service. New outboard horizontal stabilizer extensions will be hand crafted and installed. For more information about the restoration effort and history of the aircraft, check out my February 2019 article on this website.
While not a Propliner by strict definition, I thought I’d include a few photos of KB-50J 49-0386, which is also being restored by the AMC Museum. The aircraft had been display at MacDill AFB in Tampa for many years and was suffering the effects of the corrosive and humid Tampa environment. The aircraft was moved from MacDill to the AMC Museum in early 2018 and reassembled in February 2019. Museum volunteers are currently in work repairing corrosion damage and restoring the aircraft for display.
BAHF Needs Your Help – June 16, 2019
As reported June 15th on this website, Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation (BAHF) C-97G N117GA experienced an inflight engine failure on June 4, 2019. The organization issued an appeal for funding to replace the engine on their Facebook page today.
On Tuesday, June 4, the C-97 “Angel of Deliverance” was returning to Reading, PA from Hagerstown, MD to participate in the annual Mid Atlantic Air Museum World War II Weekend event. At a point 20 miles southwest of Reading, the number two engine suffered a catastrophic internal failure and had to be shut down and feathered. While a routine three engine landing was made at Reading, we are now left in need of a replacement engine. There are a few out there, but finding a airworthy replacement may be difficult. We are looking at a cost of around $300,000.This amount will not only help us obtain a replacement R-4360-59B engine, but a meaningful supply of spares which will secure the airplane’s future for a long time to come. Find out how to help by visiting our website at www.spiritoffreedom.org. You can also donate directly via PayPal to Airlift48@aol.com. The Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation is a 501 c 3 tax exempt charitable organization.
The “Angle of Deliverance” is the only airworthy C-97 type aircraft so please consider making a donation to get her back flying again.
Tom Singfield Publishes Gatwick Propliner Book – June 15, 2019
Noted aviation writer and photographer Tom Singfield recently published his latest book, titled “Classic Gatwick Propliners.” Released by The History Press on April 15, 2019, the book is currently available in the U.K. at Amazon (£12.71) and Waterstones (£20.00) with free U.K. delivery. It is scheduled to be available at Amazon in the U.S. on July 15th for $35. The U.S. Amazon site features a preview of the first 43 pages of the book and the Table of Contents. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book.
This book is the result of nearly 30 years of searching for the very best images of classic airliners taken at Gatwick. Many aircraft enthusiasts preferred Gatwick to Heathrow because of its eclectic mix of new jetliners and old propeller airliners. Gatwick’s accessibility for enthusiasts, photographers and the general public in the 1960s/70s was superb. For a small charge, visitors could walk along two open “fingers” that extended from the Terminal building to view airport activity up close without any restrictions. These fingers allowed aircraft photographers to capture nearly every arrival and with a quick visit to the south side maintenance area in the days before high security, they could walk the ramp there for even more aircraft pictures. The book is a glorious full colour celebration of the golden days at London’s second airport featuring high quality images of the classic propeller-powered airliners that visited Gatwick in the first 20 years after it re-opened in 1958. Each image is accompanied by an extended, fully researched and interesting caption.”
Rolling Boxcar Crew Begins Disassembly of Battle Mountain C-119 – June 15, 2019 (June 16, 2019 Update)
John Will, Dave Ciocchi and a small group of Rolling Boxcar volunteers departed Eagle River, Alaska the morning of June 8, 2019 for the long drive to Battle Mountain, Nevada. Less than a week later they had started the disassembly of C-119G N5261R with both engines being uncowled and the landing gear doors and radar nose removed. Pigeons have been nesting in the airplane for many years and one of the first tasks facing the crew was to remove the many buckets of pigeon droppings. Not a very pleasant chore but it has to be done! For more information about the project, check out my April 22nd newspiece and the group’s website.
John Will reported in and forwarded some photos on June 16th..."Well...things are looking better here at Rolling Boxcar Base Camp Battle Mountain. We got here late Wednesday night and were drilling rusty screws and pressure washing pigeon poop by 8am the next morning. Dave and I are suffering from the heat a bit but drinking lots of water is the trick. Found several key parts of the plane have found new homes or simply walked off prior to our arrival but hope to find replacements for them soon. Several hundred pounds of pigeon poop will make this desolate area of sand into a very futile ground. So on we go pulling this old bird apart and preparing it for its trip to California. I do know that I will never again whine about a hot 70 degree day in Alaska. Thanks for your support out there and Happy Father's day to all my fellow fathers."
BAHF C-97G In-Flight Engine Failure – June 15, 2019
Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation (BAHF) C-97G N117GA experienced an in-flight engine failure on June 4, 2019. The #2 engine failed during a flight from Hagerstown Regional Airport in Maryland to Reading Regional Airport where the aircraft was participating in the Mid Atlantic Air Museum’s WWII Weekend event. The aircraft landed safely at Reading and was on display during the three-day event. BAHF is now searching for a replacement R4360 engine and the funds to acquire and install it. For more information about the organization and the project, check out the BAHF website and my Feburary 10, 2019 newspiece.
Rolling Boxcar Project – April 22, 2019 (Updated May 24, 2019)
A group of Alaskan enthusiasts has formed an organization with the ambitious goal of transforming a retired Fairchild C-119G "Flying Boxcar" into a self-propelled rolling display. They have appropriately named it the “Rolling Boxcar Project” and have set up a website and produced a short YouTube video summarizing the project. Here’s a short project summary from the website.
” We have acquired this Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar aircraft. We will be removing the wings, tails, engines, and landing gear, and then we will mount the fuselage on an International school bus chassis with a diesel engine and auto transmission. The cockpit will remain intact. Once it is mobile, and has been renovated with such upgrades as a new paint scheme, polished aluminum, and nose art, we will drive it to venues air shows, air races, fairs, VFWs, AMVETS, American Legions, VA hospitals and Veterans Day Parades as a traveling coffee bar and art gallery. We will be donating to other nonprofits that promote veterans and their service to our country.”
The project aircraft is former RCAF C-119G 22131 c/n 10956, which was acquired by Hawkins and Powers in the mid-1970s after RCAF retirement. The aircraft was registered N5216R and converted for firefighting as Tanker #136 with the addition of a jetpack on the top of the fuselage. There has been quite a bit of confusion over the true identity of the aircraft since its jet pod is marked #137 and former RCAF C-119G 22113 N3935 Tanker #139 c/n 10824 is on display at the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting in Greybull, WY marked as N5216R Tanker #136. Ruud Leeuw did an excellent job at sorting through this mystery and presented the results on his excellent website. After being retired as a fire bomber, the aircraft was donated to the Battle Mountain Air Museum at the former air tanker base at Lander County Airport, Battle Mountain, Nevada in the early 1990s.
The group hopes to finish the project by fall of 2019 and foresees a maiden voyage happening in Alaska before touring the lower 48 states. The organization’s goals include:
“We would like to fashion our Rolling Boxcar after aircraft 51-2560 and tell the story of “Gamble Chalk One”, a plane that so many were lost in. We are researching the event and will contact the 435th Troop Carrier Wing of the USAF for more historical facts. Through this research we will develop static interpretive displays to help bring awareness to this terrible event. In addition, we will document the Rolling Boxcar's resurrection into a rolling attraction. The panels will be on display and the video can be used to promote veterans and the Military, particularly the United States Air Force, as well as for a documentary. The fuselage will don a new paint scheme, polished aluminum, appropriate banner, and even nose art. The usable parts of the wings, tails, engines, props, and landing gear will be sold, recycled, or repurposed to help fund the project. No scrap aluminum will be sent to recyclers but will be smelted by us.”
Promote the military and a piece of USAF history by telling how C-119s served the military during the Cold War era
Tell this particular aircraft's story, both in its Air Force days and in civilian life after retirement from military service
Honor all veterans who have served our country
Promote local artists, Alaskan ingenuity, the entrepreneurial spirit, repurpose, recycle, and sell parts to help fund the project. All aluminum not used to build the Rolling Boxcar (i.e. wings, tails, and tail booms), will be smelted down into aluminum ingots and made into jewelry.
This is not going to be an inexpensive project and the group is currently seeking funding for major expenses such as:
Dismantling and rebuilding the C-119, which will happen in the lower 48 and require the rental of equipment and tools
Acquisition of an 84-passenger school bus with a diesel engine and automatic transmission
Conversion of a Willys Jeep into a road-worthy pilot car
Film documentation of project
You can become a member of this organization and/or donate to the project by going to the website’s membership page.
Lufthansa Decides to Place Ju-52 in Museum – April 18, 2019
Lufthansa JU-52 D-AQUI “Tante Ju” was recently disassembled and moved to a hangar in Hamburg to await a final decision on its fate. Apparently the powers to be at Lufthansa have made their decision with the aircraft to be placed in a yet-to-be-determined museum, where it will be put on static display. A decision on a museum has yet to be made but should be forthcoming. The Ju-52 had been providing scenic rides to the public since the mid-80's and the airline said it was grounded due to continuing financial losses associated with the program. See my April 5th report below for additional information.
Lufthansa Ju-52 Headed to Hamburg – April 5, 2019
In January 2019 Lufthansa announced that it would be ending financial support for Junkers Ju-52 D-AQUI “Tante Ju” which put an end to 30+ years of flight operations. The aircraft, which was built in 1936, had been operated by Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin Stiftung (DLBS) for promotional flights since the mid-1980s. The decision to withdraw support follows the cancellation of the Auburn, Maine based Starliner restoration project in March 2018. Even though Lufthansa earned $3B in profits last year, it claims the decision was based on an effort to reduce the financial losses associated with the operation of this historic trimotor. The airline also claims that the crash of Ju-Air HB-HOT had no bearing on the decision. The decision to cancel both programs illustrates CEO Carsten Spohr's focus on the airline's bottom line rather than preserving its legacy.
In April 2019 Lufthansa announced that the aircraft would be disassembled and moved from Munich to Hamburg by road. Hopefully it will be reassembled and put on display and not stashed away in some warehouse, or even worse, in some outdoor storage compound.
Swiss Aviation Authority Bans Ju-52 Flights – April 5, 2019
In March 2019 the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) announced that it was banning Ju-52 operator Ju-Air from conducting commercial flights. In an odd twist, FOCA will still allow the organization to offer flights to club members. This decision was based on the results of an investigation involving Ju-Air Ju-52 HB-HOT in August 2018 resulting in the death of 20 crew and passengers. FOCA announced that it will continue to allow vintage aircraft to operate carrying passengers but those passengers must be members of the organization conducting the fights for at least 30 days and be fully briefed on the risks associated with taking such a flight.
The accident investigation found structural corrosion on Ju-Air’s remaining two aircraft and, while the corrosion was not related to the accident, the two aircraft were grounded. At this time it is not known when, or if, Ju-Air will resume Ju-52 flights.
S-2 Being Restored in Kansas as Firebomber – April 2, 2019
Gordon Cole recently sent me some photos of former Cal Fire S-2 (S2F-1) Tanker #95 N508JR. His friend Bill Garrison bought the aircraft in 2018 from the Cactus Air Force in Carson City, Nevada. The museum acquired the aircraft at auction some years ago at McClellan Airport, when Cal Fire retired its piston engine S2's in favor of turbine versions. (Note: Cal Fire currently operates a turbine-powered S-2 Tanker #95.) Bill enlisted the help of Gordon and Tim Coons to get the airplane ready for the ferry flight from Carson City to Kansas, which went off without a problem. Gordon reports that the aircraft is in very good condition with all systems working, including the dump system. The props ADs have been completed and new brakes have been installed. Maintenance and operations plans have been approved by the FAA and Bill plans to use the aircraft on a firefighting contract for the State of Kansas. Bill and his wife Bobbie own Ag Air Service Inc., which is an aerial application company based in Nickerson, Kansas.
Wreck Hunting in Curacao – April 2, 2019
Eric Teoh recently did some wreck hunting on the Lesser Antilles island of Curacao in the Caribbean and discovered the remains of a YS-11A. P4-YSA once flew for Air Aruba, but when the airline declared bankruptcy in 2000 the aircraft was abandoned on Curacao. Using information he found on the Atlas Obscura website, Eric located the aircraft. Eric reports…“I found this on the Atlas Obscura website but also did some poking around with Google Street View before driving over there. The location they give is a little north of the actual location (which is 12.091738, -68.900863). As you can see in the first image, it’s pretty obvious when you drive by and is easily visible on Google Street View. It’s on private property, but seems completely abandoned. I parked by the tail and entered through the attached (and incomplete) building.”
The aircraft was delivered to All Nippon Airways in December 1969 as JA8780 and flew with the airline until being sold in the U.S. to Trans Central Airlines as N904TC in April 1983. It was sold to Simmons Airlines in July 1984 and finally to Air Aruba in September 1988. After Air Aruba declared bankruptcy in 2000, the wings, empennage and engines were removed and it was acquired by the Breezes Resort. The aircraft was moved to its current location, where the plan was to make it a restaurant. Obviously that never happened and over the years the aircraft deteriorated into its current derelict condition. I’ve also included Thomas Posch’s February 2006 photo of the aircraft in Air Curacao titles at presumably the same location. For more information, check out the Atlas Obscura website. Many thanks to Eric for providing the report and photos.
End of the Road for St. Maarten YS-11 – April 2, 2019
As reported February 10, 2019 on this website, YS-11A PJ-WIK miraculously survived Hurricane Irma but it now appears that its days as a restaurant are over. Phil Brooks visited St. Maarten in March 2019 and forwarded the following report. ”Yesterday, we took a catamaran cruise around the island that originated in Philipsburg. Of course, my head was on a swivel during the drive from our hotel in the Maho Beach area looking for the famous YS-11. Little did I know, it would be found right next to the tour operator’s office! I was told by members of the crew that the plan is to dump it offshore from the Sunset Bar and Grill, on Maho Beach, to make it an artificial reef, for divers (and fish) to enjoy. I’d never seen it “open” as a business, and I guess now, I never will! I do recall seeing it at the airport in the early 90s, beautifully painted up in Winair colors.”
As noted by Phil, the YS-11A was operated by Winair but did not work out well with the airline. PJ-WIK was the 25th YS-11 produced and was delivered to All Nippon Airways in July 1966. It arrived in St. Maarten on November 24, 1990 and entered service with Winair a week later on December 1, 1990. Winair experience with the aircraft was nothing short of a disaster with the aircraft being grounded, due to mechanical problems, for most of the first half of 1991. It became a static fixture at St Maarten’s Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) until it was stripped of useful spares and moved by barge from the airport to Phillipsburg some time during the later part of 1999. First noted as a restaurant in February 2000, the fuselage fronts the restaurant building and serves as an entry way to it. Tables are set inside the aircraft but these are not normally used due to the lack of air conditioning. The adjoining building was totally destroyed by the hurricane.
Many thanks to Phil for his report and photos.
Reassembly Continues on AMC Museum C-119B – March 3, 2019
The reassembly of C-119B 48-0352 continues at the Air Mobility Command (AMC) Museum at Dover AFB in Delaware. Mike Leister visited the museum on March 1, 2019 and forwarded photographs of the aircraft, which is being reassembled by a crew from Worldwide Aircraft Recovery. This historically significant aircraft was stored at Edwards AFB for many years and was just days away from being sold as scrap metal when it was rescued by the AMC Museum. The museum is looking to acquire a treadway bridge section to include in the display of the aircraft once the restoration is complete. If you know where one can be found, please contact museum director John Taylor at (302) 677-5942 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the restoration effort and history of the aircraft, check out my article on this website.
St. Maarten YS-11 Survived Hurricane Irma – February 10, 2019
Former Winair YS-11A PJ-WIK has been a fixture for many years on a small plot of land on the outskirts of Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. Painted in Heineken colors, its fuselage served as the centerpiece of a small restaurant and, while the restaurant building attached to it was totally destroyed by Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds, the fuselage amazingly managed to escape serious damage. When I photographed the airplane in January 2018, the restaurant site appeared abandoned. Much of St. Maarten is being rebuilt and hopefully the restaurant will be rebuilt and the island’s famous “Heineken YS-11” will live on.
BAHF C-97G “Angel of Deliverance” Update – February 10, 2019
In 2012 Hurricane Sandy caused considerable damage to the hangar at Floyd Bennett Field that had been home to the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation’s (BAHF) two aircraft, C-54E “Spirit of Freedom” and the C-97G “Angel of Deliverance.” Faced with the need to vacate Floyd Bennett Field, the airworthy C-54E departed post haste but the C-97G was undergoing restoration and it would be five years before the aircraft was airworthy and able to depart. On November 8, 2017 C-97G N117GA made the short flight to BAHF’s home base at Ocean County Airport in Toms River, New Jersey. After a brief stay, it departed later that same day for Reading Regional Airport in Pennsylvania, where it would remain for the next 12 months.
Phase I of BAHF’s C-97 project involved getting the aircraft out of Floyd Bennett Field. With this now accomplished it was time to move onto Phase II, which had the stated goal of enhancing the organization’s operational experience in the aircraft. Phase II objectives included selecting and training flight crewmembers; updating procedures based on lessons-learned from Phase I; installing an updated crew intercom system; cleaning the airplane for public display; correcting maintenance discrepancies found during Phase I; and initiating local training flights to build operational experience.
Reading Regional Airport is home to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum (MAAM) and, while the move there was a temporary solution, it allowed Tim Chopp and his volunteer force to begin Phase II by performing necessary maintenance on the aircraft. During its stay in Reading, a new intercom system and rear ballast tanks had been installed. The ballast tanks eliminated the need to secure weighted barrels in the rear of the aircraft to maintain proper weight and balance. In addition, maintenance issues identified during the November 2017 flight to Reading had been addressed and corrected. It also allowed BAHF to debut the aircraft at the museum’s annual World War II Weekend event in June 2018.
On November 20, 2018, “Angel of Deliverance” was flown from Reading to Hagerstown Regional Airport in Maryland, which is home to the Hagerstown Aviation Museum (HAM). Two successful local training flights were conducted on November 30, 2018 with BAHF Vice President Kevin Kearny proclaiming afterwards that “things are beginning to come together.” After completing the flights, the C-97G was parked alongside HAMs C-82 and C-119 for the winter. The plan is to have the aircraft open to the public during the museum’s first Open Airplane Afternoon on May 5, 2019. The Hagerstown Aviation Museum posted a very nice YouTube video of the November 30th training flight.
A bit of history on the aircraft….It was delivered to SAC on April 27, 1954 as KC-97G 52-2718 and served at a number of SAC bases before being transferred to the Wisconsin Air National Guard in August 1964. A year later it was converted to a KC-97L with the installation of two underwing J-47 engines. Retired by the military in 1976 she was flown to Davis Monthan AFB for storage. Acquired at auction in 1986, the aircraft was converted to a C-97G by removing the aerial refueling equipment and J-47 engines along with the installation of rear clamshell cargo doors. Grace Air purchased the aircraft in 1988 and used it on humanitarian missions to South America and to haul fish in Alaska during the summer. After being stored for a time at Moses Lake, Washington, BAHF purchased the aircraft in April 1996 and ferried it to Greybull, Wyoming for inspection and maintenance. Painted in the colors of YC-97A 45-59595 and named “Angel of Deliverance” the big Boeing set out for Floyd Bennett Field in July 2001 but only got as far as Aberdeen, South Dakota, where the #3 engine failed. With a replacement engine installed, the aircraft was flown to Millville, New Jersey in November 2001 but it would be six months before the final leg could be made to Floyd Bennett Field due to airspace restrictions as the result of the 9/11 attacks. The flight to Floyd Bennett Field was made on May 10, 2002 and the aircraft would call the field home for the next 15 years.
BAHF is a tax-exempt charitable non-profit 501c3 corporation that exists on public support. It costs lots of money to maintain and operate the foundation's Douglas C-54E and Boeing C-97G and they need your financial support to survive. For additional information about BAHF and how to contribute to this worthy cause, check out the organization’s website.
Boneyard KC-97G Becomes Centerpiece at Cleveland‘s I-X Center – February 10, 2019
A piece of Ohio aviation history made its debut at Cleveland’s International Exposition (I-X) Center on March 16, 2018 when it was featured at the Summit Racing Equipment I-X Piston Powered Auto-Rama. The building housing the I-X Center was constructed during WWII to manufacture parts for the B-29 bomber and the owners wanted a B-29 for display at the center. Unsuccessful in their search for a B-29, they found the next best thing…a nearly intact KC-97G in a Tucson boneyard. The Cold War era C-97 was a direct descendant of the B-29 with a total of 888 being produced by Boeing Aircraft. Most were KC-97 refueling tankers that were gradually replaced by jet powered KC-135s starting in 1956. Relegated to either Davis Monthan AFB for storage or to Reserve and Air National Guard units, they served until 1978 when the last aircraft was retired. The I-X Center’s aircraft is KC-97G 52-2604, which was the last C-97 stored in any of the scrapyards surrounding Davis Monthan AFB.
A small team of mechanics led by William “Tex” Powell spent four months at the Aircraft Restoration and Marketing (ARM) scrapyard in Tucson disassembling the aircraft. By June 2017, the aircraft had been disassembled and was loaded onto six flatbed trucks for the long roadtrip to Cleveland. Reassembly took 3 ½ weeks and no major problems were encountered. What really helped was that the crew was now familiar with the airplane and it was essentially whole and in very good condition. The refueling tanks, which were located in the main cabin, were removed but most of the other original equipment was retained.
Now that the aircraft had been reassembled, it was time to remove 40+ years of oxidation and desert grime. Industrial artist Mike Ensminger of Iron Image Design spent several months cleaning and polishing the aircraft’s exterior and the results are truly stunning. Once all the dirt and oxidation had been removed, original Ohio Air National Guard markings emerged on the fuselage.
Mike will also oversee conversion of the aircraft into a 50-seat restaurant, which is expected to open on the south side of the center in 2020. The project is expected to cost about $1.1M when completed and will double the number of KC-97 restaurants in the United States. KC-97L 52-0283 has been the centerpiece of the 275-seat Airplane Restaurant in Colorado Springs since 2002. While the main restaurant is in an attached building, patrons of the restaurant have the option of dining in the airplane.
----Created 10 February 2019------Updated 4 February 2023----