C-133A Cargomaster N199AB was considered stored at Anchorage by most and indeed seldom reported flying, but this has changed ! It was reported flying on June 10th, 2004 and these photos were taken on June 17th. Stu Sibitzky witnessed the action by this impressive dinosaur of USAF transports at Fairbanks,AK and kindly sent me the photos to share.
What an impressive sight ! This is how Stu described it: "A low, rumble, shake you to your socks, 18 foot propeller kind of noise. Yes, it was the sound of “heavy props” once again. I wish I could have recorded the sound as it passed our hangar on takeoff."
These pictures were taken on Saturday, 19 June 2004 here in Fairbanks. They were here to load two large Kenworth dump trucks for Chalkyitsik.
Chalkyitsik is a 5,000’x60’ gravel runway with virtually no ramp area. Population, 65. It is located some 150 miles north of Fairbanks.
Stu added some images, such as 2 pictures of the Chalkyitsik area: approaching from the Southwest and landing toward the Southwest. It would have been even more fun to have been at the village when they arrived. The village has an about 4,000’ of dirt/gravel runway and basically no ramp (for an aircraft of that size) to turn around (and of course no radar, control tower, radio, bathrooms, …nothing!). Charts: Dawson Sectional and Alaska Supplement. One flying NE towards the village shows the surrounding countryside (compare it with the map). The other taken on short final (raindrops on the windshield) shows the school area (red roof building -12 kids) and there are an additional 20 or 30 “homes” just off the picture to the right. A “home” here pretty much equates to a “hovel” in the lower 48. Typical village homes measure about 16x24 (4 x 3 sheets of plywood) on up to the larger ones which may be as big as 20x40 (but that’s really big).
Another shot by Stu of this unique prop transport !|
Days before I got a warning from Marshall Carter that it was airborne: "On June 19, 2004, while fishing in the Little Susitna River (across Cook Inlet from Stevens Anchorage IAP) I saw what I am positive was the C-133A Cargomaster (usually in storage at the airport) actually FLYING! I was amazed by the aircraft's size, and sound (loud, low turboprop rumble.). By the direction of it's travel, I am assuming that the C-133 was headed to either Southern Alaska or The Lower '48." I was told that Umiat (about 60 miles SW of Deadhorse on the North Slope) was the destination that day, obviously they combined charters over a few days.
The Cargo Master flew loads for AGVIQ LLC in the summer 2004 to Umiat (Alaska), for an oil spill cleanup project. |
AGVIQ (Iñupiaq word for Bowhead Whale ) is the environmental clean-up company owned by the Point Hope, Alaska village corporation.
The C-133 was loaded in Deadhorse,AK.
Arriving with its load at Umiat,AK:
the landing on the gravel runway sends up billowing clouds of dust.
Dave Krone wrote me in Mar.2006: |
"I went up to Alaska in March of 1974 and went to work for Air North. The pipeline was just starting up then. Up until 1976 or '77, about half my flying was connected to the pipeline or exploration work. It was great. The other half was mostly bush stuff in native vilages and some charter work.
I flew for Air North till 1978. Then went to work for Alaska International in the fall of 1978. Flew for them 9 years, then went to America West in 1987.
I remember when the C-133 showed up at Anchorage Int'l. Those bands around it, that make it look like a caterpillar, were put on by the airforce because when at altitude and pressurised, at least one blew up because the fusalage wasn't strong enough... At least that was what a captain told me who flew in those days."
Mission accomplished: departure from Umiat,AK and no doubt returning to its homebase at Anchorage,AK.
Thanks for sharing, John !
Cal Taylor wrote in Apr.2006: |
"Info from the frozen north, today (16 Apr).
N199AB flew up to Barter Island and Barrow yesterday to deliver some fire trucks and move a grater. On Tuesday they will have 2-3 days of flying on the North Slope with 13 stops."
Cal wrote a book about this giant transport: Remembering an Unsung Giant: The Douglas C-133 Cargomaster and its People
Cal is an expert on all matters C-133; he also volunteered the following info-
Cal Taylor brought the following fascinating update in June 2008 to my attention:
Paul Filmer was there to witness the arrival on 30Aug08, and very last landing of this or any C-133 Cargomaster, at Travis AFB. His photoreport...
"I took great interest in your article on this wonderful transport aircraft, as I was at Travis the day of the landing. It was....incredible! You could hear the engines thundering from miles away, and when it landed and received its 'hosing down' ceremony, it was almost enough to make you want to cry!
[My grandfather is MSgt. Richard E. Osburn (USAF, ret.), my father is TSgt. Paul Spurling (USAF, ret.)]
I found N199AB sitting on the ramp at Anchorage-Ted Stevens IAP in Aug03.
This external links lists the fates of the C-133 Cargomaster