My trip to the Deep South, 2001


Photo © R.Leeuw

Confederate Flag

A family holiday to the Deep South of the USA, brought me an opportunity to search out propliners in these parts.

Starting out from Atlanta, we steered south and found an apt start with Academy Airlines at Tara Field. DC-3 N143D was parked in a corner, between small aircraft and an abandoned automobile. The owner, Mr McSwiggan, was not around and I failed to get in contact with him: an answering service replied to the phonecalls.
N143D DC-3A-227A (cn2054) Academy Airlines
Griffin-Clayton County Airport,GA 23jul01
This small airfield, a.k.a. Tara Field, is located south of Atlanta Georgia, near Hampton (next to the Atlanta Motor Speedway).
I found it unfortunate that the owner, Mr McSwiggan, was not around to share some tales on this and other DC-3's he operated.

This airframe was delivered to Fokker Aircraft Industries (the Netherlands) on Oct 09th, 1938 and assembled for Swissair as a DC-3-227A. It was delivered as HB-IRO on Oct. 31st 1938. It went back to the US for Fleetwings Inc (1955, N2817D) and was operated by Ozark (reregistered DC-3A N143D). Bought by Fairchild Hiller in 1967, it moved on to Granite Aircraft and Leasing the next year. In 1970 it was Enterprise Flight Service Inc. to try to put it to use. Since 1974 it has been registered to Academy Airlines, in Griffin,GA. To this day it has been kept in airworthy condition. It is nicknamed "Miss Ali-Gator" following a ditching many years ago in the Everglades - a true survivor !
In Oct.2005 Carlos Umstead wrote me the following update:
N143D has gone on to much better things. She is currently based at Griffin-Spalding County Airport (IATA code 6A2) and she flies very regularly. Her current owner, Dan Gryder, in honor of his wife, changed her name to Darla Dee. I call her Miss Dee.
In September 2004, I had the pleasure of flying with Miss Dee for 5.3 hours over the span of two days.
These days N143D spends her time allowing pilots to earn the coveted DC-3 type rating. For those with smaller wallets (a.k.a. dreamers), a quirk in the FARs allows non type-rated pilots time in the left seat. Dan told me that he is permitted to do so only because he owns the plane. A pilot with a major airline that began as a crop-dusting service in Monroe, LA, Dan is an ATP, CFII, MEII and a great teacher. He has a great website, www.thedc-3network.com.
You wrote that N143D is a survivor. I agree completely In April 2005, N143D suffered major damage to her right side when a bracing strut on her right landing gear cracked and allowed the gear to collapse. But it was repaired and N143D flies again.

Thanks Carlos!
Here is N143D on Airliners.net

A bit further south, at Griffin-Spalding Airport, another Academy Airlines DC-3 is resident Unfortunately, N133D is stored without engines and I was warned not to get too close to the aircraft as hornets had taken possession of the aircraft.
DC-3A N133D (cn1499) Academy Airlines
Griffin-Spalding Airport,GA 23jul01
Truly a veteran ! N133D is the 6th production Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST) and is the oldest surviving DC-3. It was delivered to American Airlines as NC16005 ("Texarkana") on July 12th, 1936. It was drafted for the war effort in 1942 and received the military identity C-49E 42-56092. It was released again in 1945 and via the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Corporation purchased it again. It was reregistered as NC16005. It has over 72.000 flighthours on the airframe, amassed during a career spanning over 50 years and it is amazing just to see it sitting there at a local airfield, while in my opinion it should have been restored, polished and pampered at some respectable aviation museum. It sits here at Griffin-Spalding Airport engine-less and for sale (since at least somewhere during the 1990s; asking price in 1998 was US$500.000 due to its historical importance, but it may have gone down in the meantime). Maybe we should tip off the Smithsonian ?

Roger Botting wrote me in Feb.2012 the following update:
"N133D at last has been pulled from the mud and is sitting on its undercarriage again; Bob McSwiggan sold the DC-3 last year to a guy (Frank Moss, Reg'd 19Jul2011 -Webmaster) who is planning to restore N133D, so one day it can be used to fly tourists around. They have started the work but it has a long way to go!"

I was also discouraged from searching for other DC-3s here, but I pressed on and ended up in the office (in the shape of a nice logcabin) of Lance Toland. He owns a company in aircraft insurance and keeps DC-3A N173RD in his hangar, using it for flights with friends to air shows and other occasions. Although Mr. Toland was not around, his secretary displayed the proverbial hospitality of the Deep South and allowed us a look in the VIP-interior of this fine DC-3.
In my opinion the exterior could do with a paintjob, but Mr Toland told me later: "I like it that way !" http://www.lancetoland.com
DC-3C N173RD (cn13868/25313) of Lance Toland
Griffin-Spalding Airport,GA 23jul01
This veteran began life as C-47A 43-48052 with a delivery to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) on July 10th, 1944. On paper it was immediately transferred to the RAF as KG769, to arrive that same year with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) under the same serial. From the War Surplus stocks it ended up after the war with Trans Canada Airlines as CF-TEG. In 1957 it was registered to the Department of Transport as CF-GXW, reregistered to C-FGXW in 1978. Kelowna Flightcraft of Kelowna,B.C bought it in July 1985.
Roger wrote me the following on the history of this DC-3:

Between 1957 and about 1976 CF-GXW and CF-DTH were flight calibration aircraft (calibrating ILS VOR and TACAN system) with Transport Canada. GXW was based in Montreal. The extra long window above the wing was part of the flight calibration modifications done by the FAA. The test bench was along the starboard side just behind the captain's seat and the windows on both sides were enlarged to give the operator a better view outside.
CF-GXW was transferred to Ottawa about 1976 and became our experimental test bed for improvements to flight calibration systems. One such system was an Inertial Referenced Flight Inspection System (IRFIS) (GXW was one of the few DC-3s in those days that boasted an Inertial Navigation System and a Collins FD108 Flight Director system)
I was the Transport Canada test and development engineer for the project.
You may be interested to know that the system was used by the NLR (Netherlands flight inspection group) in their Cessna Citation.
During the trials GXW had some interesting incidents. On one occasion she collided with a truck on the taxiway when one of the brakes failed (the outer section of the wing had to be replaced). On another both engines stopped during approach due to inadvertent selection of empty tanks (fast action by the pilot saved the day). On a third the gasoline-powered auxiliary power unit (APU) caught fire in the circuit.

R. Edwards
Department of Electronics
Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada


Many thanks for this, Roger !

This DC-3 went on a world tour ! CF-GXW was named "Odyssey 86", the project was organized by a society of that same name. Expo '86 was the World's Fair held in Vancouver,BC and for the 50th anniversary of the DC-3 a large gathering of DC-3s was organized here.
Follow this link to see a B/W shot from that period of C-FGXW Odyssey 86 "Spirit of Vancouver" at Brisbane.
Two more, on Airliners.net:
1. C-FGXW by Andy Martin
2. and another one, London July 28, 1986
C-FGXW undertook a round-the-world expedition to celebrate this 50th anniversary of the DC-3. Starting out in Vancouver on 10th June, it visited Oakland, Honolulu, Pago Pago, Suva, Noumea, Brisbane, Cairns, Port Moresby, Darwin, Davao, Manila, Brunei, Singapore, Bangkok, Dhaka, Delhi, Karachi, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Cairo, Athens, Rome, Prague, Warsaw, Oslo, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London, Reykjavik, Narssarssuaq, St. Johns, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Oshkosh, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton and Kelowna before arriving back in Vancouver on 11th August. (All this from Andy).
It was bought by Classic Airlines Corporation Sept. 20th 1990 and registered N173RD, with a registered change in owner a month later to International Ship Repair and Marine Services (Land O'Lakes, Florida). I have no clue why this was done, a trick for the taxman ?
It was registered to Lance Toland in 1994, by which time it was still in a faded "Odyssey 86" colourscheme and he changed the interior to a VIP-configuration.

The "missus" is rewarded for many hours of patience en route, with a seat up front in N173RD and a look at the VIP-interior.

The other DC-3 here at Griffin-Spalding Airport, owned by Ron Alexander, was away at the Oshkosh Air Show at the time of our visit.

At Tara Field (presently being profiled as Clayton County Airport), we had learned that the Carvair of Custom Air Service had moved to Thomaston,GA while Tara Field had been closed for a week during recent runway resurfacing. At Thomaston we found ATL.98 N89FA and "Fat Annie" looked in an excellent condition.

Later N89FA moved back to Tara Field and operated commercially again; though the company was sound, they too experience the economic downturn in aviation. By that time the Carvair was bought by an Ohio attorney and later that year N89FA moved to Texas.
ATL.98 Carvair N89FA (cn9), Custom Air Service
Thomaston,GA 23jul01
This wonderful airplane started life as a Douglas C-54B-20-DO (cn27249, line nbr 195) for the USAAF on 11jan45, with registration 44-9023. After conversion by Douglas to DC-4, Western Airlines became the first civilian operator and registered it as N88816 in 1946. In 1956 it took on a Mexican identity: XA-MAA for Guest Aerovias Mexico. It went further south in September 1957 when it started operating for Aerovias Panama SA on a lease as HP-256. It was reregistered later to HP268. It was returned to Guest in 1960 and reregistered XA-MAA before it went to Bolivia on a lease with Lloyd Areo Boliviano (LAB) as CP-682. It was registered to Babb & Co on October 29th, 1962 and received N9326R as a tailnumber.
During 1962 it was reconfigured by Aviation Traders Limited to ATL.98 Carvair. It was at that time commercially interesting to buy a 20-year old airliner and reconfigure it in a way that it could ferry cars across the Channel. Channel Air Bridge did just that with Bristol Freighters and needed a replacement. "Car-via-Air" became Carvair and 21 DC-4/C-54s were reconfigured this way. The cars needed to enter the aircraft from the front and thus the cockpit was placed on top of the fuselage. Exactly the idea we see worked out later in the Boeing 747 (which started on the drawingboard as a freighter) !
Conversion no.9 carried G-ASHZ while in service with British United Air Ferries and it was there that she was named "Fat Annie". It went back to the States in June 1979 when it was bought by Falcon Airways. The next year she was repossessed by the Mercantile National Bank of Dallas. Nasco Leasing Company bought it that same year and it switched owners again in 1982 when James R. Blumenthal bought it.
Mr Robert D. McSwiggan of Custom Air Service, bought N89FA in 1986 from Mr Blumenthal of Tucson and stored it at Griffin. When sistership N83FA crashed in 1997, N89FA was revived to active duty again with a first flight in April 1998 to Tara Field.
It is truly a unique plane and with the grounding of Hawkair's C-GAAH in British Columbia, Canada and the vague circumstances of N5459M in South Africa, it is the only commercially operated Carvair around. C-GAAH was sold to Brooks Fuel in Alaska and is to be revived again to commercial services in 2004; have a look at N898AT

There was time to visit the Military Aviation Museum at Warner Robins,GA near Macon; truly an excellent museum, with a complete inventory of the US Air Forces.
Saylor's Trailer C-47J 43-49442
Warner Robins Air Force Museum,GA 23jul01

This one never wore civilian clothes... Starting out as C-47B-15-DK 43-49442 with a delivery to the USAAF in Nov. 1944, it was transferred to the Navy one month later and redesignated a R4D-6. It operated with VR-3 squadron at Quonset Point, amongst other places and assignments. It was updated to a C-47J in 1962. At the end of its long servicelife, it was rewarded with a preservation at the US Naval Museum in Pensacola,FL.
These days it is displayed in commemoration to the W.W. II COM CAR (Combat Cargo) squadrons in Southeast Asia at the Museum of Aviation, Warner Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. If you cannot visit in person (93 aircraft and missiles on display !), I can recommend a visit by following this external link to the Museum of Aviation .
In the giftshop I bought a book about the COMCAR squadrons, which performed a vital role in the logistics of the final war efforts (1944/45) in the China-Burma-India theater; I read it with pleasure and can recommend it: "Through Hell's Gate to Shanghai" (the story of the 10th Combat Cargo Squadron), by John G.Martin (D.V.M.); published by The Lawhead Press, 1983.
You can find information about flying over the Himalayas on this webpage too: C-46's over the "Hump". Use your back-button to get back here.

Curtiss C-46D 42-101198 (cn30653).
Warner Robins Air Force Museum, GA 23jul01
Proudly standing guard in front of the Warner Robins Air Force Museum, this C-46D Commando quite possibly was involved with the COM-CAR squadrons in the China-India-Burma area. The museum has a large part of it focused on the Combat Cargo squadrons, which took care of the logistics part in the final years (1944/45) of World War 2 in these parts.
This aircraft was left at Karachi in November 1944 and sold to the Government of India in 1946. It was bought and delivered on Oct. 18th 1954 to Borges Tillotson Aircraft of Sacramento,CA. They had it registered as N68851. But it soon found its way to South America: Lineas Aereas del Caribe (Colombia) bought it in July 1956 and reregistered it as HK-829. It was involved in an accident at Santiage,Chile on March 11th 1959. On an unrecorded date it went to Lineas Aereas Sud America as CC-CDC. Miami,FL was a crossroads for South American and Caribbean trade routes in those days, esspecially for propliners. So it is no surprise that this Curtiss Commando was stored at Miami in 1973. No doubt it found a spot in what locals called the Corrosion Corner. Victor Salas bought it in 1975 and moved it a few miles north: to Opa Locka. It was seen there in 1976 (still wearing the LASA colour scheme and titles). It was still based at Opa Locka in 1978. It belonged to Haiti Air Freight International, ostensibly Haitian but actually based in Florida, which operated a varied fleet of props and jets: C-46D HH-DGA (to which by now it had been reregistered), Convair 440 Metropolitans, Douglas Sixes and a Convair 880 (HH-SMA). By 1981 this Commando was still in faded LASA c/s at Opa Locka,FL (restoration to airworthiness and actual application of new registration may have been postponed till 1981/1982). It was seen at Santo Domingo Oct. 1985 as HH-DGA, operational. In 1999 the FAA banned all Haitian-registered aircraft from US airspace and that was the end of HAFI at Opa Locka.
It was seen at Miami August 21st, 1991 in USAAF colors and delivered to Warner Robbins August 27th, 1991. These days it has a prominent place in front of the entrance of the museum. If you cannot visit the museum in person (93 aircraft and missiles on display !), I can recommend a visit by following this external link to the Museum of Aviation .
A book I read about the COM-CAR squadrons, which I can recommend: "Through Hell's Gate to Shanghai" (the story of the 10th Combat Cargo Squadron), by John G.Martin (D.V.M.); published by The Lawhead Press, 1983.

We felt compelled to move west and search for propliners in Mississippi. The city of Petal was not easy to find, as it is situated against Hattiesburg and poorly signposted. It has a distinct feeling of: "who would want to go to Petal ?". Well, I was looking for C-53D N4003, supposedly parked somewhere in the city. In the end I found it by asking for the "Municipal Buildings" at the police station, as no one else seemed to understand what I was searching for. N4003 sits a bit forlorn in a small, soggy grassfield with a former US Navy jet (TF-9J Cougar) to keep it company; no caretaker in sight and the engines and the rudder have been removed from this Gooney Bird.
Joey from Petal wrote me in May 2005 N4003 is still present: "The dc-3 is still here, pretty much in the same condition, but weather takes a toll over the years. I still live in the area, but I'm only home about 4 days a month. I never see anyone there but someone obviously comes and cuts the grass and cleans up around the place."

It was delivered as 42-68745 on April 10th, 1943 to the USAAF. It was registered NC49543 and was named "Mainliner New Jersey" while operating with United Airlines from 1945. It was actually bought by United in 1949 and renamed "Mainliner Youngstown". In 1955 it went to IBM Corporation and was reregistered as N705M. At some time it went to Freeport Sulfur Co. and again changed the identity, this time to N400S. In 1965 it was bought by Pan Air Corporation in New Orleans,LA and was issued its present tailnumber N4003 two years later. It was cancelled from the U.S. Register in 1976.
C-53D N4003 (cn11672)
Petal,MS July 26th 2001

It was a mystery to me how the plane got there, with no airport in sight. Jack Landree and Roy Blewitt told me the tale:
"That plane has been there since around 1976. It was disassembled and trucked in.
It was there with a B-25J, ex- RCAF. The B-25 was once at the Louisiana water front rotting away. It was bought cheap and trucked in. Although the engines would run, the B-25's airframe was very badly corroded. The B-25 was sold to an amusement park in Florida, which had it painted like a big yellow Godzilla.
As for the C-53, it is still there (2002). It too, is severely corroded and could not be economically repaired.
The two other DC-3s at Hattiesburg were owned by the same man. He was converting one to a cargo door in 1969 when Hurricane Camille struck. The plane was turned around in the air by winds and shoved its wing tip through the other. Both were damaged. The owner then stripped them and left them to rot. They have been there ever since.
The man who owns the C-53 also had parts of another early DC-3. It had Wright-engines and was located in Louisiana. It was damaged during the filming of the James Bond movie, "Live and Let Die". After a car was jumped onto the wing and another crashed into the tail section, it was scrapped. Sonny Hamilton arrived as it was being chopped up. He took the center section to Petal but later scrapped it too."

(Jack).

Jack told me the DC-3 (C-53) is parked beneath pine trees, which are known for holding moisture and the airframe is now plagued by severe corrosion.

"The aircraft is at the site of the M.W. Hamilton Machine Museum, which at one stage had a number of aircraft in restoration, including (apparently) two DC-3s, a Stearman Kaydet, Grumman Cougar, B-25, HUP-1 Retriever and Vultee Valiant. During a visit I made there a couple of years ago, the whole facility had an air of abandonment about it. Needless to say, there was no-one else about - despite this being mid-afternoon on a weekday. The only evidence of any other aircraft present was the Grumman Cougar, which was inside a shed close to N4003. All round, there were various examples of agricultural machinery quietly rusting away. Bob Ogden's South Eastern States museum book gives a telephone number for the museum (601-583 9117). The DC-3 is opposite City Hall and the Central Library; had I thought of it at the time, I could have popped in and asked them what became of the M.W. Hamilton Machine Museum."
(Roy)

Jack & Roy, thanks very much for the info !
When I visited the "museum" the Cougar jet aircraft was outside, on chocks, so some activity must have been taking place....
Mr Hamilton Sr. was quite a collector of war surplus material and it seems that his collection still exists somewhere, but is not on display.

Mr Hamilton Jr wrote me in Mar.2006: "I own the DC-3 N4003 located at Petal,MS and I live on the property where it is. My DC-3 has the passenger door on the righthand side. My dad had collected several planes and machinery with the intention of having a museum. At this time, I am planning to keep the DC-3 as long as I am living, it will not be scrapped."

We had our first taste of swampland at Hattiesburg' Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport in search for the 2 stored DC-3s here. The airport is not signposted, but if you take the I-59 South out of town and exit on the sign "Rehab Center", you'll arrive at HBG. Permission was asked with Southeast Aviation and kindly given, with instructions on how to walk over to the 2 former Southern Flyer DC-3s. They are parked in a remote spot of the airport and the ground proved to be very soggy.

C-47A N37906 (cn12712)
Hattiesburg-Bobby L.Chain Mun'l Airport (HBG),MS 26jul01

C-47A N37906 looked very poorly, with much damage to both interior as well as exterior.
This "Skytrain" started its career with the USAAF as 42-92864 with a delivery on March 08th 1944. Through Canadair Ltd it found its way to Europe, to Norway to be precise. It may have been delivered to the Norwegian Air Force, but it was registered LN-IAG for DNL, changed to SAS in 1948 (reregistered LN-IKG April 30th, 1949) and moved back to North America in 1953 to Maritime Central Airways (as CF-HGL). Eastern Provincial was the next owner, in 1963 and Air St. Pierre operated it from 1965 or 1966 till 1976. By that time it was registered as N37906 to Southern Flyer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Unfortunately it fell victim to Hurricane "Frederick" on 13sep79 and was found "damaged beyond economic repair". Quite probably it has been sitting here ever since.

Sonny Hamilton wrote me in Mar.2006:
"N134D will be cannibalized, but I do not know what will happen to the remaining parts. I donated a C-47 aircraft c/n 20037 to the Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby,MS which is located a few miles south of Hattiesburg in 1991. It was my understanding that this plane would be restored and displayed at the museum; however, it is still sitting in the junkyard and will also be cannibalized for this other airplane N37906. I had hoped c/n 20037 would serve a better fate.
About DC-3 N4003 you described, it belongs to me. The four Martin 404s at Stennis Field,MS were all scrapped."
In further clarification he later added: "The two DC-3's at Hattiesburg Airport were owned by a company, Southern Flyers, which operated out of Hattiesburg in the freight business. In 1979, these two planes were damaged by Hurricane Frederick. At some time after that, Southern Flyers moved to Memphis,TN and left those two planes at the airport.
My Dad and I purchased 3 planes and the center wing section of a fourth plane at Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, LA. The first plane was a C-47, c/n 20037, which had been a mail plane in Venezuela; when it returned to the USA, it was a mosquito-spraying plane for the city of New Orleans; the last time it was flown, the fuel tank sumps were not drained properly. When one engine quit on takeoff, the other engine quit over Lake Ponchartrain and the plane ditched! The two crewmen survived. The plane was fished out of the lake but never returned to service. This is the plane that is at the junkyard at Camp Shelby, south of Hattiesburg.(Camp Shelby is an active training center for National Guard troops.)
The 2nd plane was a B-25, serial #44-86844, which I understand is now in Dallas,TX.
The 3rd plane was a C-53, #N4003 (see above).
The 4th plane was the one used in the James Bond movie. It was scrapped at Lakefront Airport and we bought the center section and some cowling. We later scrapped the center section.
Prior to these, my dad had five BT-13's on property where the C-53 sits. They were all scrapped except the engines and props. He also owned a Douglas B-18 which he sold to someone in Cheyenne,WY. who converted it to a sprayer. This plane may be in a museum in California.
Our museum never got off the ground because my Dad died." M. W.(Sonny) Hamilton, Jr.

Website www.hattiesburgamerican.com published in Mar.2006 an article about forthcoming restoration of this C-47 into a static display for a museum (only a part reproduced): As longtime residents of the Pine Belt, World War II paratroopers Elmo Bell and Daryle Whitfield have known each other for years and shared stories about their harrying experiences over the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
But what they didn't know until recently, was another survivor of that fateful day has secretly been calling the Hattiesburg area home for almost 30 years. Now located at Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport, a rusting shell of a plane sits on an abandoned runway holding its own memories of June 6, 1944, and several other missions afterward.
Now a group of combat veterans from the Mississippi All Airborne Chapter intend to breathe new life into the aircraft and its storied past and create a new home for it at the Camp Shelby Armed Forces Museum.
The plan for restoring the plane begins Saturday when volunteers will gather at the Chain Airport to begin cleaning debris from the interior of the shell, Garrett said.
Eventually, the aircraft will be transported to its permanent home at Camp Shelby, where it will be located in front of a plaque placed by the Mississippi paratroopers' group on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. The plan is to dedicate the new display on June 6, 2007.
A second plane at Chain Airport and one of Shelby's own decaying C-47s will be "cannibalized" for spare parts.
Museum curator Chad Daniels said the plane's history will make it a valuable addition to the exhibits already on display.
Source: http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006603200301

Ron Hargrove acquired it and wrote me in Feb.2011 that he took it back to Alabama; he did the same with N134D, see below.

C-53D N134D (with its cabindoor on the "wrong" side of the cabin !) looked in a somewhat better condition, but an inspection of the cockpit was cut short by an attack of large hornets !
Click on the photo for a larger image-
C-53D N134D (cn11731)
Hattiesburg-Bobby L.Chain Mun'l Airport (HBG),MS 26jul01

Delivered as a troop-transport C-53D to the USAAF on June 08th 143 with serial 42-68804. American Airlines started using it in 1945 as a DC-3A with registration NC18666. After it was registered to Airline Transport Carriers, Ozark Airlines started using it in 1953. It was reregistered to N134D. Fairchild Hiller Corporation became the owner in 1967. Stan Burgstein was registered as the owner by July 1968, but the next year it went to Air Transport Leasing Corp. (Tulsa,OK). In June 1972 IMS Inc. from Dallas,TX became the new owners. N134D was registered to Southern Flyer Inc., Hattiesburg,MS on December 22nd, 1975. It was cancelled from the US Register in Oct.'81. These days N134D plays host to a large nest of hornets and they don't take kindly to visitors..!

Click on the photos for a larger image-
Click here  Click here

Ron Hargrove acquired N37906 & N134D and wrote me in Feb.2011 that he took them back to Alabama. See PHOTOS BY FRIENDS & GUESTS, PAGE 28

Sofar we had only seen products of the Douglas company, but we found Martin 4-0-4s stored near the coast, at Stennis Int'l Airport. This airport seems to be of a more regional nature, and even then you have to ask around for the Hancock Highschool, as otherwise people will direct you to New Orleans or Gulfport-Biloxi for an "international airport". As the song (American Pie) goes: "moss grows fat on a Roman stone": but seems to grow well on these Martin 4-0-4s (N40407, N40415, N40424, N969M) too ! Access to them was easy (again, no one around), and they still seemed to be rather complete.

Martin 404 N40415 (cn14119), ex/PBA stored.
Stennis Airport, MS 26jul01

This Martinliner was delivered to Trans World Airlines (TWA) on May 26th, 1952 as N40415. Skyliner Albany, it was called. N40415 was involved in a landing incident at Wheeling,WV on May 08th 1953, when the left landinggear collapsed; fortunately no one was hurt. It was stored at Kansas City, but no date is known to me. Piedmont Airlines bought it in 1961 and they named it Yadkin Valley Pacemaker. And again it was involved in a landing incident, when it made a hard landing at Rocky Mount,NC on August 06th, 1962. But no injuries (again !). Truly a sturdy aeroplane...
On January 22nd, 1971 Piedmont had no more use for it and parked it. It was bought the next year, on Oct. 19th 1972, by the Landmark Baptist Temple. What use did they have with an airliner ? The next year it was bought by Penn Landmark Corp., which by the look of the name was connected to the previous owner. But all they did with it was store it at Pinehurst,NC.
Provincetown-Boston Airline (PBA) bought it on Dec. 01st 1976. They made fair use of N40415, but that ended when all PBA's 404s were parked in November of 1984 when the FAA shut them down for falsifying maintenance records and a number of other infractions. (Mark Peterson, thanks for this PBA update).

Click on the thumbnail for a larger image of N40415 in better days, flying with Naples Airlines (location of this photo is not known to me, the date is Oct.1978).
Click for larger image

N40415 moved in 1988, but not to another customer: instead it was stored at Gulfport-Biloxi,MS. On Sept. 26th 1988 it was bought by Erickson & Remmert and N40415 moved to its present home at Bay St. Louis-Stennis Int'l Airport,MS during 1989. Maybe they bought it as an investment, as a sale was reported to Aero Sierra de Durango; but the sale was not completed. Maybe it did fly in those days of storage, as US Customs Service seized the aircraft on March 15th 1990. I welcome the sordid details of that period !
On Nov. 01st 1995 the aircraft was again almost sold, to a Mr Mario Duenas, but again the sale was not completed.
And so N40415 sat waiting at Stennis Int'l at its 6th location of storage; what future would there be left ? The registration had not been cancelled with the FAA (though details of ownership are lacking), so maybe...?.
It was not to be ! All four Martin 4-0-4s at Stennis were scrapped during Feb.2002. The airport wanted to expand, the Martins were in their way and after finally all legal papers were completed, the aircraft were sold to Sam Stewart of California. Airliners magazine (may/june 2002) featured an article by Vincent Caire. Sam Stewart (of Martin N404CG fame) scrapped them, took bits home to California and sold the fuselage of N40415 to Kermit Weeks in Florida and the cockpits of N969M & N40407 will be displayed in museums in California (one of which Yanks Museum, Chino,CA). N40424 was beyond any rescue and completely scrapped. Sad, sad, sad.
Witness the sad condition anno 2006.

Martin 404 N40413, also ex PBA, continues to survive (2010) at Gulfport-Biloxi airport, MS - see pictorial update on www.skippyscage.com/aviation/ms/gulfport, though the airport authorities would like to get rid of it.


Martin 404 N969M (cn14231), ex/PBA stored.
Stennis Airport, MS 26jul01

This Martinliner started its career with Eastern Airlines as N483A on its delivery October 29th 1952. Who would have thought that it would be around longer than this reputable airline ? On May 02nd 1963 it was bought and reregistered as N22T by Richardson & Bass Oil Company. In 1965 it was time to move on and W.A. Montcrief bought it. N3651B was assigned to it as a tailnumber. This did not last long: a year later it was bought by Southern Airlines and they had it registered with the FAA as N587S. In 1971 it had reached the end of its usefulness with Southern A/l and they stored it at Atlanta. Citycorp Leasing Inc. thought they still could make money with it and they bought N587S in May 1974.
And indeed, Marco Island Airways leased it as N969M from May 231th 1974. They were so pleased with it, that Marco Island Airways bought it on May 11th 1979. During 1980-1982 it was operated for Air Florida Commuter and acquired by Provincetown-Boston Airline through merger in 1984. But apparently they had no use for N969M as they stored it that same year at Naples,FL. By end-1988 it moved to Gulfport-Biloxi Airport,Mississippi but only to remain in storage.
From here on its history is similar to N40415. Roberta A. Rogers (doing business as Erickson & Remmert) bought it on Sept. 26th 1988 and moved it to its present location of Bay St. Louis-Stennis Airport during March 1989. A sale to Aero Sierra de Durango was not completed and N969M remained stored. On March 15th 1990 it was seized by the US Customs Service. No doubt this had to do with the dealings of the owner and not the activities of the aircraft itself. On November 01st 1995 there was a sale to Mario Duena, but documentation of the sale was never completed.
The start with a respectable airline was promising, than it found employment with regional operators. Pity it had to end in an atmosphere of shady dealings. It was sad to see it sitting in the rain-soaked mud of a nowhere-airport in Mississippi for the end to come...
How it all ended for these 3 Martin's can be read above, with N40415's details.

On a more general note: the MartinLiners designated such as 202 and 404 were often seen described as 2-0-2 and 4-0-4; however this was strictly a marketing thing as the official Type Certificate simply uses '202' and '404'.

"

We found no propliners at New Orleans Int'l Airport, but slightly deeper in the Louisiana swamplands, at Houma Airport, we found Airborne Support. Although, it is understood that they lease their aircraft from Environmental Aviation Services Inc (EASI), I was told by the owner, Mr Howard Barker, that we are dealing with a name change here.

C-47B N4994N was donated by Mr Barker to the "Flying Dove"-Foundation years ago and sits without engines waiting for the funding to be completed by this Society in order to get it airworthy again..
C-47B N4994N (cn14326/25771)
Houma-Terrebonne Airport,LA 29jul01

This one led a varied life... It started its military career with the USAAF on Aug. 28th 1944, but was transferred that same month to the US Navy as a R4D-5 with serial 17268. It served in various units across the USA. It was returned to the Air Force upon which it was designated a C-47J in 1947. Then NASA made use of it, registration N10NA (NASA 10) and it became based at Huntsville,AL. This was in 1969. On April 30th 1971 the tailnumber was changed to N423NA. Two years later it started its civilian career, with Auburn University as N1AU. While on an exchange, for Aztec, it was reregistered as N6326Y that same year. Though now wearing civilian clothes, it still did not operate commercially. In 1977 it went to Florida, for the Lee County Health Dept at Ft. Myers. No doubt it was used as a sprayer, fighting the mosquitos. It was reregistered in 1977 to N840M. And again reregistered N4994N a year later. The next year, in 1979, it saw use by Ag-Air Inc., Belle Glade,FL. From there it went to EASI: Environmental Aviation Services Inc. (though I do not know which year that was). Its active life came to an end in April 1988, when it was stored at Belle Glade. But apparently it was fit to fly when the company moved to its new home, from Florida to Louisiana. A few years ago it was donated to the Flying Dove Foundation by the owner of EASI, now known as Airborne Support Inc.
During Feb2004 I found www.pacificdove.com no longer available, what happened ?.
Thru www.archive.org remains of www.pacificdove.com can be read and I guess the 2003 DC-3 Tour Around the World did not materialize....
Registration N4994N was cancelled from the register on 23May07 and it seems it was scrapped somewhere between that date and 2010.

The sprayers of Airborne Support (C-47s N64766, N64767 & C-54D N67024) looked in excellent condition and are operated on standby basis for oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.
C-47B N64767 (cn10199), Airborne Support.
Houma-Terrebonne Airport,LA 29jul01
It started its military career as 42-24337 on September 06th 1943 with the USAAF, but was on paper quickly transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force that same month as "660". It continued its military career with the RCAF after the war. In 1970 it was reregistered as 12941. During March 1975 it was stored at Saskatoon having reached the end of its usefull life with the RCAF. It was entered in the Civil Aviation Register of Canada as C-GWXP for Champlin Petroleum, but this was not taken up. Just like its sistership with Airborne Support, N64766, it too went to the USA instead. It was bought by Sharvas Investments of Denver,CO in 1977 and was registered as N64766. It went to Weldcraft Steel & Marine Inc, in June 1979 and continued on that same year to Ag-Air Inc at Belle Glades,FL. only to be reregistered in December 1979 (still N64767) to Environmental Aviation Services (EASI), also at Belle Glades.
These days EASI has changed its name to Airborne Support and has found a new home at Houma-Terrebonne Airport in Louisiana.
The photo shows well the sprayer installation, used in Florida to fight mosquitos and now used to fight oil-spills in the Gulf of Mexico. The aircraft adorns the same attractive green-yellow livery it wore while operating with EASI-titles, seems to be in excellent condition and carries a cartoon under the cockpit window of an angry red-assed bull ! For which occasion this was applied, I do not know.
It seems that this "Dak" made a brief appearance in the movie "Ray" about singer Ray Charles (2005), N64767 on the road to Fame ! (Thanks for pointing this out, Hermann !)

N64766 suffered an incident on 13Nov06 at Houma when its righthand maingear collapsed after landing.
But it was restored (and at some point repainted too) as it was reported to be the DC-3 spreading oil dispersant in the Gulf of Mexico, in April 2010: see PHOTO

C-47B N64766 (cn15773/27218)
Houma-Terrebonne Airport,LA 29jul01
The USAAF received this troop transport on Jan. 24th 1945 (43-49957), but transferred it that same month to the RAF (Montreal) as KN281. It went to the UK, but only to return to Canada the next year and to be registered to the RCAF. During 1970, while still with the RCAF, it was reregistered as 12910. It received a Canadian civil registration C-GFGZ, but this was not taken up. Instead it went to the USA, where Sharvas Investments bought it (Nov.1977) and had it registered as N64766. Weldcraft Steel & Marine Inc. (Bellingham,WA) took it over in 1978 and in 1979 it was bought by EASI-Environmental Aviation Services Inc. Recently this company was renamed Airborne Support Inc. and moved from Florida to Houma-Terrebonne Airport, Louisiana.
For some reason it carries the name "Nancy B" in small lettering below the cockpit.
On Nov.13th (!) 2006 N64766 met with an incident, when upon landing at Houma the right maingear collapsed; if the turning prop hit the runway I assume the damage extends to an engine change as well...
In Oct.2009 N64766 was still registered to EASI and if I am not mistaken it features in a 21Oct09 YouTube video, see below-

'DC3 deploys dispersant to combat oil spill off Texas coast': YouTube

You'll find photos of Airborne Support aircraft in Feb.2010 on my Photos by Friends & Guests (24)

C-54D N67024 at Houma-Terrebonne Airport,LA July 29th 2001
C-54D N67024 (cn10550/221), Airborne Support Inc.
Houma-Terrebonne Airport,LA 29jul01
This Douglas product started its career as a C-54D for the USAAF on Feb. 08th 1945 (42-72445). It was transferred to the US Navy that same year with serial 50871. It continued its military career after the war and was converted to a C-54Q in 1962. During April 1970 it was stored at the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona. It was registered as N67024 during 1975 when Aircraft Specialities Inc bought it. Globe Air was registered as the new owner on April 2nd 1981. EASI (Environmental Aviation Services Inc.) bought it in November 1985. And now ASI changed its name, to Airborne Support Inc, but this Ol' Soldier kept its identity: N67024. You got to love the colorscheme it carries these days !
Details Airborne Support can be learned from their website; www.airbornesupport.com
Henk Geerlings sent me some photos of N67024 in a previous life...

We moved north to Lafayette, but DC-3 N33VW had been sold and found a new home with the Cavanaugh Collection in Addison,TX.

We followed Highway 61, of Delta Blues fame, up north and paid a visit to McNeely Charter Service at West Memphis (across the Mississippi, a few miles into Arkansas); here we found a classic "good news, bad news"-situation: restoration from the storm damage, a few years ago, to C-47A N24320 had almost been completed, but both Gooney Birds were for sale.

C-47A N24320 (cn20197), McNeely Charter Service.
West Memphis,AR 02aug01

The history on this one is as follows: delivered to the USAAF on May 06th 1944 with registration 43-15731, but its military career was a short one. In 1946 it was registered NC24320 in the name of Johnson Flying Service (Missoula,MT). In 1954 it was involved in an incident, when it ditched in the Monongahela River,PA on December 22nd with 10 fatalities as a sad result. But N24320 survived, as it was repaired by Johnson Flying Service during 1955. All in all N24320 stayed here for some 30 years ! That is a feat you don't see much with these old warriors ! In 1977 it is time to move on ands Evergreen International become the noew owner at that time. Not for long though, as on February 12th 1979 it was registered to Basler Flight Service Inc. in Oshkosh,WI . On July 24th 1985 it became registered to McNeely Charter Service and found its home at West Memphis Airport, Arkansas. A few years ago, I was told at McNeely's, N24320 suffered from a severe storm, when it was picked up and smashed down on the ramp again. The damage took it out of production and the photo shows it in the last stages of inspection and repairs to bring it to an airworthy status again. Unfortunately, McNeely Charter Service is winding down its DC-3 operations, finding a better demand in aircraft with less capacity, and at the time of my visit N24320 was to be sold to a Flying Museum somewhere in the US.
On Oct.17th 2001 N24320 arrived at Missoula,MT where it will join the Museum of Mountain Flying. It is the intention that a hangar will be built for it. As stated above, this aircraft and Missoula,Montana share a considerable history. Hopefully it will remain in an airworthy condition.
Read the artricle written by Mick Holien of the Missoulian about the arrival of N24320 at Missoula.
The museum seems to be a small scale affair thusfar, located at east end of Missoula airport and only open during weekends from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.(2002).
The adress is:
4505 US Highway 10 West
Missoula, MT 59808-5634
Telephone: (406) 721-3644

N24320 was also involved in a ground accident in 1994 with a Cessna 208 (N927FE ).

While the sale of N24320 appeared to be imminent, for the time being C-47A N5831B was still operated on freighter charters. Mr Reggie Hopwood, the owner of McNeely Charter Service, told me he was winding down the DC-3 operation, as the capacity was too large to fill on most flights.
C-47A N5831B (cn19345), McNeely Charter Service
West Memphis,AR 02aug01

The age does not show, but this airframe was delivered over 60 years ago: on December 28th 1943. The USAAF had registration 42-100882 applied to it and 02Sep1944 it was registered to the Royal Air Force as TS422. It has quite a War story!
In 1946 it was transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
Then there is a considerable gap in its documentation, as we pick it up in 1967, when it was registered CF-KAZ for Keir Air Transport Ltd in Edmonton, Canada. It went through a series of owners, starting with Trans Provincial Airlines in July 1970, followed by Laurentian Air Services in 1975, but was returned to Trans Provincial that same year. According to the new system in tailnumbers, it was reregistered as C-FKAZ in 1976. In July 1978 it started operations with Pacific Coastal Airlines, moving on to Airwest Airlines in May 1980, ever onwards a few months later (September 1980) to Superior Airways and to Ontario Central Airlines in Gimli,Ontario in April 1981. Ever restless, it appears, it changed again ownership in December 1981; this time Ilford Riverton became the proud owner, but only till December 1982 as we see Bearskin Lake Air Services taking over the ownership then.
She certainly got around, though most of it happened in Canada.
It was registered N5831B for Air Siesta Inc. at McAllen,TX; Air Siesta (strange name for an airline!?!) bought it on 26Feb85. After a few months this changed: Jimmie H. Falls of McAllen,TX bought it 06Jun85; maybe he was related to Air Siesta;a plan that did not materialize?
There is a gap in my documentation as I have no further details till the date January 24th, 1995 when it was registered to McNeely Charter Service Inc., in West Memphis,Arkansas. And though I found it in full commercial service at the time of my visit, I was told that this DC-3 was for sale. McNeely was winding down its DC-3 operations and was switching over to aircraft with smaller capacity.
Update: It was bought and registered on 27Sep02 to John J.Johnson of Wasilla,AK. He based N5831B at Avra Valley,AZ where the weather is so much easier on an aircraft in storage. Several DC-3s are for sale in (Palmer) Alaska and it's hard to imagine there would be work for this one these days (2003).

James Richard Covington, Jr (c) sent me this photo of N5831B, stripped of its paint, taken on 17Oct03 at Avra Valley; thanks Rick !
N5831B was sold to a British owner and was registered on 30Jun04 to Dakota Heritage (Incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware) and left Arizona almost a year later, on May31st 2005 and arrived a few days later in Liverpool,UK. Read more about it.

John Stewart wrote me in Jan.2007:
"Thanks for the wonderful photos/news of this plane. I was a mechanic at McNeelys and I have worked on that ol' gal a lot.
I have always remembered when my son and I got the chance to ride together.
I still keep a photo of her on my desk where I work now. I also worked alot on N24320 which went to a museum. Guess I will have to "cross the creek" to see the beaver ( this was our nick name or her)...
John
I saw Convair CV580(F/SCD) N584E (cn25) parked at Memphis International Airport,TN without titles; next to it was parked CV600(F-SCD) N94279 (cn101) with Rhoades titles. Unfortunately I could not convince people in the warehouse to allow me on the ramp, in order to take some photographs. In the light of what was to happen later on September 11th, this was good security.

The State of Tennessee has a self-reputed fame for food, but the 101st Airborne Restaurant near the airport of Nashville (on Murfreesboro Rd.) takes no chances and has situated itself in a World War II scenery, complete with a TC-47B (N2312G) in invasion colourscheme; it is in satisfactory condition, complete with engines and props.
TC-47B N2312G at 101st Airborne Restaurant TC-47B N2312G (16468/33216)
101st Airborne Restaurant, Nashville,TN 05aug01
After its initial delivery, this one went for a long service career ! This TC-47B was delivered during the closing days of World War 2, on May 15th 1945 and was issued tailnumber 44-76884. It went on to the US Navy and was classified an R4D-7 with serial 99838. At some point it received a civilian registration, N7073C, but still under ownership of the US Navy. From the Navy it went to the FAA, where it was registered as N30 and meanwhile redesignated to TC-47J. The Department of Agriculture was next, in March 1975 and this was the reason to change the serial again to N87814. This did not last long as in August of that same year it was changed to N2004J and this was again revised in 1976 when N212GB became the new registration. In July 1978 it went commercial for the first time, being registered to Way Mac Enterprises Inc. in Jackson,Mississippi.
In 1984 it was registered to the next owner: Specialty Restaurants in Anaheim, California. Registration N2312G was issued and is in fact carried in small lettering on the aft fuselage under the tailwing. It did not move to California, but found its way to Tennessee.
Though I did not have the pleasure to dine at the 101st Airborne Restaurant, it did look very inviting and I intend to remedy that on a next visit. Hopefully the TC-47J will be around for a long time.

In Oct.2006 I received an update by Charles Hood:
"The Restaurant closed January 28th."Tooie"is still there and is offered for sale.I am afraid it may be destroyed if someone doesn't do something!
I Dj'd there for the last 5 years it was open and really miss the place."

And in Jan.2008 I received the excellent news that 'Tooie' is going to find a new home and will be brought to Indiana. Keep an eye out for news on www.indianaairsearchandrescue.org
See also Photos by Others, Page 14...

Phil Brooks wrote me in May 2013: "DC-3 'Tooie' seen on a trailer at Franklin Flying Field, Indiana (3FK) on Saturday May 25th; what's the plan?" See for photo my page Photos by Others, Page 37.

At Smyrna,TN I found the CL-44 "Skymonster" (still wearing 9G-LCA ) stored on the ramp of Tennessee Technical Services, a maintenance company for Boeing 727s and Douglas DC-8s. The future looked grim for the last Canadair CL-44, but please read on.
CL-44 9G-LCA seen stored at Smyrna,TN August 6th 2001 Conroy CL-44 Guppy 9G-LCA (cn16), Tennessee Technical Svcs
Smyrna,TN 06aug01

From a Canadair CL-44 airframe one specialised conversion was made, by raising the upper fuselage by about 1.5 m (5 ft.); it was redesignated CL-44-0 and first flew on November 26, 1969. The conversion was done by Jack Conroy (Conroy Aircraft Corp.) in Santa Barbara,CA and the aircraft was previously owned by Flying Tiger Lines (N447T). The idea behind the conversion was to make it suitable for transporting complete RB-211 aircraft engines, for Lockheed's L-1011 Tristar production line; when Lockheed did not fall for the idea, Jack Conroy decided to go ahead anyway, in conjunction with Flying Tigers (though they decided they had no use for it, too).

It was delivered (on a lease) to Trans Meridian Air Cargo (N447T) on July 08th, 1970 upon its conversion to "Skymonster" (though this nickname was only given in later years, it started conventionally on delivery as "Conroy 103"). It operated from London-Stansted and kept its US-registration. HeavyLift Cargo Airliners bought it on August 11th, 1982, registered it as EI-BND and operated out of Southend, England. They stored it without further use it in October 1993. A new owner, ILG/LCA of Kansas City, bought it on December 29th 1993 and leased it to Buffalo Airways (NOT the Buffalo Airways of Yellowknife, Canada). Buffalo Aws was owned by Farhad Azima, an Iranian expatriate living in Kansas City. Mr Azima owns (or owned) Aviation Leasing Group (ALG) and was chairman of HeavyLift at the time of its shutdown in 2002.
Aviation Leasing Group, list of companies ALG is comprised of.

The Skymonster was leased in August 1997 to Azerbaijan Airlines and re-registered as 4K-GUP, operating mainly out of Europe. After a short while it started operating for Baku Express, but this did not last long. It was registered to 9G-LCA of First International Airways in July 1998, operating out of Ostend,Belgium. It is rumored that behind these three name changes the same financial backer, Farhad Azima, was involved.
On August 03rd 1999 it was ferried to Smyrna,Tennessee. Registration N440CL was assigned to it, but it was not taken up: 9G-LCA remained written on the fuselage. The tailnumber signifies the owner: LCA Partners of Kansas City.

At Smyrna,TN it was welcomed by Tennessee Technical Services. This T.T.S. was a repair station which performed work (repairs plus B, C & D checks) on DC-8's and 727's and part of Azima's business empire. On June 3rd 1998, the first aircraft rolled into the TTS facility. Their website www.ttsrepair.com/ was no longer current in Mar.2004.
The Guppy is an odd one among the jetliners TTS overhauls, but during my visit I was informed on a pending sale to a customer for this Guppy.

During 2002 a restoration project was started. The FAA issued a license for a one-time-exit-only from the States. By September 2002 the project was completed by TTS. Installing TCAS and rewiring navigational equipment brought much delay and frustration. The "Conroy Guppy" came with a spare engine, I was told. The project was inspired by an Englishman named Malcolm Porter, Loadmaster/Guppy 9G-LCA and Project Manager for ALGUK Ltd.
On Sep.27th 2002 the "Johnsonair JON44" arrived at Teesside,UK from Smyrna,TN. It moved to Bournemouth for further repairs and modifications, but anno March 2004 no commercial flights on behalf of Johnson Air, or anyone else, have yet been made.... This is no doubt a big disappointment for all those who worked on its recent restoration.
9G-LCA at Bournemouth, May 2003.

 

Further east, towards the Smoky Mountains, C-47A N62CC stood in pristine condition on the ramp of Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport. It is registered to Catalina Air, but it was locally referred to as "Steve Lance's plane". Unfortunately, I could not find Mr Lance and talk about his sharp looking bird. It is available for charters and supposedly in a "corporate configuration", seating 16, with a bar, tv and two couches.
C-47A N62CC (cn13798/25243), Catalina Air Inc.
McGhee-Tyson Airport, Knoxville,TN 07aug01
As USAAF C-47A 43-47982, delivered on July 03rd 1944, it saw service with the 12th Air Force in Italy. It went back to the USA in 1945, but had grown a liking to Europe apparently as it went to Air France in May 1947 as F-BAXH. It was registered to Air Liban on June 25th 1951 as OD-ABK, but was again registered to Air France only 5 months later. In 1968 it was registered to SFA (?) and to Rousseau Aviation in May 1969. At one time it was registered as 9Q-CSM but this was not taken up and an actual move to Zaire was probably never made. It was at Dinard, France in 1970/1971. In 1983 we see for the first time N62CC entering the books, but a sale to Cook & Co again did not materialize. But in February 1988 it was registered to Virgil Air Corp., Bethel,CT as N62CC. See below for more. It was bought by Vandermeer Co. Inc. of Ridgewood,NJ on February 11th 1993. This did not last long, as in July of that year it was registered to Deutsche Kraft Inc., Lehighton,PA.
On Nov. 21st 1994 it was registered to CATALINA AIR INC., of Alcoa,TN. At the time of my visit it looked in an excellent condition and she features streamlined wheeldoorcovers ("speedpacks"), something you don't see very often. Catalina Air is a current "FAR 135 air charter company", offering passenger luxury air charter in a corporate configured DC-3. The aircraft seats 16 passengers, has a full bar tv,stereo, galley two restrooms, club seating and two couches. This aircraft has R-20000 engines.

Scott Grillo volunteered the following information, for which I am grateful:
"I stumbled on your website and wanted to fill you in a little more on this particular aircraft.
While this aircraft was owned by Virgil Air, it was managed by Capital Aviation of Oxford,CT, where I was a flight instructor and charter pilot.
My boss, Milt Marshall, a former pilot with the original Capital Airlines, flew the airplane with a number of co-pilots, including one flight with me.
The aircraft was built as a C-47, and subsequently converted by Douglas to DC-3 configuration. In the mid 50's (I can't recall the exact year) it was converted to a Pan American 'Hi-Per' conversion, which is where the gear doors and the R-2000s came from. There was also some changes to the fire detection and protections systems as part of the conversion. (This information comes from the data plates in the aircraft cockpit, as well as a supplement to the flight manual)
As best as we can see, we believed that the aircraft may have been operated by Castle & Cook, the Hawaiian corporation.
After it was sold by Virgil Air, I remember seeing the plane at the Reading, PA airport, and had not heard of of it since. The interior is a corporate interior done in a faux chinese motif.
Prior to Virgil Air owning it, it was owned by a Gentleman in Georgia, and it sported a Georgia Tech Bulldog mascot on the tail.
I seem to recall that the total airframe hours were quite low when compared to other DC-3s, but I haven't seen the logs in over 10 years!
My log book shows that I last flew N62CC on 25Jun89 for .5 hours on a local sightseeing excursion.
As a side, the Hi-Per conversion did improve performance, but proved on several occasions to be a pain. We cracked a collector ring on one, and could not find a replacement, at it appeared that it may have been a one-off for the conversion. Fortunately the one on the plane was repairable.
I have only seen one other like it. I was at KBUF (Greater Buffalo International Airport,NY) on a charter and spotted a DC-3 freighter with the same gear doors, and as best as I could tell seemed to be a similar conversion.
Hope this helps on the history of this bird."
Scott Grillo
07Sep02

He also sent me a pic with N62CC in "days gone past":
"It was taken at Waterbury-Oxford Airport (KOXC) with the plane landing on runway 18. I don't have the date, but my guess would be winter '88-'89. You can make out the Georgia Tech Bulldog mascot on the vertical stabilizer."
Scott

During mar08 it was offered for sale on www.gesoco.com -based at Swanton,VT- for usd 175.000 and ttl airframe hours 15.763 hrs.

 

We had a wonderful drive through the Smoky Mountains and found our way back into the State of Georgia. At Calhoun I visited Mercer Air Field, which is a privat grass strip, with planes of the World Aircraft Museum on display. It features various military jets and a Convair T-29B (515145, US Navy). The museum seems closed but the planes sit on the grass field with easy access.

Jerry R. Hagan volunteered the following info: "I was a crewman on the old T-29B back in 1969, flying out of VT-29 in Corpus Christi, TX. She was a beast! I flew as a Radioman and worked on the avionics package. She was definitely maintenance prone, lots of hydraulic and oil leaks and used many gallons of oil on a 6 hour flight. I flew aboard the T-29B and the TC-117D and I always preferred the tail dragger. As for our mission, we trained Navigators. The planes were equipped with sextant mounts in the overhead for taking celestial fixes." Jerry can be contacted at email to Jerry R. Hagan

Convair T-29 515145 (cn276), VT-29 (6T009) USN, preserved.
World Air Museum, Mercer Air Field (privat), Calhoun,GA 08aug01

This Ol' Soldier was delivered to the US Air Force as 51-5145 on Nov. 19th 1952. It first did service with 3535 Bombardment Training Wing, in 1954 with 3565 BTW and onwards to 3565 Amarillo Training Wings. Thus passed the 1950s with a few more transfers to various units. In June 1962 this Convair 240, designated a T-29B, was loaned to the US Navy. From January 29th 1963, it operated with Training Squadron VT-29. On October 15th 1975 it reached the end of its active military career: it was stored in the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson,AZ.
On August 21st 1981 it was bought by the World Aircraft Museum and brought over to Calhoun,GA. It was and is displayed in the colors of the US Navy and VT-29. It was entered in the FAA records with registration N1178Q, but this was cancelled on April 13th 1989. In fact, a sale was apparently reported, but the aircraft is still sitting in this museum-without-visitors.

During Feb.2004 I received following email:
Looking at the picture of "this old bird", it brought back memories. I've flown it, along with all the other T-29s assigned to VT 29.
I served in this squadron from early 1963 until January 1966. As a radar tech. air crewman, I flew in all our aircraft. We also had a number of R4Ds.
The T-29 was a great old aircraft. The downside, when compared with the Gooney Bird was that the T-29 had a glide rate similar to that of a rock. At 10.000 feet, if one lost an engine, one had better find a place to put it down within the hour. The Gooney would fly forever on one engine.
-- Ed Jackson (Sapulpa, OK)
Thanks Ed !
Have a look at a T-29 in its natural environment: T-29C 52-1136 cn375. Use your BACK-button to return here.
Credit: Official USAF Photo, released through Mather AFB 23Apr73.

Nigel Aylmer came across this T-29 on 23nov07, virtually the same, photos added on Friends & Guests Page 11.

Jeremy Whitehead wrote me in March 2008 with this bleak outlook:
This place has been abandoned for about 25 years now and I have it on good authority that our state highway department has plans to build a new exit ramp for nearby Interstate Highway 75, right through the middle of the airfield...
When that happens, it would be my guess that the three remaining aircraft at this site (including the Convair T29) will most likely be scrapped given their poor condition. There is still a T33 and an F84 there as well. I know that the HH34-J that was there recently purchased and went to Texas. I just got off the phone with the gent that bought it and he informed me that Mr. Mercer who owns the airfield has dementia but is apparently open to selling what remains of this collection.
I thought I'd pass it along for if you know of anyone who has the resources to rescue one or more of these old birds, now would be the time!
When I googled Mercer Air Field (GA65) I found several references to a phone number for Mr. Mercer, although I don't know if that is still valid.

In July 2009 I read on a forum about the continued dilapidation of Mercer airfield and its collection:
The Mercer 'airfield' borders right beside the I-75 highway and is very valuable commercial property nowadays.
Most of the USAF airplanes on its property came from the Georgia ANG at Dobbins air base; the F-8 Crusader which has now been scrapped was a former NAS Atlanta airplane too.
The elder Mr. Mercer was the aviation buff in the family. Eventually, he ran out of flying years, sold the privately owned (flying) aircraft, and stopped being active at the field.
His son is less interested in aviation, but arranged for the (public use) field to be mowed and kept in usable condition. Over the years, vandals damaged many of the government owned aircraft, and spares (canopies and the like) are not forthcoming.
As you can see from pictures (link below) taken over time, several of the aircraft on display at Mercer have moved on to better locations, while others (the F-8 and some heli's) were scrapped.
Mercer Field was just a grass strip alongside the interstate in a backwater location. Today, it is being taken over by the state to build an interstate exit ramp.
http://warbirdinformationexchange.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=30767&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0


During July 2004 I received following email from Bob Carlsen -
Thought you would like to know as of today, July 11, 2004, the T-29 still stands somewhat lonely looking at Mercer. I have driven north and south on I-75 for many years, and used to notice the aircraft. However, in the last few years, the maturity of the trees are blocking the aircraft. On this trip, I made an effort to look for them and spotted them through the trees. For the first time, I exited the interstate, double backed two miles and found Mercer. Do you know any of the history of the field or any information about its current status, ownership, etc. It looks as if someone just closed and locked the door years ago and walked away. It was a weird experience. Any information would be appreciated.
Thanks Bob !

Anthony Underwood wrote me in June 2007:
Just looking over your site and found this at Mercer Field and yes, T-29 515145 is still there.
I went there for my 12th birthday, I am now 36 ! They used to have some cool stuff there, but most of it is gone and what is left has really went down hill.
If you come this way once more, stop in Pigon Forge,TN to the Tennessee museum of Flight and Hall of Fame. Lots of good old birds.

Thanks Anthony!

 

In May 2011 I came across this -final?- update:
http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/may/14/heyday-mayday-calhoun-airstrip-planes-fading-away/

I gather from the article the air museum has only two planes remaining, a Republic F-84 and the Convair T-29; the former has a destination for preservation.
The original owner, E.L. Mercer, died in May 2011; roadworks may start here when all disputes are settled, the museum soon becoming a fading memory.


The final, clean-up message on the planes of Calhoun comes from Dave Wells, sent May 2012:
".. thought you would like a couple updates. This week I stopped at Mercer Airfield in Calhoun, GA where the T-29 once was. Unfortunately the plane is gone, scrapped from the little info I have been able to find online. The only trace remaining is a few interior bits laying in a pile of scrap next to the hanger...
The F-84 and T-33 are gone to museums for restoration. The field is overgrown and appears completely abandoned. The hanger is very run down, I question its structural integrity, hopefully everything of value has been removed.
The highway off ramp project seems likewise abandoned!

You also mentioned a B-25 that was sold to an amusement park in Florida. I believe this went to a water park in Destin,FL. It has been painted yellow and fitted with water cannons. I took a few pictures while on vacation several years ago. I will have to dig them up if you are interested.

I live in Chattanooga and occasionally seek out airfields and abandoned planes. Being an A&P Mechanic I would love to find a good project at a decent price to revive but so far nothing has been found in the area. If you know any other airfields or airplanes in the area that need to be located please let me know!
Dave

 

Former resident of Calhoun C-47H N47060 I found at Rome's Richard B. Russell Airport, some 60 miles southwest of Calhoun. Locally I was told that the aircraft had not flown in years and that the owner "lived up somewhere north". N47060 has a wooden sign in front of it, stating to be owned by the World Aircraft Museum, though the registration on this sign spelled N2805J !
The aircraft looks in airworthy condition and one can see "43-9095" appearing thru the paintwork.
C-47H N47060 (c/n 19066), World Aircraft Museum.
Richard B. Russell Airport, Rome,GA 08aug01
The first registration to enter the books was 42-100603 for the USAAF, but this was quickly altered into 39095 for the US Navy. It was delivered on November 11th 1943 and it served with various units: VR-3, VR-4, VR-13 and in 1946 with VMR-153. It certainly did go places, it even went to Pearl Harbor in March 1946. It remained for a long time in the militairy service, during the 1950s it apparently flew in the service of the US Marine Corps.

So we have US Army Air Force, US Navy, US Marines.... and in 1972 to the US Army (Missile Command) ! On this last assignment it wore 43-9095 as a tailnumber. Quite what its role was there, operational transport (not for missiles, surely !) or for some sort of display, I do not know.
It was registered to the State of Florida on August 19th 1975 and to the World Aircraft Museum, Calhoun,GA in Oct. 1981. For the past 20 years it has led a rather inactive life. Where will it go from here ?

Well, the reply came in 2007 (!), when Aad van der Voet (of Oldwings.nl) wrote me this:
"N47060 was, and still is, owned by Mr. Chad Nobert Koppie from Gilberts,IL. He is a very active 69-year old retired airline pilot and he is also the man behind the Northern Illinois Aircraft Museum Inc., to which N47060 was registered on 13May03. The museum's address is the same as Mr. Koppie's home address. Mr. Koppie is of course the owner whom you correctly describe on your website as the one "living somewhere up north".
He bought N47060 in 1999 and restored it to flying condition at Mercer Field. He then flew it out of there in late 1999 or early 2000. But due to engine troubles he was forced to land at nearby Richard B. Russell Airport, north of Rome, GA. The problems were too difficult/costly to solve and the aircraft was abandoned there.
N47060 was noted stored there in March 2000 and again by you in Aug01.
A few years later, N47060 was "adopted" by the TigerFlight Foundation. They are based at Rome's Richard B. Russell Airport and they have a hangar there. They moved the C-47 to a spot near their hangar, for intended use as a classroom for the foundation's children's program.
But in Sep06 Mr. Koppie finally came back down south and brought 2 new engines with him for his C-47. With the help of the TigerFlight Foundation volunteers, both engines were installed, fired up and running smoothly later that same month. N47060 was present at the North Georgia Air & Car Show at Richard B. Russell Airport on 21Oct06, but it did not fly!
Slow restoration continued, with hydraulics and full system checks were being planned for Dec06. However, Chad Koppie went up north again and work on the aircraft was halted. Today, N47060 is still stored at Richard B. Russell Airport and it still has not flown (now for more than 7 years).
The TigerFlight Foundation expects Chad Koppie to return any time soon to finish the job and collect his aircraft. His plans are to ferry it to Rockford,IL on a temporary permit and continue the restoration there. Once recertified with a current annual inspection, Koppie promised to lease the C-47 to the TigerFlight Foundation for $1.00 per year. They would then repaint it in its original OD green WW2 markings and redo the interior back to 21 jump seats, all on their expense. They then plan to fly it on the US airshow circuit. But, as always, it remains to be seen how much of these plans will actually become reality."

Nigel Aylmer same across N47060 on 24Nov07, at Rome,GA; photos see Photos by Friends & Guests (11)

In 2009 Jürgen Scherbarth found it at Thomaston,GA and he wrote:
"It has recently made its way to Thomaston,GA with at the controls the one-and-only Mr. McSwiggan himself!" Photo on Photos by Friends & Guests (18)
(In Oct.2010 it had its certificate expired and "ownership pending"; N47060 did participate at Oshkosh Aug.2010 in The Last Gathering.)

John S. Cornacchione (SMSgt, USAF): wrote:"My Uncle, Joseph Anthony Cornacchione, was assigned to VR-13 during WW2 and this C-47H could have been a plane he flew on as an Aviation Radioman!

Hans Hoogers wrote me in Oct.2011 to correct me on two clerical errors (c/n written as 19060 corrected to 19066 and ex USAAF serial 42-100602 corrected to 42-100603) and reported sighting of N47060 at Basler in Oshkosh last july. See Ken Swartz'Oshkosh 2012 photos HERE..

This trip proved to be very satisfactory, the friendly hospitality compensated for the heat and humidity in these parts during the summer months. But I found it distressing that so many propliners were stored or seemingly without work.


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Links:
Page 1 of several DC-3 photopages

How it all started with the DC-1, DC-2 and that Plane that Changed the World: the DC-3... follow this link and read what I have on that subject: History of the DC-3
C-46s flying over the Himalayas on this website: C-46's over the "Hump" External links, use your "back"-button to return to my website:
www.CL44.com website of Mr Sigurdson with full history of the Canadair CL-44 aircraft.
http://www.cl44.com/cl44/prodlist/serial16.htm. Career of 9G-LCA.
All About Guppys.com

Credits:
"Douglas DC-3" by J.M. Gradidge (Air-Britain, 1984), "DC-3 Update 1" and additional details by Jeff Rankin-Lowe & Andy Martin.
Piston Engine Airliner Production List (1991) by A.B Eastwood & J.Roach (published by TAHS).
DC-4, by John and Maureen Woods; Airline Publications Production (1980, ISBN 0905117719).
"North American Carvair Revival", article in Propliner No.75 (1998) by David Henderson.
Curtis C-46 Commando, by John M. Davis, Harold G. Martin & John A. Whittle (1978, Air-Britain).
Curtiss C-46 Lundkvist Aviation Research (1981)
Contributions by Brian Maddison & Rick Wargo thru the C-46 Yahoo eGroups (see my links-page)
JP Airline Fleets, various copies since 1987
The Martinliners, by Gary L. Killion (Airways Int'l, 1997; ISBN 0-9653993-2-X)
The ConvairLiners Story, by J.M.Gradidge (in collaboration with John M. Davis, Douglas D. Olson, Dr John A. Whittle), an Air-Britain publication (1997, ISBN 0 85130 243 2).
Propliner magazine, no.92, Autumn 2002. Update on arrival 9G-LCA at Teesside,UK from Smyrna,TN.
Airliners magazine no.83 (Sep.2003), article by Scott Hamilton, on Britannia's and CL-44's.




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