Propliners in Iceland, june 2007

With promises of scenic beauty and friendly people, the 'Missus' and me flew to Reykjavik, Iceland in early June 2007. In the planning stage I had contacted a few 'friendly people' to search out some propliners while I was there anyway... We landed at Keflavik’s Intl'l Airport and the first expectations were fulfilled: it was raining...

TF-ORA Eagle Air
TF-ORA of Eagle Air

After collecting our rental car, we headed out to the airport of Reykjavik in town and I spied over the fences for a stored DC-3. I gave myself little chance as it was supposed to be locked away in a hangar. As usual, my wife spotted it first: after many years being dragged to airports large and small, she has a keen eye for propliners, esspecially taildraggers.
DC-3 TF-ISB was partly hidden from sight but sitting outside hangar 3.

TF-ISB
C-47A TF-ISB (c/n 9860) - Icelandic Friends of the DC-3

In spite of the drizzle, a photo was taken and we further circled the airport with hopes of a better sighting. It was not to be. It appeared in a sad state and wings and parts of the tail section have been removed.

A few other remains were sighted too: main section of the fuselage of TF-FTL (a Cessna 172 of the Icelandic Flight Academy) and a fuselage section bearing letters ‘AUT’ adorning a blue and red cheatline.

Remains of ... ?

Dan Willink helped to identify: "This is actually PA31P OY-AUT (31P-7400183), which crashed at REK 22Apr97; from The Net I gleaned that it crashlanded at the end of runway 14 (as translated by an Icelandic colleague, presumably means it could not stop in time)."
See also photo on Airliners.net by David Alfred Eliasson (24Aug07).

Sigurjón Valsson provided an eye-witness account of OY-AUT's demise:
"Regarding OY-AUT, it did indeed crash at the end of runway 14 (as it was at the time, now 13) but it was not because it could not stop, that is for sure: I did watch it go down!
Story goes like this-
This aircraft was owned by a Danish guy living in Greenland (Sondre Strom?) and he used the aircraft to shuttle back and forth Greenland-Denmark. On the day in question, he took of from Reykjavik on his way to Denmark.
Roughly in the vicinity of Eyjafjallajökull, the left engine failed!
I was flight instructor with Flugtak Flying School at the time, and the first thing we knew about it was all the fire engines racing out so we switched on the scanner... At the time, the aircraft was calling left hand downwind for runway 14. As the wind was 100-130° about 25kts gusting 35, and 14 is notorious for severe turbulance in that wind, we knew it was going to be interesting, so we rushed outside to watch.
The pilot turned finals and it was obvious it was a rough ride, he was all over the place. Suddenly, the left wing dropped and the aircraft looked like it was spinning in. I thought he had bought the farm, and ended up in the sea! But he was lucky. He ended up about 200 meters from the end of 14, skidded over a busy road (luckily no one there at the time), through the perimeter fence of 14, and ended up badly damaged about 200 meters past the end of 14.
Pilot stepped out of the wreckage: unhurt.
Reason for the crash was probably a gust of wind which took the speed below the minimum control speed air (Vmca). Unfortunately, I do not think the accident report is available in English."


We retreated to our hotel in town and did a reconnaissance of the main shopping street, which offers ample supply of restaurants and pubs.

The next day we headed east and this time my target was a little more ambitious: somewhere near Skogar the remains of a Douglas C-117D (USN 17171) languishes on a volcanic beach...

 

C-117D at Solheimasondur
Douglas C-117D (USN 17171)

During some preliminary research, I had received directions of its approximate location (also referred to as Solheimasondur, meaning the sands of Solheimar; thanks Orri!), but on my own I was unable to find it.
I persevered, being sent from one person to another and finally found someone who was willing and able to be chartered to drive us in his Nissan Patrol 4x4 to the beach.
The places I take my wife to!

C-117D 17171
This plane wreck has made quite a name for itself over the years after my visit; with modern techno & GPS coördinates, anybody can find it. I've seen it in a Dutch tv program and in 2017 I came across this wedding photoshoot:


Benedict, our driver and guide, told me some interesting details. The reason of this crash was it ran out of fuel after getting lost in foul weather; except after the crashlanding on the beach the crew found that they merely had switched from the wrong fueltank… A local farmer was found to solve this and Benedict’s father-in-law drove on free gas for over a year!
Benedict can be contacted through his website: www.snow.is
Soon after the crash the C-117D was towed to higher ground and a recovery operation was started. Sofar the crash had been without serious injuries, but Benedict told about a helicopter involved in the recovery, which crashed. And this time loss of life was to be mourned. This quickly ended the salvage attempts.
My records show the date of the emergency landing as 24Nov73.
Titles 'United States Navy' can still be read and the obvious bullet holes have nothing to do with the emergency landing!

Not much remains, but plenty fascinating in this landscape!
Not much remains, but plenty fascinating in this landscape!

Not much remains

bullet holes
Shot up and trampled upon

One hundred Douglas C-47s were converted for the US Navy to Douglas R4D-8; those that survived were redesignated C-117D in 1962.
History of C-117D c/n 43309: rebuild from c/n 12554, tailnumber 17171 US Navy designated R4D-8 (31Jan52), operated by VR-31 F&M Norfolk (09Feb52), H&MS-25 El Toro (09Jul54), H&HS MAW-1 Pohang (16Aug54), MARS-17 Iwakuni,Japan (01Jul56), H&MS-32 Cherry Point (25Oct57), ForAvaHQGru Cherry Point (17Feb58), H&MS-26 New River Jacksonville (30Jun58), MWSG-27 Cherry Point (14oct58), H&MS-11 Atsugi,Japan (18Oct60), redesignated C-117D 18Sep62, MARS-17 Iwakuni,Japan (25Sep63), Norls (31Aug66), Mildenhall,UK (06Mar67), Sigonella,Italy (09Nov72), DAO Monrovia (19Jan73), and Keflavik (26May73). [Not listed Dec73].

Its final load: volcanic sand
The wind has blown the lava sand in doors, fixing it on the ground even more. Nature takes care of these things.


Floorboards gone, carefully making my way forward

Room with a view

Evidence of target practise

The aircraft sits on private property and the owner allowed someone, about 15-odd years ago, to salvage the tail section. this was used to complete a DC-3 in use as a summerhouse.
As soon as I heard this, I prodded for more information, but only learned the approximate location: Höfn. And the heart-sinking remark: "but that was many years ago..."
Note the sea in the background; after its landing on the beach it was dragged to higher ground.

You can find it here: 63°27'34.3"N 19°21'52.6"W, it´s between Skógar and Vík í Mýrdal.

On the beach...

Skogar DC-3 on advert
Skogar's DC-3 on advert
Skogar DC-3 on advert
Noticed this advert in a dismal cafetaria in Akureyri: the Skogar DC-3 in yet another career!

C-117D cn43309

This image, showing grafitti added on it, was published on Facebook (june 2015) without credit to
the photographer or source. In my opinion grafitti is no worse than shooting holes in it, just more obvious.

The Iceland Monitor published on 15Mar2016: Access to Sólheimasandur US Navy plane wreck barred:
"The landowners had marked out a clear path to the wreckage to deter people from going off-road into the sand but this has not been respected. Due to this inconsiderate treatment by tourists, landowners have decided to close the path leading to the famous wreckage of a Douglas Dakota DC-3 aircraft
which crashed in the black sands of Sólheimasandur in South Iceland in 1973." LINK

 

 

There remains a lot of attention, and discussion, on the C-117 wreck on Sólheimasandur, Iceland. When I visited the location it was virtually unknown and I had to request the help and transport of a guide to get me there. These days there seems so many people visiting, some with little respect and local landowners put a fence around it.
Þórir Kjartansson posted a photo on 'Iceland, The Photographer's Paradise' (01Apr2016) to show how it looked soon after it ditched on the beach.

C-117 on Sólheimasandur beach

Eliot Stein wrote quite a story on War is Boring (published may 2016)

And here is one I picked from Facebook in June2016, without info on the photographer or exact date.
The Douglas C-117D has been used as a filmprop recently, something having to do with a Russian plane crash...?
C-117D used as film prop
Would welcome the details of the film it featured in! EMAIL (pls include url of this page)

 

After having enjoyed a restful night at the intimate and luxurious Skogar Hotel, we drove east in search of yet another DC-3.
The weather steadily improved and began to offer occasional sunshine.
Höfn is located over 350 kms from Reykjavik and I hesitated a little bit when at a gas station in Höfn I was told, while adding that ominous remark "if it is still there", I needed to go back a few kilometres. Also considering we still had a long drive ahead of us, to our final destination that day. Iceland is a big country!
But my hesitation lasted a mere second and violating the 90 km/hr speedlimit (not for the last time, I am ashamed to admit), I speeded to Hoffell.


Can be spotted from far away
And there it is!


17281 as summerhouse
I rang the doorbell but no one was at home; I went behind the house, calling out, but there was no reply. I left my card at the door and took some photos, and left. Pity no one was at home, would have loved to hear the story.

Amidst finest scenery

In close up

Tailsection, part of 17171

Overlooking the surrounding area

Close up of the extension

Indeed: Douglas Dakota

281

Clearly a C-117D tail

 

One more look I left my card at the door, seeing no one was home. Hopefully the owner will contact me for more details.
The aircraft only carries '281' on the nose, on the left side. As well as the 'Douglas Dakota'-titles. The left horizontal stabiliser seems too large to be of a DC-3 and the nose seems to have been extensively repaired.
Here is its history:
Douglas R4D-8 c/n 43359 was modified from DC-3/C-47 c/n 25945 and as 17281 delivered to the US Navy (type designation R4D-8) on 03Oct52. To name some units it flew with: 11 ND Lit.Pk (08Oct52), 1 ND Quonset Point (18Aug53), H&MS-25 El Toro (18Apr55), H&MS-12 Pohang (13Jun55), Iwakuni (28Feb57), NABTC Pensacola (18Apr58), NAATC Corpus Christi (30Jun59), NAATC Kingsville (08Apr60), ComNavConAd Colorado Spr (29Nov60), 1 ND Quonset Point (06Apr61), redesignated C-117D on 18Sep62, Lit.Pk (11May63), NAS Miramar (28Feb65), H&MS-31 Beaufort (26Dec67), Norfolk (17Jun71), Quonset Point (03Dec71), Keflavik (08Jun72).

Bob Boscarelli wrote me in June 2010:
"I was a member of the flight crew, at MCAS Beaufort from 1967-1970, of this plane!
I've searched for years to find out the final fate of the plane; I flew in the plane from Beaufort to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington,DC.
Also to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
I remember when the plane broke down when I was on Saint Thomas, and we had to replace an oil pump in one of the engines. I also flew in it several times to Yuma,AZ where we deployed for training for a month at a time. While we were there we used to drop three foot flares over targets at night while the Phantom F-4J’s dropped bombs and rockets at the target! That was quite a site.
Again, thanks for posting the pictures so I could finally learn what happened to the plane I knew as Echo Xray 281. "

Peter Bakker wrote me in July 2007:
"I am a regular visitor to your website and saw your pages about your visit to Iceland and especially the DC3 summer cottage.
We have been to Iceland in 2002 and while we were there I bought a magazine which covers a story about how this DC3 cottage came to be! I’ve attached the article and the cover of the magazine to this e-mail. Unfortunately it is in Icelandic but it has a lot of pictures in it so the general idea should be quite clear."
Thanks Peter!

We had departed Reykjavik in northerly direction and after visiting the famous 'Geysir' went back to the coast, driving in easterly direction.
We continued to be fascinated by the rapid changes in landscape here: we had been impressed by "The Great Geysir", glaciers of the Vatnajökull, the ice lagoon at Jökulsárlön, winding roads along the curving coastline and some adventurous driving on unpaved mountain roads when we headed inland for Egilsstadir.
After a night in Egilsstadir, we headed for Akureyri, the Capital of the North.
It is a fantastic experience to drive through this country.

Akureyri has an air museum at the airport: Icelandic Aviation Museum. One cannot miss it, with a forward fuselage section of DC-6A (TF-IUB, c/n 44907) prominently on display outside.
It found that the museum had erected a brand new building, though the old, much smaller museum is still in use. In fact, while most aircraft have been parked inside the new building, the builders were still very much at work.
The smaller facility has a lot of information on display on aviation history in Iceland. While most information is in Icelandic, seperate sheets provide information in English.

DC-6A (TF-IUB, c/n 44907)
DC-6A (TF-IUB, c/n 44907)

TF-IUB is a Douglas DC-6A, c/n 44907 and linenumber 676.
Asgeir Sigurdsson wrote:"this DC-6A was built for United Airlines in 1956 as N37592; later it was operated by Fred Olsens Flyselskap A/S, as LN-FOL (1966-1974) and Iscargo (as TF-IUB, 1974-1980).
Photo shows it with the old Flugfélag Íslands markings. The other side carries the old Loftleidir markings."
The nosegeardoor has faded '6092' lettering: a geardoor from another aircraft?
Flugfélag Íslands still exists: www.flugfelag.is

faded 6092 markings
Sigurjón Valsson has this on the geardoors:
"Regarding the lettering on the nosegear doors on the DC-6: these are the doors that were attached to the
aircraft when retired from Iscargo and the Icelandic Historical Aviation Society saved the nose. 
If they do not belong to the aircraft, it would have been changed during its time with Iscargo."

Other side: different c/s
More on Airliners.net

 

Gliders and other attributesGliders seem to play a considerable role in Icelandic aviation, so a few are on display here in the museum.
TF-KFX ZS-GUG/N6062M (the white one) seems a long way from home. Peter Layne of New Zealand wrote: "The glider ZS-GUG is a Grob 103 TWIN III-SL, with a previous identity of HB-2242, which explains its Swiss flag on the tail. According to http://pascal.brugier.free.fr/registre/txt/hb-aaa.txt it was previously D-KHEG(2), c/n 35011."
The green glider on the wall only had 'SBA' markings and TF-KFX is a Denney Kitfox according to the Icelandic Aircraft Register
I have no details of the airframe in restoration.
Many familiar types adorn the walls in picture frames; below is the Noorduyn Norseman TF-ISV framed on the wall of which Joe Baugher's website offers the following: 43-5136 (c/n 127), by 1954 was on Iceland civil registry as TF-ISV "Dynfaxi" of Flugfelag Islands H. F.
More modern history is represented y display on Air Atlanta and its founder, Arngrímur Jóhannsson.
Our host was most willing to show the various items on display. Unfortunately, I saw no sign of any books detailing aviation history in Iceland .
Glider
Norseman TF-ISV framed
Tribut eto Air Atlanta
History of Air Atlanta
Arngrimur johannsson, founder Air Atlanta
Many artifacts on display
host and guide
Rich history of propliners
Start of Icelandair
History of Icelandair
Fokker F27 well remembered

TF-JFA
Beech C-45 TF-JFA (c/n AF-602)

On June 3rd, the 70th anniversary of Icelandair was celebrated. The company's history, from its founding here at Akureyri as Flugfélag Akureyrar, is well documented in this museum.
Maybe Icelandair will celebrate this anniversary with a book, detailing its history?
Much can be learned from the museum's website: www.flugsafn.is
As one can see on this photo of Beech C-45 TF-JFA (c/n AF-602), building materials are still very much present.
Asgeir Sigurdsson writes the following on Airliners.net: "This old bird was manufactured in 1953 and registered in Iceland on 09Sep1968. Previous registrations are 52-10672, TF-JME and TF-JMP. It got the current registration in 1998."
More photos of TF-JFA on Airliners.net and I would welcome more information about its history.

TF-JFA
TF-JFA
TF-JFA
C-45 TF-JFA
TF-CUB
TF-LBP
Tf-AST?
TF-LOW
TF-SUX
TF-KEA
Hisotry on display
Iceland's aviation history
TF-AZX
TF-AZX
TF-AZX
At first I was unable to find more information about this stunning Stinson Reliant sjóflugvél TF-AZX, such as its construction number (c/n) and its part in Icelandic aviation history.
But Sigurgeir Orri Sigurgeirsson came to the rescue and provided the following:
The Stinson Reliant is the same type of plane that was the first plane of Loftleidir Icelandic and came to Iceland in december of 1943.
The founders of Loftleidir, Alfred Elíasson, Sigurdur Ólafsson and Kristinn Olsen bought the plane in Canada and started Loftleidir with that single plane in 1944. The first Stinson had the same registration marks: TF-AZX, but it crash landed on the lake Miklavatn in late summer of 1944.
It was a sjoflugvel, i.e. it was able to land on water, a seaplane. They intended to have the plane fixed and mounted it on a truck heading for Reykjavik, but on the way it was swept off the truck by a low hanging powerline! So the plane was totally destroyed...
Here are some photos of that plane; see below. On one picture you can see, next to the lady (on the right), at least two of the founders of Loftleidir: Kristinn Olsen and Alfred Eláasson. The third, Sigurdur Ólafsson, might be beside them, but I am not sure. This photo was taken when the first flight with passengers, a commercial flight, was about to take off from Reykjavik to Isafjordur in West Iceland, 1944.
The other photo is most likely taken at Miklavatn in North Iceland. They operated flights from there, searching for herring.
The third photo is taken in front of the Stinson, in the early 1990s most likely. From left to right is Dagfinnur Stefánsson, pilot and boardmember of Loftleidir, Kristinn Olsen, pilot and founder of Loftleidir, and Johannes Markusson, Loftleidir pilot.
TF-AZX on floats   Tf-AZX on the water   Loftleidir history...

Sigurjón Valsson provided interesting information on this Stinson too:
"Regarding the caption on your website about the Stinson SR8CM Reliant residing at Akureyri, I think it is a bit misleading. In that piece, it can be understood to mean that this is the ACTUAL TF-AZX. That is not correct.
The actual AZX was destroyed when it fell off the back of a truck in the summer of 1944! Nothing from that aircraft survives today.
Loftleiðir had another Reliant, TF-BZX (ex-NC-16178, TF-BZX, TF-RVB, TF-RKB), that one soldiered on until 1967 when it was destroyed, again nothing survives.
The aircraft at Akureyri was brought to Iceland in 1984 (IIRC) by Flugleiðir (Icelandair) to commemorate the 40th annaversary of Loftleiðir. It was registered as NC-16123, N-16123 while in the US (unreliable information) prior to arriving here. It had been restored to airworthy condition while in the US, but not flown. In 1993 this aircraft was registered to Flugleiðir on the CAA database, but has since been removed. We (the Icelandic Historical Aviation Society) were the caretakers of this airframe and it was fully airworthy at the time, the only thing needed was new control cables and new wing attach bolts.
For your info: the colour of the aircraft is the same it came with from the US and is not correct for the actual AZX. AZX was overal 'international orange' with black registration letters. The overal 'international orange' colour was a demand from the Allied forces occupying Iceland during WW2 for the continuance of domestic flights during the war. 'International orange' seems to have been open to interpretation, as I know of an artifact painted that colour (from a mix from Flugfélag Íslands about 1944) and it is dim red..."


Here are photos taken at the museum in 2005, by David Alfred Eliasson, published on MyAviation
TF-JMH is a Piper PA-23-150 Apache and airworthy.
Beech D50B Twin Bonanza
TF-JMH Piper Apache
TF-JMH

TF-NPK
DC-3 TF-NPK

I am sorry to say I somewhat lacked the patience to read things in detail inside the museum, as I was anticipating the arrival of Mr. Hallgrímur Jónsson. Mr Jónsson is a recently retired Icelandair check captain / instructor (as well as Icelandair's Chief Pilot) and now works for the Icelandic CAA.
And he also flies TF-NPK!
In fact he showed me his Icelandair calling card, which stated instructor/ examiner for aircraft types: 767 / 757 / 737 / DC-3. Quite unique I would say.
He had business to do at the airport, taking an exam in Piper PA-23 Apache TF-JMH, but delayed this while he showed me TF-NPK. I felt being treated like a VIP !

TF-NPK at Akureyri
TF-NPK
Icelandair 70th anniversary
Climbing on board
While this DC-3 is flown by the Icelandic DC-3 Friends, it is still owned by the Government of Iceland. It remains in the configuration of its previous occupation: sprayer of fertilizer for the Soil Conservation Service, fighting the rampant surface erosion on this island. That is why we had to climb a steep ladder and enter the forward section by the small cockpitdoor, a first for me.
forward compartment
Cockpit TF-NPK
Seating arrangement
Hallgrímur told me many interesting facts of historic interest; such as the fact that in its entire career it always remained in Icelandic ownership. It was delivered to US Air Force in Keflavík as VIP-transport during WW2, in 1946 it was bought by Flugfélag Íslands (one of two company Icelandair is formed of) and in 1973 Flugfélag Íslands gave the plane to the Soil Conservation Service, which changed the airliner to a sprayer plane.
Hallgrímur also noted that during the 1960s he had flown this very DC-3 (TF-ISH) on the Reykjavik – Glasgow route, something he repeated 40-odd years later when in 2005 he was part of the crew participating with TF-NPK in the Flying Legends Air Show at Duxford, which was followed by a Glasgow – Copenhagen - Torp (Sandefjord Norge) - Stavanger - Reykjavik flight, commemorating the 60th anniversary of overseas flights by Icelandair; the very first flight had been operated by a PBY Canso.
Cockpit
Cabin: empty
Sprayer installation underneath

The history of c/n 13861 in finer detail:
Delivered as 43-30710 on 01oct43 to the USAAF, at Presque Isle (07Oct43), Northeast [Airways?] 14Dec43, Air Transport Command Atlantic, as TF-ISH to Flugfélag Íslands (named "Gljafaxi") bought on 10Aug46, reregistered TF-NPK for Landgraedsla Rikisins (renamed "Páll Sveinson") May73 to 2001, operated by Icelandic DC3 Friends Association (registered 17Jun05), flying in Icelandair colourscheme since July 2005.
Source: DC-3, the First Seventy Years, published by Air-Britain, 2006.

Pétur P. Johnson wrote me in Jan.2008:
"I don't know why Air-Britain changed the bio for 13861 between the 1984 and 2006 DC-3 book editions, because 43-30710 served its entire military carreer in Iceland! It was recorded as being here already at the beginning of November 1943 and was used as a local transport for the USAAF based at Keflavik, Meeks Field.
The aircraft was given the name "Gljafaxi" in 1948. At that time all company aircraft were given names of Icelandic horses and the company's winged horse logo was introduced.
While in service with Icelandair, TF-ISH flew domestic services in Iceland as well as international services to the Faroe Islands and from there to Glasgow. It was also used for flights to Greenland and flown on skis to enable landing near small communities on Greenland's east coast.
Icelandair donated TF-ISH to Landgraedsla ríkisins (The State Soil Conservation Service) in 1972. It was converted for top-dressing based on the New Zealand model and re-registered."
TF-NPK is still registered in the ownership of Landgraedsla ríkisins, however the operator is officially the Icelandic DC-3 Friends.

Snowy mountains The history of Icelandair can be read on Wikipedia or on the Icelandair website.

I felt honoured to be on board this fine looking vintage Douglas DC-3 in the year that Icelandair was celebrating its 70th anniversary since its founding as Flugfélag Akureyrar, here in that very same town...

Niel Helmø Larsen wrote: "Did you know the five Nordic countries operate six DC-3's: one in each country and two in Sweden?
All on a voluntary basis and supported by nearly 10.0000 members! In Denmark we have passed the 3.000 mark."

Vidir Gislason added the following: "Tony Jonsson captained this very DC-3, as TF-ISH, for hundreds of hours in his 20 years career for Flugfelag Islands..."
[ Mr Jonsson wrote a very entertaining book about his rich & eventful career, recommended reading! -Webmaster]
Pétur P. Johnson added in Jan.2008:
"Tony Jonsson,or Thorsteinn Elton Jónsson, was Iceland's only World War Two fighter pilot and Ace. He served with the RAF from June, 1940 to December, 1946. He then joined Flugfélag Íslands (Iceland Airways) and flew with them until 1967, with the exception of 3 ½ years that he flew for Sabena in the Belgian Congo. After leaving Icelandair he flew for Transavia Holland and later for Flughjálp/Aid-By-Air in the Biafra relief flights. He later became Cargolux's first pilot and flew for them until retirement at 65."

TF-NPK flying... video on YouTube
Pilot flying is Tómas Dagur Helgason, at Tungubakkar, a small strip north of Reykjavík.

Kristof Vandermoere sent me photos of TF-NPK, taken on 19Jul08 at the Hella Fly In

UN-11012
Antonov An-12 UN-11012

June 7th, before leaving Akureyri for Reykjavik completing the circle drive by Highway 1 through western parts of Iceland, I had a quick look at the airport and found to my big surprise an Antonov An-12 unloading some cargo, which later turned out to be a glider (registered D-2937, reregistered TF-ABS).
UN-11012 operates in an inconspicuous all white livery, devoid of any titles or markings.
My request to access the ramp was met with the proverbial Icelandic friendliness: after adorning a safety vest I was escorted onto the ramp and allowed to photograph the unloading of a glider. It seems these An-12s started coming here this summer, operating a frequency of 3 times a week, often carrying general cargo inbound and fish outbound. But a series of flights were also undertaken from here to Greenland, hauling mining equipment. There seems to be no restriction on the global use of these An-12 workhorses.

UN-11012
UN-11012
My wife had witnessed my antics on the ramp, but her keen eye had also noticed one of the crewmembers wearing an Air Sofia vest. Would that have anything to do with the (temporary?) ban of Bulgarian An-12s in the EU, I wonder? On the ATDB online database I found UN-11012 had until recently been registered as LZ-SFR for Air Sofia, current operator being ATMA. In February 2007 Bulgaria had banned Air Sofia, Heli Air, Vega Airlines, Scorpion Air and Bright Aviation from operating to EU countries, to prevent all Bulgarian airlines being blacklisted by the EU.
Strange how politics can prevent an EU-registered company from operating aircraft within the EU, while a Kazakhstan-registered aircraft seems to have no such restrictions... Still, for me it was a pleasant surprise to see one here .
UN-11012 at Akureyri A look at the history of UN-11012 c/n 401801 as I have it:
Antonov An-12TB, previous identities CCCP-11345 Aeroflot, to Yakutia Airlines as RA-11345 (operated by Yakutsk AE in Aeroflot Polar colourscheme, no titles), to Avial Aviation Company as RA-11345, temporarily registered EK-12001 for Air Armenia, returned to Avial as RA-11345 on 09Jun04, to Air Sofia (no titles) as LZ-SFR in Dec04, to (2007?) for ATMA registered as UN-11012 (again no titles).

TF-ISB
TF-ISB revisited!

On our final day we awoke again to blue skies and a decision was easily made to have another look at the stored DC-3 at Reykjavik. With such fine weather I decided to attempt gaining ramp access and indeed was again met by much helpful friendliness. Soon I was being driven to the centre of the airport and able to photograph TF-ISB up close. This time I noticed the fuselage was desecrated by graffiti even!
I received confirmation that the fuselage was stored outside because of renovations in hangar 3.
The mucky appearance of TF-ISB is caused by a substance sprayed on to protect the aircraft from corrosion.
TF-ISB is in fact the only aircraft owned by the Icelandic DC-3 Friends.

TF-ISB tailsection
TF-ISB from six o'clock

TF-ISB: securely tied down
-

The history of TF-ISB c/n 9860:
USAAF serial 42-23998, transferred as FD939 to the RAF and operated by 512 Sq UK (01Aug43), 511 Sq (26Jan44), 1336 (TS)CU (16Aug45) and 1382 (T)CU (19Dec45).
It was registered as G-AIBA for BOAC (being leased), in June 1946. It was registered FD939 again and operated by RAF 22 MU (18Oct46).
It was bought by Scottish Aviation Ltd on 04Feb47 and registered G-AKSM for Sivewright Airways (named "Bartonia") on 04Feb48.
As TF-ISB it went to Flugfélag Íslands (Icelandair) on 07Mar51 and named "Gunnfaxi". It went to Flugfélag Nordurlands SF on a lease during1975.
At some date it was registered to Landgraedsla Rikisins of Gunnarsholt.
It was found stored at Reykjavik during Jan79 - Jun81 and at some point registered to the Iceland Aviation Historical Society (see below), stored at Reykjavik with wings and engines removed.
Hopefully it will be rebuild one day and preserved in a better state than this.
Reykjavik, October 14, 2007. DC-3 / C-47 TF-ISB was loaded onto a flatbet trailer which brought it to Keflavik, where it was put a hangar for the winter. Courtesy Baldur Sveinsson

Pétur P. Johnson wrote me the following on TF-ISB in Jan.2008:
"TF-ISB was sold 05Mar1975 by Icelandair to Landgraedsla ríkisins. It was later leased for the summer 1975 season the Flugfélag Nordurlands, Akureyri. FN operated TF-ISB for feeder services from Akureyri to points in Northeast Iceland in cooperation with Icelandair. The DC-3 was subsequently replaced by the Twin Otter on these routes in 1976. It was stored at Reykjavík Airport from 1976 to 2007 and is now stored at Keflavik Airport. The Icelandic Aviation Historical Society has NEVER been an owner, registered or non-registered, of this aircraft."

 

Here is a link to my Travelogue of this trip, enjoy the unique scenery!

Sources:
DC-3 the First Seventy Years (Air-Britain 2006), Survivors (R.Blewitt, 2007), Aero Transport Data Bank www.aerotransport.org and personal files.

I am grateful for the kind help I received, during my preparations, from Svanbörn Sigurdsson, Sigurgeir Orri Sigurgeirsson, Sigurdur Benediktsson, Eggert Norddahl (Icelandic Aviation Historical Society), Niels Helmø Larsen and Ragnar J. Ragnarson.
I am especially indebted, for their cooperation and hospitality, to Tómas Dagur Helgason (chairman for the Icelandic DC-3 Friends), Hallgrímur Jónsson, staff at Akureyri Air Museum and Reykjavik Airport.

 


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