Douglas C-47 0-4657: true identity?


Henk Geerlings sent me this photo in Dec.2007
C-47 0-4657..?
Henk had trouble locating that serial 0-4657. Is it fake?
He had the following information to add: written on the back, with pencil, 43-34657 (but thought to be incorrect), photo was not taken by himself, o information on location, but convinced it wasn't a museum aircraft...


I checked the book by Air-Britain "DC-3 the First Seventy Years" but could not find a logical explanation.

Then Henk forwarded a suggestion put to him by Niko van Merkestein; the 1984 DC-3 edition of Air-Britain would offer c/n 16241/32989 with registration 44-76657 !

I checked the 2006 edition again and found for c/n 16241/32989 a closing remark of "USAAF serial quoted as 44-77657 believed in error." Confusion between this USAAF tailnumber and what is believed to be correct (the book now quotes 44-76657) may stem from the abbreviated use of that serial on the tail: 0-4657 (0 refers to older than 10 years, the first digit -4- would refer to the fiscal year, in this case 1944).
The history as described in the DC-3 book is extensive, but one thing I noticed is it served with a lot of units in Europe (arriving from service in the Middle East assigned to Wiesbaden,Germany in 1957 and also serving at Templehof (Berlin), Evreux (France), Brussels, Rhein-Main (1967). In 1968 it moved to Wheelus.

As one can read below, the photos stems from the period of service in the Middle East.

Reactions came in:

Paul Filmer wrote:
if you take a look at Joe Baugher's site
44-77657 is a C-46 -, though an individual history is not known.
While 44-76657 is a C-47 fits the bracket of 44-76525/76854 Douglas C-47B-30-DK Skytrain (c/n 32857/33186); the page states "76657 (c/n 16241/32989) converted to VC-47D", but nothing else.

'eLaRef' wrote:
Further to comments re the 4 digit number, my very well thumbed copy of USAF Serials 1946 to 1974, from Merseyside A.S. states the following.........
Between late 1955 and mid 1958 many, but not all, aircraft with five and six-figure fin serials had the presentation cut to four figures with the addition of '0' as necessary.
European based examples were :
0-3004 C-47A Blackbushe 6.9.56 (43-16004)
0-2598 C-54D Alconbury 2.6.57 (42-72598)
2030 F-86D Burtonwood 17.5.58 (52-10030)
In Europe the contraction method was almost invariably to use the last figure of the fiscal year and the last three of the individual aircraft serial.
This method was diverted from in the case of U.S. based aircraft, examples being :
0-8607 F-80B (45-8607)
0-7723 C-47 (41-7723)
0-8802 C-47B (43-48802) See photograph no. 56 on page 46.
The U.S. contraction method used solely the last four of the individual aircraft serial and gave no clue to the appropriate fiscal year. Both European and U.S. contraction methods gave rise to problems in correct identification of full serial numbers. For example, C-47 '0-3004' could be 43-16004, 43-48004 or 43-49004. It is only by linking 0-3004 with 316004 logged earlier in UK that the correct serial could be established with fair certainty.
So whilst I agree that it is probably 44-76657, that is only because I haven't found a 41/42/43 year C-47 ending in '4657' - And if it was Lybia, did that come under the US system, or the European??
The book also has small pics of the fins of C-47's above, 0-3004 & 0-8802.

Terry Murphy volunteered:
I logged "76657" at Blackbushe on 09 Sep 1959, and "0-76657" at Benina on 08 Jun 1969, then based at Wheelus.

And then Tom joined in with the ultimate answer:
This photograph of 0-4657 is one that I purchased from Brian Stainer in 1966 and it was taken at Dhahran in 1956, the Dakota behind the tail was a MEA aircraft.
In the same batch of photographs was 0-4656 also taken at Dhahran in 1956.
Both C-47s were operated by 7244ABG at Dhahran. The aircraft were c/n 32988 44-76656 and C/N 32989 44-76657 and the serials were painted on the fins as follows, they were both carried names on the nose 0-4656 "City of Dhahran", 0-4657 "City of Jeddah".
Tom Macfadyen
Air-Britain Specialist on Dakotas

Thanks guys !!


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