C-119 N801W: a rogue plane ??!


N801W Douglas sent me this C-119 photo, asking me to help with the identification.
The tailnumber N801W has been painted on, rather crudely. The photo was made by Steve Robbins at Eloy,AZ on 12Apr1980.
I hope someone can help me on its construction number and what happened to it.
close up

I browsed to 1979 - 1983 (Vol. 1-18) of Propliner magazine, but found no images of this N801W.
There is no reference of N801W (afaik) in Alwyn T.Lloyd's book about the C-82 packet & C-119 Flying Boxcar; but then the amount of info on the civilian careers of these aircraft is limited.

Bob Reid offered the following theory (proven false but interesting nevertheless):
"I am wondering if the date on the photo may be incorrect? N801W has always been registered to a Beech 65!
The aircraft in the accident as shown below was a drug runner and I recall this accident well, as I was working for the State of Arizona as an investigator..
The C-119  exploded on impact, as it was filled with 55gal barrels full of avgas. There wasn't much left.
The  N number on the photo taken by Steve may have been fictitious?
NTSB Identification: LAX79FA059 - 14 CFR Part 91 General Aviation
Event occurred Sunday, July 08, 1979 in CASA GRANDE, AZ
Aircraft: FAIRCHILD C-119L, registration: N1040E
Departure point: Chandler,AZ.
Type of accident: no.1 engine failure during flight cruise, emergency landing, made an intentional wheels up landing off airport in open field, fire broke out after impact.

Note: no mention of the operator. See also ASN report.
Fact remains that the date is earlier than the alleged date of photography and quoted tailnumber is different than the N801W roughly painted on.
Images of N1040E to compare? N1040E was also a Lockheed Learstar, see 1970 photo.


Suggestions, ideas, leads & links to solve the mystery would be appreciated !!



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Created: 16-Aug-08
Updated 20-Jun-2017