Unidentified Douglas Propliner at Cleveland,OH (KCLE)



Which one is this? Stephen Cos sent me this in Aug.2008, with the question:
"Here is a picture of a nose section sitting on a trailer in Cleveland,Ohio...
I was wondering if you have any knowledge of this nose? I do have a picture of the company where it was sitting but would need to find it (if it would help).
The facility was a transport company located very close to KCLE airport."
Steve Cos
Newmarket, Ontario


Antti Hyvärinen responded with the following:
"I remember seeing that DC-4 nose for sale on Ebay, maybe about 1-2 years ago. Attached are a couple of pics I saved. I seem to remember the tail was sold separately. It might have been somewhere in Arizona..."

Ralph Pettersen (of ConnieSurvivors.com) reacted promptly with 2 photos and comment;
"I believe I photographed this same aircraft at the small general aviation airport in Los Banos, CA in September 1990.."

Mystery DC-4 on transport
Mystery DC-4


Paul van der Horst kindly offered the following results of research on this (03Jul2014):

This DC-4 I think is : ex/ N8588 (c/n 18338), which was stored in derelict condition (a long time ago) at Oakland.

Have a look at this thread:
It offers quite a detailed report by the museum curator, after the aircraft had been removed.
A few quotes from that thread:
"... the DC-4 fuselage in Cleveland is a former AAF C-54, 43-17138, c/n 18338.
Went to Chicago & Southern Airlines (C&S) in 1945 as N88708. Bought by Aerovias Brasil in 1950 and registered as PP-AXQ. Aerovias was taken over by REAL in 1954, and the aircraft was subsequently sold to VASP and operated as PP-LEY. Baugher's list shows it registered as N8588 in 1970 for National Airmotive Division of Republic Corp of San Leandro, CA. Bought by a private owner in the early 1970's and converted to a restaurant in Rio Vista, CA. Later relocated to Travis AFB. Trail goes cold at that point."

from Phil Pezzaglia, who is curator of the Rio Vista Museum in Rio Vista, CA.:
"Off the top of my head I remember that it was that the name of the restaurant was 'Flying Down to Rio', so named after the 1933 Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers movie of the same name.
It was located on St. Francis Way, across from the Rio Vista Municipal Airport. The Poppy Club Clubhouse (a local Men's Club) occupies the plot of land where the plane used to sit.
The plane was moved there, in the late 1970's, specifically for the sole purpose of being a restaurant. They sold sandwiches, which were prepared off site. The business was short lived and was closed by the early 1980's.
However the plane itself remained for several years.
I believe that it when to the Travis Air Museum, in Suisun. There is still a gentleman living in Rio Vista, that was involved with moving the plane from town.
I remember that the plane had been in South America for a time, and half of the controls labels, in the cockpit, were in English and the other half in, I believe, Spanish.
Inside the every other set of seats were turned, thus creating booth style seating.
and in another message Phil wrote:
"The plane was a C-54 that had been taken over by the government during World War II, and had been used by FDR, as one of his personal family and self movers around the country.
After the war the plane was returned to an airline in the South. It was sold to a Brazilian Airline and moved to Rio, Brazil. It was in service there for many years, eventually being decomissioned, in that country.
A gentleman named 'Paul' found it there and flew it to Oakland, CA. at which time it was grounded as 'not airworthy'. Paul went to the Rio Vista Airport Commission and pitched his idea of a airplane restaurant. The city agreed and the plane was moved to Rio Vista, CA. and located just off St. Francis Way, across from the Rio Vista Municipal Airport.  The name was "Flying Down to Rio."  It served soup, sandwiches, beer, and wine.
Paul became sick and sold the plane / business to 'Dave', a Rio Vista businessman.  It operated for about two years. It was featured on the "Bay Area Highlights" TV show, with Jerry Graham 2 or 3 times.
A representative from the museumn at Travis contacted Dave, and convinced him to donate it to their museum., because of its historical background. It was moved by barge from Rio Vista to the back sloughs of Grizzly Isle, and then trucked to Travis and restored."
Phil Pezzaglia
Curator, Rio Vista Museum & President, Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce"

"I actually flew into Rio Vista in 1981 or 82 in a Cessna 150 and had lunch at the DC-4 restaurant. And that's all can remember about it!"

"This looks like the Douglas that I saw in Hatch, NM about 8-9 years ago. There was another trailer with the rear half of the fuselage there as well. I recall seeing Spanish lettering on parts of the airframe.."

'Jeff' (Flickr alias is SixbyFire) has a very nice series of this DC-4 on his Flickr.com pages:
DC-4 stored at Cleveland, Ohio
I quote the text found with these images:

"This DC-4 fuselage has been sitting off of Brookpark Road on the Brook Park/Cleveland border for many years now. It's somewhat permanantely mounted to a trailer and has been parked in at least two different parking lots owned by a trucking company.
When this DC-4 fuselage was sitting in its previous location it could easily be seen from both I-480 and Brookpark Road, but now can only been seen from Brookpark Road at its current location, where it is seen here in these photos.

I believe that this fuselage is actually located in the city of Brook Park now, however, the land used to belong to the city of Cleveland, but due to a land swap for airport expansion several years ago, Brook Park took over a small stretch of land between Brookpark Road and I-480 from the city of Cleveland.

According to some postings on Airliners.net back in 2006, this fuselage was identified as a former DC-4 owned by Viacao Aerea Sao Paulo, aka VASP, which was the state airline of Brazil, however, my research shows that they went bankrupt and haven't been flying any aircraft for many years now.

Add'l info: This may have originally been Army Air Force C-54, 43-17138, before being used by many other airlines, including VASP at one point, and may have ended its life as part of a restaurant in Rio Vista, CA."
./end quote

Paul van der Horst



Comments, sightings and/or photos would be welcomed, to help in establishing the identity of these planes.



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Created: 22-Sep-08 / Updated 03-Jul-14