Photos © Ruud Leeuw

USA Southwest 2008

Propliners & Para planes at
Lake Elsinore,CA


On 14May08 we started our day with a quick look at the Lake Elsinore airstrip, apparently named 'Skylark Field'...
The main entrance (to a para club) seemed obscured and I think I went through someone's yard to get onto the airstrip... I asked permission to photograph the 3 DC-3's that reside here and found no objection.
The para club had 2 Twin Otters to their disposal while these Gooney Birds languish behind a fence. No one rushed to stop me when I climbed over the fence to have a closer look.

N20TW
Faded says N20TW too
N20TW


Meet N20TW, Douglas DC-3-G202A, c/n 2236.
It has been reported stored here at Lake Elsinore a number of times, but looks may be deceiving.. It was seen flying in 2005 for the Air Force Test Pilot School, with proficiency training in unfamiliar airplane types... (see Airliners.net).
N20TW has been registered to Paralift Inc (of Perris,CA) since 10Feb88 and looks in splendid condition.

N26MA
DC-3-G102A N26MA c/n 2169 (registered Paralift Inc since 27May87!).

A word on its history:
A pre-WW2 model, NC21781 was delivered to Penn Central on 29Nov39, After the war it went to Capital ("Detroit") on 21Apr48 and much later United bought it on 01Jun61.
Remmert Werner became owner on 25Jun62 and it was reregistered as N180W for Beldex Corp during June 1963. Next it became N180WK for Wayne Knitting Mills (!) of Humbold,TN. No date.
Jack Adams Aircraft Sales (Walls,MS) was next in 1966 and it moved on to Palm Beach Yacht Sales (Florida) that same year.
De Soto Airpark Inc. of Memphis,TN purchased it in Jan68 and Zephyr Aviation Inc. of Zephyr Hills,FL was next in Oct69.
It remained in the area when bought by E.J. Gasper Jr of Gulf Breeze,FL in Jan72 and in 1973 it went to Charter National Bank, Pensacola,FL
Now it gets interesting: World Gospel Crusade Inc, of Ethiopia became the next owner in Feb.74 and on 24May77 it was registered to Mercy Air Lift (24May77), which had it reregistered to N26MA in 1977.
Parachutes Inc, Orange,MA had it registered to its name on 23Apr79 and B.E. Conatser of Perris,CA had it registered to his name, on 04Nov80.
Paralift Inc. of Troy,MI had it repossessed on 30Apr87 and this DC-3 was susequently operated by Perris Valley Para Center (with Wright R-1820 engines).
During Oct97 it was reported as stored here at Lake Elsinore. [Source: DC-3 The First Seventy Years, by Air-Britain, 2006].
Fortunately, N26MA has been active quite recently!!

N26MA
N26MA has been involved in the shooting of the 2008 James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, flown by pilot Skip Evans of Paralift.

And indeed www.paralift.net (website no longer active, it seems) advertised its aircraft for film production, with pilot/stunt pilot Skip Evans at the controls!

James Bond - DC-3
Bond (Daniel Craig) and Camille arrive at an airfield in Bolivia. 'Quantum Of Solace' (2008 United Artists)

It was interesting to see this DC-3 appear in the 2008 James Bond movie 'Quantum of Solace". Skip Evans is the owner and he flew this plane for the movie.
However, it wasn't the only DC-3 used in this movie!
On the Classic-Propliner forum the following information was posted:
"From a pilot pal of mine at Opa Locka,FL DC-3 N12BA was used."
"That is Frank Moss' DC-3. Frank told me about the trip when I spoke with him by phone a few weeks ago."
"Mr. Evans' DC-3 was used for location filming in Baja California. Frank's was used for location filming in Panama and Chile. Frank's trip occurred in March of this year."
Note: N12BA participated in 2015 in a reconstruction of WWII flights going the Alaska - Siberia route. The expedition started from the airport Great Falls in Montana on July 19th. It landed in Canada, Alaska and then flew on to Magadan and across Russia to Moscow for participation of air show MAKS-2015.
After the flight was completed and its display on the air show, the aircraft was transferred to the 'Museum of the Armed Forces of Russia'.

N12BA on Airliners.net

James Bond DC-3
James Bond DC-3
James Bond DC-3



No more starring roles for N715F, perhaps bit parts...
Its former registration N71R gave away its identification. DC-3-DST c/n 4129 N715F was bought in 1996 after many years of storage at Oklahoma-City by D.G. "Skip" Evans, restored, and flown to its homebase at the time at Perris Valley,CA. It has Wright C9GC&D engines and was advertised for sale at Barnstormers.com asking $ 151.500,- with a total of 33.800 airframe hours.

UPDATE Dec.2009:
N715F was still at Lake Elsinore/Skylark Field in Aug09, minus tail (tailfin, as above?),
while N20TW and N26MA moved to Hemet.

N71R

Grafitti on N71R

In March 2009 I received an update from Andrew 'Andy' Martin:
"..the active DC-3s at Lake Elsinore have now moved over to Hemet Ryan. On 22mar09, N20TW and N26MA were at Hemet, along with Albatross N85303 and two Beech 18s."

 

N926MA DHC-6

deHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter N926MA c/n 133,
registered to Speed Star Express LLC of L.Elsinore since 31Jan97.

N923MA
deHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter N923MA c/n 168,
registered for Speed Star Express LLC, Las Vegas,NV on 03Jan02.

The Road Goes On... back to US Southwest 2008

Reactions / comments welcomed.