Bob Schultz looks back on his career:
from Gooney Bird to Privat Jets

Photos © T.R.Schultz

Bob Schultz came across my photos of DC-3 ZS-LVR on my South Africa (2004) pages and he noticed he had flown this DC-3 at the start of his career!
He wrote me: "I flew this superb DC-3 as N950 for two years in 1959 and 1960 and have been looking for it for quite a while. I am happy to see that she is still in service and living well in South Africa."

DC-3 N950 (msn 20475)
DC-3 N950 (msn 20475), later to become ZS-LVR which I came across in South Africa (2004).

" As I remember, the airframe time then was on the order of 3.000 hrs.
The long nose was an AirResearch modification that allowed a 30 inch /360 degrees rotating radar dish, which drove a Bendix RDR1C/D.
The other equipment was the standard of the day and included a Sperry autopilot which was not common as most had no autopilots."

"There were an additional pair of fuel tanks in the outer wing panels which held 200 Gal. US each giving a greatly increased endurance and range. As we operated the aircraft, on a Airline Training flight manual, the maximum gross weight was 26,900 pounds which only allowed 950 gallons of fuel with just a crew of two. If operated under a restricted certificate or military ops manual, I presume a higher maximum gross weight limit would allow the use of the fuel capacity.
At that time, the engines were P&W 1830-94 with the two stage manually shifted blowers which we seldom used as they were only needed above an altitude of 10,000 feet."

Bob is a retired corporate Gulfstream 4 pilot and lives in Phoenix,AZ and would appreciate any other info or up to date pictures anyone may have.


Bob writes: "It is fairly easy for me to remember things about N950 since it was my first corporate flying job and I was then 21 years old, the youngest DC-3 pilot on the airport by several years.
The company was The Electric Autolite Co. of Toledo Ohio and they were the second largest spark plug manufacturer after Champion Spark Plug Co. The company also made a large variety of electrical components for both automotive and aviation use."

N950, front

"When I flew her, she had a Sperry A-12 autopilot which I see from the Nelair photos has been removed, and the radar was a Bendix RDR-1C C-band mounted on an arm attached to a short bulkhead that stowed behind the pilot's seat when not in use and swung up behind the throttle quadrant for use. The radar was truly a weather avoidance system as the nose leaked in heavy rain and shorted out the radar so it quit working, to say nothing of the fact that it also leaked all over my trousers and shoes."


DC-3 N950
N950 seen in flight, long ago.

Here is a recent air-to-air photo of ZS-LVR on +++ I wrote a personalized account on this Gooney Bird!

Cockpit of DC-3 N950
Cockpit of DC-3 N950

This Douglas DC-3 N950 was fitted out with an outstanding VIP-interior!

Interior wothy of VIPS in this DC-3 N950


"The Gulfstream G-III which I flew when based at Geneva-LSGG in the early 1980s and the G-IV that I was flying when I retired.
Way back I also flew Fairchild F-27s for The Champion Spark Plug Co. (also in Toledo) before starting to fly only jets in 1969. I worked in Europe from 1979 through 1987, flying initially a LR-35A Learjet and later a gulfstream G-II and G-III before returning to Phoenix,AZ to finish out my career flying a G-IV. Although I truly loved flying the DC-3 and would like to have another chance to try it again, I think that I am too spoiled by the jets and turboprops flown since then."

The Cessna is Bob's present personal aircraft and it is a 1956 C-172 converted to conventional gear.

Bob with his Cessna; he is now retired and living in Phoenix, Arizona.



In 2009 Bob sent in some more photos;

"Picture of a Lockheed LearStar N1040G, that I flew a little for Dana Corporation.
The LearStar was owned and converted by Cox Media before Dana Corp. bought it, I think Cox replaced it with a G-1 and have had several Gulfstreams since."
The names of Dee Howard and Ed Swearingen are probably familiar to many aviation enthusiasts. But the name of Bill Lear is, with his eponymous Lear Jet series, almost a household name. He too started on the road to fame converting Lockheed types, only he started converting already civilianised Lodestars into luxury executive transports called, as one might expect, Learstars. Bill Lear's Learcraft Conversions gathered together some of the best engineers and production experts around.
Lear believed that the design of the Lodestar could be improved with the wealth of knowledge of drag problems compiled by research agencies since the Lodestar was originally designed. Initially Lear offered a 270mph (432kmh) TAS at 10,000ft (3048m) at only 58% power but was aiming for 300mph+ (480kmh+).
The first flight of the Learstar Mk 1 took place on 19th May 1954 with deliveries commencing in 1955 to Butler Aviation Co. of Chicago, conversion time was 4 months. The Learstar Mk.I was followed in 1956 by the Mk.II which offered the same performance but with a 40% acquisition cost saving, the conversion cost being $175,000. First aircraft N10P was delivered to Plymouth Oil Co. in June 1956 and served with them through to April 1962 it then went to a succession of owners till it was last reported as being abandoned at an airstrip at South Bimini, Bahamas in 1983. Lear intended to sell between 200-300 Learstars for $650,000 each but by 1956 had only sold 60.
More... The Lockheed Twins Site

F.27 Champion
"I flew F-27s for Champion Spark Plug, N1823A & N1823G. The Fokker F-27s were both purchased new by Champion and the ugly paint scheme was designed by the Chief Pilot..."

"These photos I sent are mine or friends from 40+ years ago."

Here is MORE on this DC-3.

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Last updated 26.Mar.2019