Ralph Pettersen's mysteries at Greybull,WY

Photos © Ralph Pettersen

My visit to Greybull dates from 1994 and I am always glad for reports from this remote airport, homebase of Hawkins & Powers.
On their premises are a few planes which as yet have not be identified for their construction numbers and previous identities; Ralph Pettersen sent me an update for my Log Reports from Greybull,WY.
He also sent me a few photos of those aircraft which needed further identification; date of visit was 03May03.

(c) Ralph Pettersen
Ralph told me: "A very reliable source assured me he is 90 percent certain that this aircraft is N15501. He says he was at Greybull a week after me looking at the possiblity of buying a C-119. He confirmed the identity of this aircraft."
As that source wrote himself: "....somewhere along the line someone will clarify which s/n is for N15501 or even if this was the real N15501. As always, I am open for criticism, as I am sure not too many people have solved the H&P number switching."
"It was an odd looking match that made me look harder at a long nosed plane and three blade prop when at Greybull in May 2003. I squinted by the cockpit windows to look for an old ident as this is where the s/n would have been painted and is usually etched-in after time and this is where I recorded 22130 in my notes (which is all I have to go by)."

Chuck Lunsford (RIP), someone I consider an expert on C-119s, wrote me:
"I noticed it has had the newer three bladed props installed. I'm pretty sure that's the one that Duane Powers quoted me a selling price of US$400,000 last year. I hope it survives the movie making."
FAA's registry for N15501 in Dec.2003:
N-number N15501
Aircraft Serial Number 10955
Aircraft Manufacturer FAIRCHILD
Model C-119G-3E
Engine Manufacturer WRIGHT
Model R-3350-34&91
Aircraft Year 1968
Owner Address PO BOX 391
GREYBULL, WY, 82426-0391
Type of Owner Corporation
Registration Date 15-Jul-1981
Airworthiness Certificate Type Restricted
Approved Operations Agriculture and Pest Control

N15501 made its way to Namibia,Africa during December 2003, to participate in a movie (remake of "The Flight of the Phoenix") and this took place in Namibia. This flight must be considered an epic undertaking in itself and N15501 was seen at Tenerife-North, passing thru:
Tenerife Norte - Los Rodeos (TFN / GCXO), December 15, 2003 by Manolo Aldana
Tenerife Norte - Los Rodeos (TFN / GCXO), December 15, 2003 by Manolo Aldana
Note that the nose has been revised: H&P installed a 'regular' nose in lieu of the RCAF one !!
Here's what Jeff Rankin-Lowe had on c/n 22130:

  • c/n 10955
  • accepted by USAF 22Jul53
  • received by USAF 28Jul53
  • received by RCAF 29Jul53
  • s/o/s 21Sep65
  • to Crown Assets Disposal Corporation (CADC), date ?
  • to Hawkins & Powers as N15501, 15Jul81 (one source reports they had it by May 1977)
  • stored (Greybull, Wyoming), (date unknown) (one source reports it was stored at Tucson, AZ and was noted there in May90 and Jun96)
  • last noted** (derelict; engineless; Greybull, Wyoming), Apr97 (I believe it was delivered as a C-119F and was converted to a G later. 22124 was lost as an F, the rest all became Gs. Some had modified noses and served as an ECM trainer. 22130 wasn't one of them.)

    N15501 participated in the remake of the movie Last Flight of the Phoenix (starring Dennis Quaid, below) and returned home, to Greybull,WY. Here is a shot from that movie (but not from N15501):

    And this is N15501 after its return to Greybull,WY in June 2004 (photo by Marco Kosterman)
    (click on the picture for a larger image)
    N15501 was sold to Hans O. Lauridsen; the aircraft was seen on 01Sep08 parked at Morristown Airpark,AZ

    Click HERE for a view in the cockpit (photo made by Roger Pardee, recording specialist - recording reciprocal engines at Greybull
    The first Flight of the Phoenix was produced and directed by Robert Aldrich in 1965 and was shot in Buttercup Valley in Arizona, a desert site that had been used many times for such movies as the 1926 Beau Geste. Here is a link with details on the Crash of the Phoenix and the consequent death of Paul Mantz.
    This movie did not feature C-119s, but C-82s: 3 Fairchild C-82 Packet cargo planes were required for filming and were located at Long Beach Airport, CA. They were all operated by Steward-Davis Inc., and were registered as N6887C, N4833V and N53228 (thank you Peter Pickering!)

    Click here for an excellent Special Feature by Simon Beck, on this movie.

    This '06' has been a mystery for some time now...

    It's the same like I saw it in 1994, click here for a large image of "06"; there were 2 C-119s marked "06" in 1994 upon my visit, one derelict and this one handsomely restored. All the RCAF C-119s had 4-bladed props.
    It was suggested to me that this preserved aircraft, repainted as RCAF '06', could have been N8094, but N8094 was former RCAF 22135 and a C-119 has been reported stored elsewhere on the airfield with "135" read underneath the wing. But what was its former identity then ?

    See my Oct.2014 visit, when I noticed RCAF 22135 parked in the storage area, and this '06' at the Greybull museum. So still not solved.

    These sorry remains were identified as c/n KF-257, former 53-8154, N90267 and N4999P. Chuck Lunsford wrote me: "53-8154-- it was a 10th Squadron airplane at Dreux (France) and one of the few from that group that made it to the civil registry."
    N90267 was sold in 2006 to Ed Rachanski and transported to Nevada for his personal collection; see C-119 Info Page (2).

    The above aircraft was identified thru this plate.
    Graham Robson wrote me this: "C-119 nose section, from the data plate would be Kaizer-Fraser production msn 257, which would make it ex USAF 53-8154.
    This C-119G resided in Alaska and was reported as derelict at Anchorage in 1994, registered N90267. After it was broken up it must have found its way to Greybull.

    Another mystery C-119, former Royal canadian Air Force:

    Could this be the same I saw in 1994 ? The remains of no.1 engine looks the same after all those years, the discoloring of the RCAF flash too. But code "06" has been removed now (not faded, as the other colors are intact, but actively removed: why ?).
    On the subject of other C-119s present at Greybull, I was given the following information:
    The other three bladers there in May were..
  • N3003 with '03' on jet pack, long nose and underwing spray bars.
  • N37636, Georgia Box, USAF marks, short nose, no jet.
  • N8505A, no jet, short nose, ex Alaska.
    Is there anyone with the technical insight to explain if three blade 'F' and four blade 'G' props are interchangeable in pairs?

    The tires gave it away: Lockheed C-130A Hercules N133FF (c/n 3143) is used as spareparts supply source. Have a look at the photo I took in 1994, still complete with tailsection (and tailnumber !).

    Graham Robson offered the following theory on this mystery bird: "P2V-7 is probably the airframe slated for turbine conversion but, according to H&P at the time of my visit, the chief designer on the project was tragically killed in a motor accident, which halted the programme. The port engine nacelle had been modified to what would appear to be a QEC for Alison T-56s from P-3s, which was the reason for acquiring the former Spanish A/F example (as I am lead to believe). Again, from the Propliner #45 report, the only P2V-7 not accounted for elsewhere or since is 147957 (N7060X) which is reported as having the markings 'sanded' , suggesting preparation for work to be done on it, and the later shots would support this."
    Another source ("Bill") confirmed N7060X (c/n 7207): I have N7060X c/n 7207 ex 147957 as the P2 Neptune that was half converted to take a turboprop engine on one side. Seen and photographed at KGEY 19Oct93 & 31May94. Looking at the photo there are no external markings visible and the regn is written on the slide in brackets indicating that it was not read off on the day."
    However, in Jan.2002 I got a reply from H&P on my question what the status was on "converting a radial engine powered P-2V aircraft to a turbine powered configuration with a state of the art electronics (glass) cockpit"(quoted from H&P's website at the time) and the reply was: The Tail # is T-138, N138HP, S/N 148338. Current status - incomplete, project on hold."
    Another mystery ? David Ellis sent me the following email after visiting Greybull in July 2004: The photo from Ralph of the P2 used for conversion trials is definitely 148338 (read off the port side) as H&P suggest - therefore is N138HP ! " Thanks David !

    And indeed, Ralph revisited Greybull on 29Jul06 and provided photoproof of N13HP being former 148338; he wrote:
    " Attached is a list of aircraft at Greybull during my 29 July visit. There were 3 P2V's which were difficult to identify, but I think I got it sorted out (they are highlighted in green). The surprise was that one of them was N138HP, BuNo148338. I photographed the tail of the aircraft with painted over BuNo and then played with the contrast which confirms the BuNo.....it confirms that the aircraft is BuNo148338 ! See attached photo.


    Chuck Lunsford (RIP) researched the gunship AC-119 variety and wrote a book about his days as a radio operator on board these planes:
    "Departure Message"

    Larry E. Fletcher (ex USAF Captain) used his personal experience to write a book about the C-119 Gunship in Vietnam:
    "Shadows of Saigon, Air Commandos in SE Asia".

    Greybull Airport    May 3, 2003
    Main Ramp   
    PB4Y-2N6884C c/n 59701Tanker #127
    PB4Y-2N7962Cc/n 59882Tanker #126
    PB4Y-2N2872Gc/n 66300Tanker #124
    PB4Y-2N2871Gc/n 66302Tanker #121
    P2V-7 N8908Fc/n 726-7100ex-BuN 140441
    B-26C N126HPc/n 27799ex-44-34520
    C-130H92-1454c/n 5333North Carolina ANG - Charlotte
    H&P Hangar   
    P2V-7N140HPc/n 726-7102Undergoing inspection
    P2V-7N139HPc/n 726-7168Undergoing inspection
    Ramp east of Runway 15/33   
    C-130AN131HP c/n 1A-3142Tanker #131
    C-119G N8093 c/n 10776 ex-RCAF
    C-130A N132HPc/n 182-3115 ex-56-0507 (0507 marked on nose), AFRes camo, reg N4172 marked out on the tail and replaced with N132HP.
    C-82A N9701F c/n 10184 ex-45-57814
    Storage Area - South    
    L18-56 N880Vc/n 6124  
    F-27F N127HPc/n 33  
    C-119G N8094 c/n 10994"135" markings under wing
    C-119F N8505Ac/n 179ex-53-8076
    C-119F N37636c/n 253ex-53-8150
    C-130A N135HPc/n 182-3166ex-57-0459
    C-130A N8230Hc/n 182-3220 ex-57-0513
    C-130A N133HPc/n 182-3189 ex-57-0482
    KC-97L N29866c/n 16726 ex-52-2695
    KC-97L N29862c/n 16792 ex-52-2761
    KC-97 N97HBc/n 16612 ex-52-0918 (marked N97HP)
    C-119G N3003 c/n 10737 ex-RCAF
    KC-97GN972HPc/n 17132 ex-53-0350
    KC-97GN397HPc/n 16990 ex-53-0208
    KC-97L N497HPc/n 17047 ex-53-0265
    Storage Area - North   
    P-3A N....c/n 5036 ex-150510, ex-Spanish Navy
    P2V-7 N2216Sc/n 726-7231 ex-BuN 148346
    P2V-7 N125HPc/n 726-7035 ex-BuN 135588
    P2V-7 N2218Qc/n 726-7255 ex-BuN 148359
    P2V-7 N129HPc/n 726-7200 ex-BuN 147950 (was N22154)
    P2V-7 N128HP<c/n 726-7074ex-BuN 140972
    P2V-7 N8056Dc/n 726-7057ex-BuN 140154
    P-3A N...... c/n 5055 ex-BuN 150529
    C-118A N51599<c/n 44662ex-53-3291
    C-118A N233HP<c/n 44661ex-BuN 152689
    C-119 unidentifiedc/n ...ex-RCAF, no engines
    C-130A N134HPc/n 182-3218ex-57-0511
    C-123K N8190B<c/n 20144 ex-54-0695
    C-130A N133FFc/n 1A-3143 Id by tires on wing, no tail, see above
    P2V-7 N7060Yc/n 726-7167ex-BuN 145905
    C-119G N15501c/n 10955Bare metal finish; see details + photo above
    P2V-7 N122HP<c/n 726-7226ex-BuN 148341 (was N2216K)
    P2V-7N2218Ac/n 726-7243 ex-BuN 148335
    P2V-7 N2218Ec/n 726-7246ex-BuN 148356
    Parts Storage Area    
    C-82A N5102Bc/n 10152 ex-45-57782 (in Interior Airways colors)
    C-82A N8009Ec/n 10071 ex-44-23027
    C-119G N4999P>c/n KF-257Nose section only, no registration
    Museum Compound    
    Beech 18N7391Cc/n 8460 ex-44-87201 (s/n plate on tail says c/n 2888)
    PBY-5AN314CFc/n 427 Wings removed
    P2V-7 N173AMc/n 726-7129 ex-BuN 143173
    C-119FN5216Rc/n 10956 ex-RCAF (#136 on jet pod on roof)
    C-119 unidentifiedc/n .... ex-RCAF (#06 on nose and rear doors)

    See also Ralph's list of 29Jul06. (Acrobat Reader .pdf file)

    Some of my links connected to Greybull and / or C-119s:
    Gateway to my C-119 pages
    A report from David Ellis, June 2004
    Greybull 1994
    Log Reports from Greybull
    Unidentified C-119s at Battle Mountain,NV
    Greybull 1983, photos by Fred de Ruiter
    In search for identities of unidentified airframes
    MY VISIT 21OCT2014

    To email me, click on the image and write the correct adress as given below
    (replace -AT- by the @ symbol).

    Sorry for the inconvenience, but this is because spam has increasingly become a problem.