DC-4 to Carvair, c/n 42994 history by Gil White

Douglas DC-4-1009
C/n 42994

Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Company Inc. at Santa Monica in California. Aircraft was purchased new by the Norwegian airline Det Norske Luftfartsselskap A/S on 24/6/1946 and registered LN-IAE. Ownership was transferred to the newly formed company when Scandinavian Airlines System was formed on 1/8/1948. Whilst in service with company aircraft was named ‘Olav Viking’.

On 20/10/1956 sold to Japan Air Lines and reregistered JA6012. Whilst in service with Japan Air Lines aircraft renamed ‘Mikasa’ after a famous mountain in Japan. On 29/10/1962 leased to Korean Air Lines and reregistered HL4003. During 1963 it returned to Japan Air Lines and reverted back to its Japanese registration. Struck off the Japanese civil register on 8/2/1964.

Sold to Ansett-ANA and reregistered to the company as VH-INK on 21/2/1964. Delivery accepted by the company in Hong Kong where it underwent maintenance and repainting in the Ansett-ANA colour scheme. The ferry flight from Hong Kong routed via Manila, Darwin and arrived in Melbourne on 22/4/1964. The crew for the delivery flight were Captains J Adams, S Telford, First Officers Johnston and C Mushe, Navigator W C Kennedy and Engineer R Searle. This aircraft was purchased by Ansett-ANA with the sole intention of using it as a freighter.

On 20/6/1965 it departed from Essendon for the United Kingdom where converted to a Carvair by Aviation Traders P/L and routed via Perth, Cocos Island, Karachi, Cairo and arrived in the United Kingdom on 25/6/1965. Crew for this flight were Captains S Hayward, B Brett, J Blair, Navigator W C Kennedy and Engineer B Butterfield. Struck off the Australian civil register on 19/7/1965. After conversion to Carvair the first test was flight flown on 27/10/1965. Reinstated to the Australian civil register on 28/10/1965 to Australian National Airways and designated as an Aviation Traders ATL.98 Carvair.

Aircraft departed the United Kingdom on 4/11/1965 and routed via London, Athens, Damascus, Bahrain, Karachi, Colombo, Cocos Island, Perth and arrived in Melbourne on 10/11/1965. Known crewmembers on the return flight after conversion were Captains S Hayward and E W P Adams as Navigator. In September 1969 repainted in the Ansett Air Cargo colour scheme. Ownership of aircraft transferred to Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) P/L and registered to the company on 25/11/1969. On 9/3/1973 aircraft was withdrawn from service at Tullamarine and placed in open storage to await sale.

In January 1974 sold to Australian Aircraft Sales. Resold to Seulewah Air Services and on 17/7/1975 it departed Melbourne for Seletar Airport. Aircraft was allocated the name ‘Kasby I’. As the sale fell through it was placed in storage at Seletar Airport. Struck off the Australian civil register on 25/8/1975. During March 1978 sold to J A Cunningham and reregistered N54598.

Sold to Nationwide Air in November 1978. Aircraft was initially allotted the registration of ZK-EKY but this was not taken up and aircraft was reregistered ZK-NWA. When Nationwide Air ceased trading aircraft next noted as being owned by Turner Aviation Ltd in December 1982. During 1983 sold to Pacific Aerolift of Honolulu and flown to Hamilton in New Zealand for a complete overhaul and repainting in the new owners colour scheme. The name of ‘Ruth I’ had been allocated. As Pacific Aerolift failed to become operational this aircraft remained in storage at Hamilton Airport.

During 1986 Captain J Ellis the owner of the Lovely Banks Aerodrome announced plans of importing this aircraft but the Local Council thwarted his plans. Prior to Turner Aviation ceasing business this aircraft was sold to Hawaii Pacific Air and prior to departing New Zealand shores was overhauled once again for the ferry flight across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. On arrival in Hawaii aircraft reregistered N5459X. Whilst owned by Hawaii Pacific Air the aircraft was utilised on inter-island cargo services.

The company suspended operations in January 1993 and the aircraft again placed in storage to await reactivation by the company who intended to restart operations. Aircraft remained in storage awaiting its final fate.

Purchased by Roberts Hawaii Inc. in January 1994. Sold to Airline Marketing Consultants Inc., which was based at Miami in Florida in September 1996 and registered to the company on 27/9/1996. It was the intention of the company to use this aircraft for relief flights in Africa but the deal fell through. Avia Air Charter (Pty) Ltd in South Africa were intending to purchase this aircraft but the sale did not eventuate. After Hawkair had inspected several DC-4’s that were withdrawn from use and parked at an airport in Arizona the company decided to purchase the Carvair from J Mallel the South African aircraft broker as it happened to be readily available whilst the other parked DC-4’s required work to bring them up to airworthy standard. Struck off the American civil register on 14/4/1997.

Delivered to Hawkair Aviation Services Ltd, which is based at Terrace in British Columbia in June 1997 to replace a Bristol Freighter that had been written off in a crash at Bronson Creek in British Carolina. Whilst in service with company aircraft was reregistered C-GAAH on 5/6/1997. Prior to entering service with company it required expensive strengthening modifications to the floor in order that it would be able to carry the gold bullion on pallets.

Within a short period of time the roller floor that had been installed earlier in this aircraft’s career was not strong enough to handle the daily punishment of freight being loaded and unloaded. On 30/6/1997 the aircraft suffered an accident on landing at Wrangell in Alaska, after a flight from Bronson Creek, when it landed with the nose gear retracted. Later it was repaired to reenter service.

Whilst in service with company it carries freight for the mining industry in British Columbia such as carrying diesel fuel to the mines and bags of gold ore concentrate back from the mines. Since arriving in Canada aircraft has been repainted in Hawkair colour scheme.

Still in service with company as a freighter up until 1999 when it was withdrawn from service and parked at Terrace in British Columbia to await its fate. During 2002 it has been reported as being advertised for sale. Sold to Brooks Fuel Inc which is based at Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska. Struck off the Canadian civil register on 27/12/2002 and reregistered N898AT to Brooks Fuel Inc. on 4/3/2003. Whilst in service with the company aircraft will operate FAR91 contract fuel delivery flights throughout Alaska. Noted as currently being held in storage at Fairbank’s International Airport in Alaska but has since been made airworthy. Still registered to the company in June 2004.

© Gil White (2004).
Aviation Historian (specialising Ansett)

The Carvair became fully restored in 2004, have a look at ATL.98 Carvair N898AT in final stages of restoration, at Fairbanks,AK
Other pages of mine which feature this unique aircraft:
Douglas DC-4s stored
Bliss with Brooks !

Gil White 2005IN MEMORIAM.
"It has been a great pleasure to have known you all but my days are now numbered." -24Jun06.
Gil White passed away on 27Jun06. He will be remembered by me as a enthusiastic (Ansett) historian and a courageous person; may he rest in peace.

Created: 06-02-05 Updated: 6-2-05
Last updated 26.8.2005