Propliners by Graham Robson

Photos © G.Robson


Graham Robson is a good friend of mine; while most of us who practise this interest in aviation and aviation history in their spare time (and so does Graham) and find pride in the occasional published photo, Mr Robson managed to get his name on books (check your bookshelf for Desert Airliners, Grounded and Prop Perfection). He likes to rummage through aircraft storage yards and... specialises in air-to-air photography!
With pleasure I share some of his photos and enthusiasm on my website.

-> most images can be clicked on for a larger photos. <-


N96US in flight by G.Robson

Graham remembers this from the April 1998 shoot: "This was shot from the open hatch of (the late) Rob Carlson's HU-16B 51-5909 (which was in full USAF scheme), on a flight from Sun 'n Fun to Lakeland,FL.
I had arranged this photo shoot specially, as there was also Jack Bart's Grumman Mallard in the formation."

N96UC is a Canso PBY-5A with c/n 1737. More of its interesting days in Paraguay can be read on Gene Richardson's account on FAP 2002

I have Michael Prophet to thank for making this photo of N96UC available to me.


Up close and personal: this 'Super Cat' portrayed by Graham.
This shot was taken from the open (!) rear hatch of HU-16 N16HU, while en-route to Fort Pierce,FL. from Lakeland, after attending the Sun 'n Fun Air Show in April 2006.

This 'Super Cat' was built as Consolidated Vultee 28-5ACF (PBY-5A) Catalina, manufacturer serial number 1649, in October 1943 at San Diego,CA.

An extensive history can be read on

Graham describes another attempt to realize an air-to-air session with Air Atlantique propliners:
"... well, yesterday (24May06) did actually work out, though as the day progressed the weather got steadily worse!
Three flights in Pembroke XL954/G-BXES, totalling 90 minutes - Coventry to Kemble, to watch a full practice display of Prentice, Dragon Rapide, Anson, Pembroke, Devon, Twin Pioneer, DC-3 and DC-6 - what a fantastic choreographed display!!

DC-6A G-APSA (c/n 45497/995, anno 2006 it is reported for sale.

Douglas C-47B KK116 a.k.a. G-AMPY, c/n 15124/26569.
More info Both G-APSA and KK116/G-AMPY can be seen on my photoreport of a visit on 18JUL2011 to Coventry.

In May 2006 Graham was looking for a photoshoot with Air Atlantique's DC-6 G-APSA; this did not work out, but something else did!
(c) G.Robson

"The Atlantique DC-6 air to air did not happen - terrible weather meant the Six didn't fly all week.
However, 12May06 was spent at Coventry all day, waiting for some of the Classic Flight to fly for formation practice work and display training. It happened, with 2 Rapides, the Anson, Twin Pioneer and a DC-3: all flying over to nearby Leicester airport, where a full display of those aircraft took place.
I got a ride in one of the Rapides to Leicester, then back in the other Rapide, shooting the DC-3 air-to-air !
This shot was taken over Draycott Reservoir, close to Warwick in the Midlands, from the Dragon Rapide G-AIDL."
The Douglas DC-3 is G-AMPY, a C-47B with c/n 15124/26589 and decorated by Air Atlantique in period RAF Transport Command livery.

(c) G.Robson

Lockheed P-2E Neptune N1386C (c/n 426-5268) of Neptune Aviation Services, photographed at Helena,MT by Graham.
This aircraft used to be employed by the US Navy, had tailnumber 128422 in those days.

Graham's comment:
"The Neptune Inc. P-2 was shot at Helena Mt. in August 2003. That summer I made a concerted effort to catch DC-7s in action and flew to Seattle, then travelled throughout the NW USA. A very lucky and timely trip, as the following year saw the major down-sizing in Federal contracts for heavy tankers.  As it happens, I struck so very lucky, with action at Moses Lake, Redmond, Coer-d'Alene and Helena.  In fact, at Helena there were 14 active tankers both days I was there, a bunch of P-2s (Neptune Inc. and Aero Union), P-3s, CL-215s, DC-7s and the DC-6 - quite a trip!

(c) G.Robson

Tanker 62 of Butler Aircraft Company (Redmond,OR) is Douglas DC-7 (c/n 45145) and is seen roaring past here...
Its career started with delivery to United Air Lines in Feb.1957 as N6331C and was reregistered as N401US in 1964 when it was leased from C&J Aircraft to US Overseas Airlines. In 1965 it was bought by Stanley Weiss and was bought by Butler 25Mar76 for aerial firefighting.
Founder Cal Butler passed away in 2004, but the company continued to this day (2006).

"The DC-7 was also shot at Helena, it flew 6 or 7 missions and was later joined by IAR's Tanker # 33.  We had seen N401US in action at Moses Lake and Coer'd'Alene already, and the crew knew we were following them around, and made us very welcome in the crew and operations rooms at the various USFS bases."

See also my visit to Madras in 2014, for more details on the Butler airtankers.

This twilight shot of Beech N503N was taken in 1997.

Graham writes:
"The Twin Beech at Key West was the first of a number of sorties like this, all arranged on the spur of the moment, with very little planning.  I had arrived in KW the afternoon before, checked out the field and saw a pair of Beech 18s (one tail-dragger, the other this Volpar Tri-Gear example) and obtained permission to photograph them. Afterwards I sought out the crew in the pilots' lounge in the tower and asked when they were planning to leave.  Carib Air Cargo had the contract for UPS and DHL parcels off the island to Miami and the Twin Beeches flew every evening.  I asked the question of air-to-air possibilities and the pilot of N503N agreed instantly, as long as he got some shots back for his office wall  - deal !  So, I chartered a Cessna 172 from the local FBO, had the two pilots meet and co-ordinate the mission and we were all set to go. 
So, as soon as the last parcels were loaded on the Beech, we both taxied out and departed as a two-ship, the Twin Beech soon settling in right alongside. It was well after 6pm and the sun began to set, making me a little concerned that the film speed would not be fast enough, but it all worked out well.  The success of this allowed me to do it all again the following year, this time with two Beech 18s in formation, as the crew had heard what I'd done the previous time, they arranged an 'un-scheduled' crew training mission around the islands, again with me in a Cessna 172."

Douglas C-47A ZS-BXF (c/n 12107) "Klapperkop", Oct.2003
"The SAA Historical Flight DC-3 shot was taken when I was on holiday in South Africa, in 2003.
I had not made any arrangements beforehand for flying, but had contacted the SAA HF to arrange a visit to see their operation. I found everyone in South Africa very helpful and fiendly indeed and, when I discovered that every Sunday a DC-3 or DC-4 positioned from Swartkop to Lanseria for a pleasure flight, I began to think of air-to-air opportunities...
The South African Harvard Club are based at Swartkop and a T-6 would have made a great photo-ship, but being a Sunday, the local churches discouraged any T-6 actiivity on Sunday mornings. So.., I had to find another aircraft.
A recommendation from the DC-3 crew to try the Lanseria Flight Centre worked. The pilot recommended there was an ex SAAF pilot and colleague of the SAA Historical Flight crew, so they were happy to fly together. My photo plane was a Beech Duchess and the only way to get 'direct-vision' (not shooting through a perspex window) was for us to remove the small baggage compartment door on the left side of the rear cabin and have me sit in there during flight! I clambered aboard and arranged the seat belts in a make-shitft way to hold me in if it got a bit bumpy and the mission was quite a success.
Sadly, the DC-3 was severely damaged only a few weeks later in a forced landing, which has grounded it. "

(c) G.Robson
This is a Douglas A-26B/K Invader with tailnumber N26BK (how appropriate!) and it has c/n 28045.
It has held the previous identifications: 44-34766 N67807 N1243 N910G N9150.

Graham's comment:
"Probably one of my greatest conquests yet: air to air with the only Marksman still flying in corporate service!!
The owner knew I was interested in shooting it, as I had met the aircraft's chief pilot and maintenance chief (Reno racer Matt Jackson) the year previous, when first trying to shoot it on the ground at Van Nuys,CA. He had relayed my interest of the aircraft to its owner, who very generously agreed to flying it for me to shoot pictures and write a story about it (which was published in UK magazine Aircraft Illustrated and also featured on the pages of Gary Parsons' web-zine Air SceneUK). The shots were taken from the rear seat of a V-tail Bonanza, with the windows removed and when the Marksman came in close I could hear the engine noise above the wind and slipstream noise of our Bonanza!"

Tanker 75 is a Grumman S-2A Tracker with tailnumber N420DF (c/n 388) and operates as an airtanker, fighting fires from the air by the California Department of Forestry (CDF).

(c) Graham Robson

Graham took this photo in 1999.
He explains: "For this S-2 shoot, I had met pilot Vito Orlandella a few days earlier at Porterville (CA), where he had been despatched from Ramona, and had mentioned that I would love to shoot an S-2 air-to-air, if the chance ever came up. It was then agreed when he returned to Ramona, that if he had not flown in the coming few days he would need to schedule a recurrency checkflight which would offer the opportunity of pictures. Now we had to find a suitable photo-ship. Sure enough, one of the CDF guys knew someone on the field with a Citabria, which would be fast enough for the S-2 to formate on .... and that's what we did ! In the 20 minute sortie, Vito came up close alongside on both sides and finished with a very stylish and aggressive break-away manoeuvre, giving some excellent views."

These grumman Trackers are Korean War era planes. They have radial piston engines, an 800 gallon retardant capacity and cruise at 160 knots. They're worn out and are being replaced by similar S-2s converted to turboprop engines for $3,000,000 each.

Photo taken in 1999.

This was my first ever visit to la Ferte Alais airshow. Only expecting warbirds, I was most surprised to discover that the Securite Civile always support the show with a display, including water drops on small fires lit for the display. This year happened to coincide with the last piston powered S-2 still in service, so we were treated to a great formation display of a piston S-2 and an S-2T Turbo Firecat and a CL-415, all of which then went on to do live water drops in front of the crowd! This picture was the opening 'act' of their display, a fast sweeping fly-by from right to left, which took much of the crowd by surprise!

This Douglas C-117 is owned by a good friend of mine: Charlie Clements; he is a Delta Airlines B767 captain and also the owner of PBY Super Catalina N287. This photoshoot was in April 2000 (during the Sun 'n Fun show that year), I was in the back of a T-6 having done the air-to-air with Convair C-131 42809/N131FT and we then met up with Charlie's C-117. They had the door off, so they could shoot pics of me on the way up to Leeward Ranch, near Ocala and we did some terriffic low flying around Leeward.

After the great Leeward Ranch barbeque, that ranch owner Jimmy Leeward puts on, we departed south again, back to Tamiami, me again in the T-6, and Jimmy Leeward came up alongside the C-117 for some close ups, and formation shots, before diving away at high speed. The T-6 then plodded along back to TMB stopping at Belle Glade for fuel, carreering through and around the billowing cloud tops - great fun !!


This Douglas vintage transport was initially serialled by Douglas as 16619 but due to duplications reserialled to c/n 33367.
The USAAF registered it as 44-77035 upon its delivery on 31May45. It was transferred to the US Navy, designated an R4D-7 and got tailnumber 99857.
It was converted to an R4D-8 and reserialled 99857 for the US Navy and again redesignated TC-117D in 1962.
Its active military career ended upon storage in the Arizona desert at Davis-Monthan massive storage yard (MASDC, later AMARC) from April 77 to at least 1981.

Ron Whipple added: "The forward fuselage has a graphic depicting the back of a cat showing blue balls..

I painted this graphic on the airplane designated as the 'Blue Ball Special'.blue Ball Special C-117D
The other side (left) of the aircraft under the flightdeck window reads Lt Whip Whipple, Gooney Airines. we misspelled Airlines!

These are photos from the Midway Island Tour book of 1976."

Ron Whipple wrote: "Note the Gooney Birds on the tail on each side of a Midway Island graphic. My crew painted this on the aircraft at Midway Island Naval Station where the aircraft and I were stationed."
C-117D 99857
"99857 before Gooney Birds had been painted on the tail."

One more of C-117D N99857 during this photoshoot in April 2000 at the Sun 'n Fun show in Florida. Must go there some day!

A little more on its civilian career: this started on 22jul85 with tailnumber N456WL registered to Lambeth Aircraft Corp; a few months later, in Oct85, it was registered to one J.L.Leavis; during that time it was reported at Opa Locka,FL showing titles of NAVSTA MIDWAY on the tailfin.
It was reported stored in 1988 at Opa Locka, FL and seen with with "DM"-markings and code 6C044.
On 21feb90 the C-117D was bought by Air Adventurers DG Inc. of Dania,FL; but this quickly changed as on 03jul90 N99857 was registered to Super Three Inc (which is in fact Charlie Clements).
During Dec. 2002 it was on the market for us$ 475.000

Photo © Suresh A.Atapattu.
(c) Suresh A.Atapattu Suresh came across N99857 at Miami - Kendall-Tamiami Executive (New Tamiami, TMB), Florida on 07Aug2005 in a less desirable condition...
Click on the image for a larger photo on

N99857 was being prepared at Tamiami during April 2009 for delivery to Transnorthern in Anchorage,AK. Initially the purchase was thought to be for use of spares but the aircraft appeared upon inspecton in such good shape that it may be used to fly cargo in Alaska. Time will tell, the world economic crisis of 2009 may have a negative effect on such plans though I hope not!

Delivered 03Apr09-04May09 TMB-CTY-MJT-SJT-CJT-CNM-RDM-BLI-KTN-ANC...

Some FUN on the ground...
Click here | Click here | Click here

Now we got this project started, Graham is on a roll and he wrote: "Now you have started this page, I have so much more I can give you! I have only just gone digital although I have scanned a few shots for digi use, there are hundreds more on slide that would be good for you - as I've probably done 50+ air-to airs over the years ..."
And indeed Graham has exceptional work to share, so here are a few more:

CS-TML (c) G.Robson

Graham's comment: "CS-TML, taken on the afternoon before the Coventry Airshow in August 2000. I had spent the entire day on the field, shooting the airshow arrivals, amongst the normal comings and goings of a busy work day at Coventry. Mike Collett had very kindly given me free access to the field to shoot the show arrivals and was aware of my keen desire to try and shoot the Convair air-to-air, if the opportunity presented itself. On this day, the Convair crew were preparing for the show, which included gaining the CAA approval for their show routine. Captain Julian Firth flew a number of full show routines during the day and was also aware of my aims for the day, and did promise to do all he could to help. And help he certainly did. As the field began to quieten down around 5pm, he called me over saying they would be doing one more final prasctice routine and he thought he'd found me a camera ship... out of the crew room came Julian with colleague Mike Day, who told me to climb into the Pembroke as this would probably be the most suitable aircraft for the job !!"
(c) G.Robson

During the 1960s this ConvairLiner (c/n 484) operated for Mohawk Airlines and was named Air Chief Joseph Brant whilst registered as N4402. At some point it was converted for use as a freighter and did so for Salair (of Spokane,WA) with tailnumber N357SA.
This CV440F/SCD drifted to Europe, to Portugal to be exact, for Agroar Trabalhos Aéreos and was registered CS-TML on 07May97 (based at Evora). It was bought by Atlantic Airlines of Coventry,UK in 1999 and later registered as G-CONV, but all sorts of certification difficulties kept it out of commercial use.
Great looking plane nevertheless.

Aad van der Voet provided the following information in Nov.06:
"The Air Atlantique Convair G-CONV will never fly again...
G-CONV is now owned by Andrew and Tricia Scott of the Reynard Nursery in Carluke, Scotland. It is currently being dismantled at Coventry and will be transported by road up north to its new location this Monday 04-Dec-2006, hopefully arriving there the next day. It will then be reassembled and installed at the Nursery (they also have a Folland Gnat there) and converted into a luxury 1 room "hotel", fitted out like an executive jet. Once finished, it will be available for hire on a nightly basis."

C-FPUM (c) G.Robson

"The Convair CV440 C-FPUM (c/n 346) off Key West (1995) was the first of a few sorties I managed to achieve at this idyllic holiday in Florida. I had met the aircraft owner and pilot, Paul Richard of Geo Air, the year before when photographing the Convair on the ramp and asked if any photography would ever be possible. The Convair was based at KEYW to fly pink shrimp eggs to Hunduras, which was usually flown 3 times a week; however, departure from KEYW was always very early, to ensure a return to base the same day. To make matters worse, this particular weekend, in April 1995, was when daylight-savings time ended, losing me an hour of daylight in the morning !
We co-ordinated things the morning before at the airport's Island City Flying Services office, where I found a pilot qualified to fly reasonably close formation and, most importantly, prepared to get up at 'O dark 30' in the morning to fly this crazy Englishman ! We took off at 5.54am and circled just off shore to the east of the city and within a few minutes Paul brought the Convair up alongside, and formated on us keeping outboard us to allow the Convair to match the Cessna's speed for side by side photography. It was still quite dark and this photo was shot with ISO400 film and is one of only a few shots that did not have any camera shake, as I was still shooting with a slow shutter speed even with the help of high speed film."

Summer 1998 was the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, which was celebrated with the BAHF C-54 and N494TW MATS Connie coming to Europe for a number of airshow appearances. Arrival point for the Connie was Woodford airport in Cheshire, UK. The airport manager Alastair Roberston had originally tried hard to get the Connie to the UK 2 years previous for a season of show appearances but the project had foundered at the last moment.

N494TW (c) G.Robson

This time, he was successful, being instumental in making the Connie's visit happen. Alastair had promised me the unique opportunity of shooting both the Connie and the C-54 air-to-air on the airshow practice day beforehand, and had a Piper Aztec ready for me with the rear emergency hatch and rear cabin seats removed to make photography easy. The formation shots were mildy successful, the Connie was outboard of the C-54 for the formation shots but the C-54 crew were not too happy to get close enough to the photo plane for good close ups. However, once the C-54 dropped back, Connie Captain Frank Lang brought the C-121A in so close I could hear the engines from inside the Aztec's cabin! This picture was taken in the skies off the NW coast of the UK, close to Liverpool.

N494TW is a Lockheed VC-121B Constellation, the military version of the L.749; Graham took his opportunity when N494TW made a rare visit to Europe.
I came across it in 1993, and one can read its historic details there; at one time it was owned by John Travolta!
There is more on my page about Surviving Connies. and Paul Schaack sent me photos when it was en route to its new owner in South Korea.

The Queen of the Skies with a pregnant belly... This is a special variant with a radome housing a radar, for the USAF; it was designated a
C-121T with registration 53-0548 (c/n 4363, civil reg. N548GF).
(c) G.Robson 

(c) G.Robson

I came across this Connie in 1997 at Camarillo,CA (see my webpage Surviving Connies).
And in 2018 at the Yanks Air Museum

"In October 1995 I was on vacation in California, staying with friends who crewed and flew the CHS Super Constellation at Camarillo airport. At the time Wayne Jones, who had recently purchased this EC-121T from Pima Museum in Tucson, was also preparing to put the aircraft onto the airshow circuit. I had met Wayne at Camarillo the year previous and he knew of my interest in Connies and also that I was a photographer. His EC-121T had been at Santa Barbara airport for some avionics work and it was due to return to Camarillo the weekend I was there, so he invited me to fly to Santa Barbara with him in his Cessna 310, in which he was ferrying the Connie crew. We watched the impressive start up of the EC-121 then took off in the 310 to hold close to the field awaiting the Connie's departure, so we could fly back to Camarillo together. Once both aircraft were airborne and over the water, we began to formate on the EC-121T, making two slow over-taking passes on the Connie's starboard side, as Wayne was not proficient with formation work, this seemed the best option to shoot the pictures. Even though the windows in the Cessna were slightly blue tinted, and had distortions due to the curved perspex the shots were not too bad and are still, as far as I am aware, the only air-to-airs ever taken of this aircraft in civilian ownership."
John Lameck wrote me in April 2006: "in spite of the large ANG shield on the tail of the aircraft, it never flew with the Air National Guard; more likely it served with the AFRes."
Read more about C-121s with the ANG here.

This is Lockheed C-121C Constellation N73544 (c/n 4175).

Graham's comment: "I have been close friends with the owner of the CHS Connie and some of her crew for a number of years now, ever since I began working on my book Prop Perfection, in which I featured all of the airworthy Constellations then flying. In the years from 1995, my wife Joan and I regularly visited the US twice a year helping to crew the Super Connie at a number of airshows in California - great fun, and a real privilege to be part of Super Connie operations and also plenty of flying in her !
On the occasion of this picture, I was still preparing work for the book, and had agreed with the CAF at Camarillo to swap my place on the Super Connie on the flight back to Camarillo from the El Toro MCAS airshow in October 1996 with one of their ground-crew, so I could try to shoot
the Connie from the open over-wing escape hatch on the C-46 'China Doll'."

This is VC-121B c/n 2604, on its way to its new homeland; the Netherlands. Its tailnumber is N749NL.

(c) G.Robson

"The Dutch Constellation air-to-air was a real surprise opportinity that worked out so well. I had found out at the very last moment that she was due to transit the UK through Duxford, and following contact with the Imperial War Museum press office, was included in the small number of press photographers to cover the occasion. Also at Duxford were a number of the Dutch group responsible for the acquisition and restoration of the Connie, who had flown to Duxford in two Piper Navajo aircraft, with a tv crew, in order to shoot video of her delivery to Holland. One of the crew was Raymond Oostergo, whom I had met in Tucson a couple of years previous when they were preparing the Connie; he remembered me having bought my book Prop Perfection. I asked him if it be at all possible to accompany the tv crew in one of the Navajos to try and shoot air to airs of her on the short flight from Duxford to Manston... ? This was greeted with a very encouraging yes, no problem !
The flight to Manston was under generally dull and over-cast skies, although as we neared Manston the sun did break through the cloud for a short time to produce a few good shots."

"Having spent much autumn vacation time in Tucson in the 1990s, I watched the long and thorough restoration of the HARS Super Constellation. Over the same period I met and became good friends with many wonderful and generous people in Tucson, which continues today. Two such people were Gary Abrams and his father Harold (Bud) Abrams, who owned the lease on Avra Valley Airport and the associated FBO there.
Upon arriving in Tucson in October 1995, I saw that the Aussies were beginning flight training on the Super Connie in preparation for their impending delivery flight in January 1996. I had met and spent many a cool beer with a number of the group of volunteers, headed by Bob de la Hunty in the preceding few years.

(c) G.Robson

Gary and Harold very kindly offered their T-28D as photo ship, to try and capture one of the Connie's test flights air-to-air. Co-ordination between Connie crew, me and Gary was a little hectic, as the aircraft was at Tucson and I would need to get up to Avra Valley once their departure plans were confirmed on the day of the flight. Sure enough, we received the go ahead from Bob in Tucson, I jumped in my car and raced north to Avra Valley (a 20 minute drive on a good day !). Gary had already prepared the T-28D and Harold had decided to join in the fun also, and was in their Beech Baron with my wife Joan to fly alongside us in the T-28, photographing the Connie ! We launched and climbed up to 10,000' above Avra Valley waiting for the Connie; we heard on Tucson departure control that the Connie was airborne and climbing to the north, now we just had to make sure she did not go past us. After 10 minutes, which seemed like a lifetime, we spotted the gleaming white Connie approaching fast from the south and pass below us. With a fighter style steep wing over, Gary brought the T-28 down alongside the Connie for some of the best air-to-air aircraft positioning I have ever experienced. He took us incredibly close to the Connie, on both sides, below as well as wing overs over the top of it to get top-side shots - AWESOME !"

Those military Connies seem the true survivors; this here is Lockheed C-121C Super Constellation VH-EAG (c/n 4176), former USAF 54-0157; it was purchased by the Australian Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) in Nov91 for restoration and delivery to Australia. After extensive restoration VH-EAG arrived on 03Feb96 in Sydney.
Read more on this plane in my Oz 2005 report.


Graham Robson attended 2010 The Last DC-3 Gathering and actually flew on July 26th with them from Rock Falls to the EAA Venture at Oshkosh:

A unique event!

DC-3 The Last Gathering, Rock Falls 2010

The Last Gathering
Graham wrote me- "I traveled in style: Paris Jet from NY to Rock Falls, then DC-3 from Rock Falls to Oshkosh, part of the formation of 25 that flew in on the Monday!"


Graham Robson sent me this images recently; he wrote: "..found an opportunity recently to visit to Seattle, it was fantastic that I could meet and fly with the owner of On-Mark Marketeer 'Sexy Sue' N7079G!"

Invader 'sexy sue'
"The aircraft is owned by Englishman Peter Hambling. The pictures were taken at Renton on 05May12, from the balcony on the control tower, low fly-bys done with full permission of the FAA ATC there, who were also out on the balcony photographing it themselves! Afterwards, Peter took me for a flight around the Seattle area…pretty low-level too!"

Invader N7079G going like the clappers!!!
N7079G Sexy Sue on low level..

And here are a few images by Graham Robson (sent Jan.2017), in response to a thread on my Search for Identities:

C-117D N9663N, by Graham Robson
Graham wrote: "Nicolai got to answer this one before I could, correctly identifying the C-117D note at Tamiami. 
I photographed it in the state you show on your site, and again in April 2006, when it had been repainted in period
Pan Am style m/s.  It was owned by a local ex Pan Am pilot, a friend of my good buddy Charlie Clements. 
Not sure where it has gone now, but I would not be surprised if it resides in the Wings over Miami air museum, outside of
which it had been parked on the trailer for a few years."


The C-123 fuselage in the yard at Tucson is 54-0661 (see Search for Identities), one of two airframes brought of storage in 1994 for potential work in Africa, the other was 54-0706. 
Both were stripped to bare metal, but nothing came of this. 
40706 was subsequently destroyed in the making of Con-Air, when it was blown up imitating a crash landing into a hotel lobby. 
I know these facts to be true as, over a number of years, I spent many days crawling around the yard and spending time carefully documenting ‘clues’ on each airframe and re-checking against pictures of the frames when they had paint on and were easier to identify. 
The story was told on a fellow Dutchman’s web site.

Here are some phots Graham sent me (Jan.2017):
C-123 40661
"This C-123 is 54-0661, one of two airframes brought of storage in 1994 for potential work in Africa, the other was 54-0706.  Both were stripped to bare metal but nothing came of this." DMI Oct.1995 

C-123 40661
Allied Salvaging yard, Oct.1996

C-123 40661
C-123 40661 again, in Oct.1997

C-123 40706
"C-123 40706 was subsequently destroyed in the making of Con-Air, when it was blown up imitating
a crash landing into a hotel lobby."
Joe Baugher:"54-706 (MSN 20155) converted to C-123K. To MASDC as CP072 4/19/1982.
To civilian registry as N94DT. Registered November 1995 to Military Aircraft Restoration of Anaheim, CA as N94DT.
Parts of this aircraft were used in the crash scenes in the movie 'Conair'."

C-123 'N709RR'
C-123 40706 / 'N709RR' as a movie prop in Conair.

Graham Robson wrote me about the C-123's all marked 'N709RR' a few years ago HERE...
See also "C-123 N709RR of All West Freight crashed into Mount Healy (Alaska) on 01Aug10.
All three occupants perished, including the All West Freight owner .. on USA 2014 - Alaska"

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Last updated 31.7.2015