Unidentified at J.W.Duff Salvage yard (USA,CO)

Photos © Graham Robson

Looking for help here in identifying this DC-3, located in J.W. Duff Salvage Yard near Denver-Stapleton airport. This photo was taken in Oct.1997.
Reactions on Yahoo's DC-3 group (by Andy Marden and Iain C. Mackay) offered the following theory:
"Survivors 2002" lists this as VC-47A c/n 20423, 43-15957, sold by USAF in 1964. Last noted as a sectioned fuselage at J W Duff Salvage, October 2001.

VC-47A 43-15957 was written off at Lowry AFB in 1964, the front fuselage has been present Jul71-Oct01 at least.

During Oct.2004 I received the following email by Bob Enderson and this contradicts the above info somewhat:
I grew up in Denver and spent a lot of time hanging around Duff's place (late 1950s, early 1960s; last time was in 2002). I remember asking him about the DC-3 and was told it lost the no.1 prop on landing at Buckley Naval Air Station in Aurora (now Buckley AFB). Was also told no one got hurt. Sorry I cannot remember the date.

Most of this (yes, it was cut to even smaller size!) went to MotoArt in 2014; see the update on Photos by Friends & Guests (42)

Graham: "The yard also contained this other mystery plane: a Convair 240 forward fuselage. Anyone with thoughts on the identity ? I tried at the time to read the name on the nose (both sides), but could not make it out, perhaps some of your readers can identify the scheme, which maybe help with tracing its i/d ?"

Any idea or comments ?       
Back to top

  • Bob Koontz contacted me during Mar.2005 with a useful theory on the Convair remains:
    "I believe this is the Aspen Airways 240 that I salvaged parts from in 1972, when I was a young Copilot helping to maintain and operating a corporate 240 out of Stapleton (in the winter) and Arapahoe County (in the good weather months).
    I did some research in the "Aviation Safety Network" database, and found a narrative and probable cause for the accident, which occurred Jan. 17, 1970, when the crew failed to extend the landing gear. The aircraft was written off by the insurance company.
    An enterprising farmer bid for the salvage rights, sectioned the aircraft with a power saw, and hauled it out of the mountains on a trailer, piece by piece, to smelt and sell the aluminum. He realized that the cockpit section was of value for parts, and I believe he was going to smelt that section last. I believe his former property is now part of the new Denver airport, hence my theory that the nose section was moved to Duff, by someone, to clear the way for construction.
    The Aspen aircraft was N270L, serial number 157, in case there is any data plate or reference to those numbers left.

  • Terry Fletcher added to this:
    The CV240 that crashed at Aspen was c/n 157, see Aviation Safety Net report; this was purchased by Aspen Airways from The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Corporation in Sept 1968.
    Have a look at Ron Dupas' photo at
    http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Transports/1141.htm: it certainly seems to match the basic scheme !

    I found another image almost similar but not quite

    Graham Robson supported the theory, he wrote: "The Convair in Duff's yard (which is my picture on Ruud's site) is almost certainly the 240 mentioned already: c/n 157. It is definitely not the Sierra Pacific Convair (Phil Brooks wrote: this was a CV580, leased at the time from Sierra Pacific when it lost power and dead-sticked into a field about 2 miles from the Buena Vista airport. Duff has had that airframe stored at his facility ever since he got it back on a flatbed from Buena Vista. Easily seen from Interstate Route 70. I don't think the paint matches up- but then: where did N73160 go?") , N73160, which I also noted at the same time. This aircraft is not actually in Duff's yard, it is on wasteland between the industrial park in which Duff's yard is located and the perimeter of the old airfield. On my visit in 1999, N73160 consisted of complete fuselage, minus wings and tail feathers, with all windows and doors missing and gutted interior."

    Convair CV580 N73160 (c/n 336) at Duff's Yard 1997.

    Photo: Graham Robson

    It seems that this salvage yard contained many more airframes than the ones listed above, but I never have been there myself. There is was a website:
    www.jwduffaircraft.com/ but.... found it offline by 26Mar2015.

    That same date I read on
    that it was to close and 'everything had to go'.
    The ownership seems to have changed as I quote "Dave Elliot owns Acme Aircraft Sales and Salvage, but he has to sell it."
    It seems Mr J.W. Duff passed away in 2013.

    I quote further from that news statement:
    "The property has been sold and we had a two-year window to get things off the property and we’re closing in on that on the end," Elliot said.
    Since the late 1950s, Acme Aviation has been buying and selling planes and their parts. It will close down in May.
    Elliot pointed out his personal aircraft: "It’s a 1943 Nordine [sic] Norseman, World War II transport".
    The yard is located at 8131 East 40th Avenue, near where the old Stapleton airport used to be.
    Most of the planes and parts will go to restaurants, furniture makers, museums, and of course, aviation buffs. No matter what, everything must go! ./end quote
    From: Fox31 Denver.

    Back to In Search For...