Photos © Ruud Leeuw

USA Southwest 2008

Pima Air & Space Museum

Welcome to the Pima Air & Space Museum !
Propliners !

Pima Air & Space Museum is a large aviation museum with a huge selection. Since I was on my own I could continue to photograph without much of a break, except for stopping to have a drink (it was hot!) and even at this pace it took me over 03:30 hours to get it all on camera...
Date of visit was 17May08.
Things had changed since my first visit here in 1980!

Museum Map
This map will show you the lay out. I walked through hangar 1 and the Spirit of Freedom hangar to hangar 3 and 4. I followed, more or less, a clockwise route and this order will show in the photos.
The 390th Memorial Museum (B-17G) I saved for last.
Tours through the AMARC can be booked here but during the weekend the base is closed and the tours cannot be made.

NC16523 Waco S ZKS-6 NC16523. Elsewhere I noticed this Waco identified as a Waco ZQC-6.
Wikipedia has this to say about this type of aircraft: Waco ZQC-6 (United States Army designation: UC-72H and UC-72Q) was a small cargo and utility aircraft manufactured by Waco, in Troy,OH (USA).

The sign in the museum included the following information:
WACO began production of their C-series 4-seat cabin bi-planes in 1932 and continued building the popular aircraft in various versions up to 1942.
The aircraft were popular corporate aircraft and could be considered the 'Learjets' of their time..
Multiple engine and airframes styles resulted in a bewildering assortment models each with its own 3-letter designation. The 1st letter refers to the type of engine installed, the 2nd is the reference is the reference letter of the set of plans used to build the aircraft..; and the 3rd letter is the model series. Numbers refrerred to the number of designs in the model series...
Thus the ZKS-6 is a Jacobs L-5 powered Standard cabin biplane of type K and is the 6th model in the series.
In Sep72 this aircraft was donated to the museum by Bruce R. McCaw.

What the ..?
Now you can see him think: "What on earth is this..?"
And indeed the museum features some amazing types of aircraft !

PBM-5A Mariner
It is humongous... No other word for it. This is a 1940-vintage seaplane: the Martin PBM-5A Mariner.
The first production Mariners were delivered in 1940 after test flights in 1939. Early model flying boats had retractable wingfloats and Wright Cyclone radial engines, while later (-5A) amphibians had tricycle landinggear, fixed wing floats and Pratt & Witney radials.
PBM-5A 122071 here on display was the 5th of 36 -5A's built, delivered to the US Navy on 06May48. it was retired from service in 1956 and sold to Frontier Airways. Last flight of 122071 was on 17Jul71.

B-18 Bolo

Design of the Douglas B-18 Bolo was based on the Douglas DC-2! It used similar wings, tail and engines.
The Bolo entered production in 1936 and by 1940 most of the bomber squadrons in the US Air Corps were equipped with B-18s. When the US entered WW2 the B-18 was obsolete and was being replaced by the B-17.
But 122 B-18A's were modified with a nose-mounted radar and magnetic anomaly detectors for locating submarines. These modified B-18A's were designated B-18B's of which one is here on display.

Columbine Lockheed Constellation 8614, the Presidential transport named 'Columbine'.
It sits in a display featuring also other former VIP & Presidential aircraft.
This C-121A was delivered to the USAF in Feb49 as 48-0614 and participated in the Berlin Airlift. About a year later it was converted to a VC-121A, fit to transport the finest... It became the personal aircraft of General Eisenhower as SHAPE Commander until 1952 and was named 'Columbine' during this period.

Ralph Pettersen has more on his website

Meanwhile, another Constellation named 'Columbine' awaits an uncertain fate being stored at nearby Avra Valley.

AT-11 Kansan A rather remarkable version of the Beech 18: the AT-11 Kansan.
The Beechcraft Model 18 was modified during 1941 as the advanced trainer model AT-ll "Kansas" (subsequently renamed "Kansan"), which was intended for bombardier and gunnery training, equipped with a small bomb bay, transparent bombardier's nose section, and two .30 cal. machine guns, 1 in the nose and one in a dorsal turret. Of the more than 1500 AT-11s built, 36 were converted to AT-11A advanced navigator trainers.

1.584 AT-11 Kansan's were built during 1941 - 1944.

Twin Beech
Beech UC-45J 422438
Beech C-45J "Expeditor" N6600V
Beech Voyager
Beech 18S Voyager CF-BKN
Beech UC-45J 39213

Cessna Bobcat

The Cessna AT-17 Bobcat was a twin-engined advanced trainer aircraft designed and made in the United States, and used during World War II to bridge the gap between single-engine trainers and twin-engine combat aircraft. The AT-17 was powered by two Jacobs R-755-9 radial piston engines. The commercial version was the Model T-50, from which the AT-17 was developed. [More: Wikipedia]
On this display here is a JRC-1, the Navy light transport version of the UC-78, with two Jacobs R-775-9 engines; 67 were delivered.


B-36 Bomber

The Convair B-36 (nicknamed Peacemaker was a strategic bomber built by Convair and operated solely by the United States Air Force (USAF).
The B-36 was the largest mass-produced piston engined aircraft ever made and the biggest wingspan combat aircraft ever built, although there have been larger military transports.
With a range of over 6,000 miles and a maximum payload of at least 72,000 lbs, the B-36 was the first operational bomber with an intercontinental range, setting the standard for subsequent USAF long range bombers, such as the B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer, and B-2 Spirit. [Source: Wikipedia]
Work on its restoration continues. A lot has been done since it arrived here in Oct.2005; during March 2008 the two large sections (forward plus wings against aft) of the fuselage became bolted together.
Restoring these aircraft is a monumental task and one can only admire those who tackle these challenges so future generations can enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Identity of this PBY-5 or Canso A unknown..?
Remains of PBY-5A N322FA (ASN crash report)
Earles L. McCaul wrote me in aug.2015 with the following update:
"As for those PBY Catalina 'parts', current Pima Aerospace inventory lists these four airframe in different derelict states:
1) N10609 PBY-5A
2) N322PA PBY-5A (red paint scheme), original USN BuNo. 02963.
3) N68756 PBY-5A (silver paint scheme), on wheels, original USN BuNo 46590; Canadian A23-387 markings. 4) Unidentified Canso A."
EMAIL (pls state url of this page to make subject clear).

UPDATE 2018: 'PBY-5As N68756 and N10609 have both been acquired by MotoArt, who specialise in producing high quality artefacts from vintage aircraft.
N68756 has already been moved to California (Mojave) and N10609 will follow in due course.
The Summer 2018 edition of The Catalina News magazine has a full article on MotoArt's Catalina activity.', june2018.
They can both be considered scrapped! End of story.



C-46 Commando

The Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando was an American transport aircraft originally designed for commercial use although it was primarily used during World War II by the United States Army Air Forces. Also known to the men who flew them as "The Whale" or even more irreverently as the "Curtiss Calamity"..
Tthe C-46 served a similar role as its counterpart, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, but was not quite as famous or as extensively produced.
Postwar, C-46s were briefly used in their original role as passenger airliners, but the glut of surplus C-47s dominated the marketplace with the C-46 soon relegated to a secondary status. However, the C-46 was adopted as a rugged cargo aircraft for northern and remote locations with its service life extended into the 21st Century. [Source: Wikipedia]
Note the engine has been named 'Groan'...

N90831 (c/n 1970), restored as TWA's 'Star of Switzerland', is the oldest surviving Connie, the sole surviving C-69...
One can find its entire history described, plus a photo carrying Lake Havasu City titles, on my Bill Hill Gallery
Ralph Pettersen has the true story...:

C-119 Boxcar Fairchild C-119C Flying Boxcar N13743 (c/n 10369) is part of a line up dedicated to aerial firefighters. Airtanker 81 still sits in the colour scheme of former operator Hemet Valley Flying Service. It is a former military transport, having worn the serial 49-0132.

Also included in this area are Grumman AF-2S Guardian N9995Z, Douglas DC-7B N51701 (ex/ T & G Aviation), Fairchild C-123B/K Provider N3142D (ex/ USAF 54-0580) and Lockheed P-2H Neptune N14448 (c/n 8013, ex/ Black Hills Aviation, crashed and restored using parts from P-2 H 147957 c/n 7207).

Shackleton Avro Shackleton WL790

The Avro Shackleton was a British long-range maritime patrol aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force. It was developed by Avro from the Avro Lincoln bomber with a new fuselage. It was originally used primarily in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) roles, and was later adapted for airborne early warning (AEW), search and rescue (SAR) and other roles from 1951 until 1990. It also served in the South African Air Force from 1957 to 1984.
The type is named after the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. [Source: Wikipedia]

For a while there were rumours of WL790 returning to the UK, but it would have been grounded due to regulations, its C of A has expired. WL790 did the air shows in the USA during 2007 and it seems that this remarkable aircraft has found a last resting place here.

This storage yard is off-limits to visitors, however some interesting aircraft are parked here so I snapped a pictures from over the fence.
This is Convair C-131F c/n 308, wearing its military serial 141025 and 'Australia'-markings. This may have something to do with the fact that it seems destined for Australia's Historical Aircraft Restoration Group (HARS).
141025 was towed from the display area into the storage yard some years ago and tailnumber N340CV has been reserved.


Lockheed L-18 Lodestar Bu.12481 c/n 18-2411
More Catalina remains and a C-47
(C-47B 45-1074 c/n 17077/34344)


Now this is a remarkable aircraft: The Budd C-93 Conestoga.
It was the first aircraft of original design to be fabricated entirely of shotwelded stainless steel ((a shortage of light alloys was expected).
It was designed to meet a U.S. Navy specification for a twin-engined cargo carrier and troop transport. The Army version was known as the C-93, but the initial order was cancelled due to delays caused by manufacturing problems. The Navy version was designated the RB-1, but only 25 of the initial 200 ordered were delivered before cancellation of that order. There never was an aluminium shortage.
It saw limited use, after its military career, with cicilian operators. Flying Tigers Cargo operated a few and one was flown by Tucker Automobile Corporation.
It had the same engines as the DC-3 (1200hp P&W R-1830-92 'Twin Wasp') and was underpowered due to its own weight.
YC-125 Another remarkable aircraft: Northrop YC-125 Raider.
Northrop's first post-war civil design was a three-engined STOL passenger and cargo transport named the Northrop N-23 Pioneer. The Pioneer could carry 36 passengers or five tons of cargo and first flew on 21 December 1946. The aircraft had a good performance, but there was little interest due to the availability of cheap war surplus aircraft. The Pioneer was lost in a fatal crash in 1947.
In 1948 the United States Air Force expressed interest in an aircraft of the same configuration and placed an order with Northrop for 23 aircraft, 13 troop transports designated the C-125A Raider and 10 for Arctic rescue work designated the C-125B. With the company designation N-32 Raider the first aircraft flew on 1 August 1949.
[Source: Wikipedia]
N462M is a Martin 404 (also written as 4-0-4), c/n 14153.

When production of the earlier Martin 2-0-2 was stopped due to problems with wing structural failure the company decided to re-wing an improved version (which had already flown as the Martin 3-0-3). The new aircraft was the Martin 4-0-4, it had structural changes to the wings, pressurization and lengthened slightly to take 40 passengers.

N462M was rescued from longtime storage at Sheridan,WY. It had been converted to sprayer to fight insects but was never used as such.
It was flown south in Sep.2001 but not without difficulties. It declared an emergency and landed at Winslow,AZ after an engine failed (check out the cylinder sticking out of the no.2 engine). It was finally delivered to the Pima Air Museum on 12Oct01.

Harpoon Bu.37257

This Lockheed PV-2 (L-15) Harpoon Bu.37257 (civilian registered N7255C, c/n 15-1223) was restored using the rear fuselage of c/n 15-1156 Bu.37190/N6856C.

Guppy Converted from the Boeing 377 (the military designated it C-97) by Aero Spacelines into a remarkable plane is this 'Guppy'..
N940NS (cn 15938/41) was built/converted in 1966 and its purpose was to transport rocket parts for NASA's Apollo program.
This is the second Guppy, the first "Super Guppy" built. Its parts came from at least two different aircraft. The majority of the airframe came from a former Pan American Airways airliner. However the wings, engines and forward fuselage came from one of the Air Force's experimental turbo-prop powered YC-97J aircraft, 52-2693. The Super Guppy continued in use by NASA until 1991, when it was retired in favor of a younger Super Guppy.

This is the military variant upon which that Super Guppy was based, different eh?:


KC-97G 53-0151 was an aerial refueling tanker during the 1950s

This Douglas C-124C Globemaster II (52-1004) fits the 'remarkable' catagory quite well, dont you think?

Warning Star

In the catagory "Look what they've done to my plane, Ma..!" I would include this militiary version of the Queen of the Skies: the Lockheed EC-121T 'Warning Star'. It served the US Air Force Reserve (AFRES) last. Note the bulbous extensions on top and below the fuselage, for surveillance equipment.

The Lockheed Warning Star began development as the US Navy PO-1W, an early model Constellation Airliner modified to carry experimental electronic surveillance equipment. After the PO-1W proved the concept of airborne early warning in large NATO exercises, the US Navy and Air Force ordered large numbers of a developed variant based on the Lockheed Model 1049 Super Constellation. These aircraft entered service as the Navy WV-2, with 244 ordered, and the Air Force EC-121, 82 ordered of which 72 were from US Navy orders.

The Warning Star entered service in 1955, with the final variants being retired from the US Air Force Reserve in 1978. USAF EC-121s were deployed to Vietnam in 1965 to provide coordination, early warning and communications relay. [More...]

Sikorsky S43
A civilian Sikorsky S-43 has been decorated here as a JRS-1, a military variant.

The Sikorsky S-43 was an 18-place twin engine amphibious aircraft, manufactured in the USA during the 1930s by the American firm Sikorsky Aircraft. It was known as the "Baby Clipper" (Army OA-8, USN JRS-1) in airline service. It was used primarily by Pan American World Airways for flights to Cuba. [More: Wikipedia]
The Sikorsky S-43 also saw service with Pan Am in Alaska, see my webpage Aviation History from Phil Smith


B-23 Dragon A very, very smart looking Douglas B-23 Dragon...
This pre-WW2 bomber-turned-executive aircraft has the following history:
USAF 39-51 (c/n 2737) was transferred to the Reconstruction Finance Corp. (RFC) at McKellar Field,TN on 07Nov1944. In 1947 to Roscoe Turner as NX61Y. To Celanese Corporation of America in 1954 as N61Y.
Subsequently went to Pittsburg Construction Company as N34C. And to Consolidated Coal Company as N534C as 1964.
Then to Ohio State University in 1966. Later to become N230SU. To Founders Investment Corp. as N534J in 1968.
To Airlease Inc in 1969. Acquired by USAF Museum and put on display in 1974 here at Pima Air and Space Museum as N61Y.
Source: Joe Baugher's USAF serials

Only 38 Dragons were built and none of them ever entered combat. By mid-1942 all the Dragons had been relegated to training, or transport duties. However, after the war the relatively high speed of the B-23 made it very popular for conversion to executive transports and small airliners.

Click here for MORE



Saved for last... A very interesting display, for me, with a Dutch connection.


An impressive display around this B-17g 44-85828 "I'll Be Around", a tribute to the 390th Bombardment Group which participated to the food dropping over the Netherlands upon conclusion of WW2 when millions faced starvation.
See also

The B-17 "Flying Fortress" was designed, developed, and built by the Boeing Aircraft Corporation of Seattle, Washington in the late 1930s and early 1940s for the U.S. Army to be used in strategic heavy bombardment combat missions against enemy military targets during WW2. Some were built by Douglas Aircraft and some by Lockheed-Vega.
The B-17 went through 8 model changes from the B-17A through the B-17G to increase the payload, increase the speed, add more guns, and increase the altitude at which it could fly. The last change was to add the chin turret with two additional guns to the B-17G to improve fighter protection.





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