Photos © Ruud Leeuw

USA Southwest 2008

Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport,CA



When we got up that friday morning, 30May08, it appeared the sombre, gloomy weather of recent days had followed us. The weather had certainly gone up and down here in past weeks as I had seen images on tv of intense firefighting activity in Northern California.
We drove to Santa Rosa's Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport (IATA: STS, ICAO: KSTS; the airport is named after Charles M. Schulz, the famed cartoonist of the Peanuts comic strip, who lived and worked in Santa Rosa for more than 30 years), to have a look at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. Unfortunately, the information on the website was confirmed: it was closed on fridays.

IL-14 A A few images over the (large) fence: here is Ilyushin IL-14P with Polish markings and registration '0606'.
It has c/n 4340606 and has been registered in the US as N606RR.
Its c/n has also been quoted as 14800606 and 1480606.
Gerard Helmer saw it at Reno Stead in 1994 in slightly different markings.

Of Douglas DC-6B N111AN only the cockpit section remains. In its career it carried the following tailnumbers: HB-IBO OH-DCB SX-DAM. It was used as a sprayer in Quebec and flown by T&G Aviation when converted to air tanker. It was scrapped here at Santa Rosa, but this bit is allowed to live on...
Gerard Helmer saw it as Tanker 46 in 1990 here at Santa Rosa - Charles M. Schulz / Sonoma County (STS)

Behind it is Grumman HU-16E Albatross c/n G-334, in US Coast Guard colours with serial 7245. It has previously been registered as N70262.


I had a look at the main entrance of the airport and noticed this Grumman HU-16C Albatross parked near a hangar. This is N9131 G-333, ex/ BuNo.131904. This photo was taken from an office next to a hangar in which I also got a glimpse from a Twin Beech.
I asked at the FBO (seen here in the background) to get ramp access but this was denied. I later realized they might have misunderstood me for Pictures of those expensive jets as I remembered something about 'client confidentiality'... Oh well.

A company called Aerocrafters operates a restoration and maintenance facility here, working primarily on warbirds and in particular the HU-16 Albatross. Three HU-16s were bought from the Brazilian Air Force in 1996 of which only two were ferried to the US (N98HU & N99HU).
But a number of Albatross owners have based their aircraft here to take advantage of Aerocrafter's facilty.

Albatrosses galore


This HU-16 Albatross seems devoid of any markings.
Noteworthy is the top of the tailfin is missing. I think this is N98HU (G-33), ex/Brazil AF 6531, PP-ZAV..???

HU-16C N416C G-296 (BuNo. 131911)
Since 15Sep88 registered to Lynn Hunt.

Santa Rosa air tanker base
I walked over to the air tanker base and as always I found a friendly welcome, never misses.

Yours truly

badge old / new
I got a nice tour from Sean, who also showed the difference of old and new badges. On his shoulder is the CDF badge and I pasted the current badge into this photo, showing the CDF being renamed CAL FIRE.
More on WIKIPEDIA...
N438DF Tanker 85
Grumman S-2T N438DF (ex/ 151640)
N414DF OV-10
OV-10A Bronco N414DF (cockpit)


Grumman Tracker N433DF c/n 0865-011

HU-16 N43155

N43155 Grumman HU-16C Albatross N43155 (cn G-423) sits in the middle of the airfield, hidden from sight except from here. A good thing we drove all around this airport (had to drive the same way back, we couldn't go full circle it seems).

It is an ex/ US Navy bird (141276).
N43155 was registered on 13Sep91 to Grant Engineering & Manufacturing of Richmond,CA but this seems no longer valid.

Jim Long wrote me the following update in Jan.2009...
"The Short Solent flying boat at Oakland's Western Aerospace Museum a.k.a. (renamed) Oakland Aviation Museum, is owned by the owner of N43155.
Rick Grant, of Grant Engineering, Richmond, CA owns the Solent aircraft, along with his brother Randy.
Rick still owns the HU-16 solely. The brother, Randy, had been a partner but is no longer.
Rick and Randy had bought the Solent with the idea of flying it to the South Pacific... In the early 1970's Lloyd Hamilton, who had owned a Hawker Sea Fury FB 11 (also on the Sonoma County Airport) with a Bristol Centaurus sleeve valved engine, was familiar with the Bristol engines on the Solent. Lloyd inspected the airframe of the Solent at the request of Rick and Randy Grant. He told them there was no way this aircraft would fly to the South Pacific due to the vast amount of work that was needed to repair the corrosion throughout the airframe and getting parts for those Bristol engines... Sad!
This plane had been used in the opening scenes of the first Raiders of the Lost Ark movie.
Rick and Randy then decided a Grumman HU-16 would be more better suited for South Pacific flights, as parts are readily available and they are a great flyer."


131594/RT, Douglas C-118A (c/n 43697) N777SQ (belongs to the museum here). 131594
Btw, two DC-6's wore N777SQ as a tailnumber, c/n 44071 from 1975 - 1979 and c/n 43697 from 1982 - present. Thanks Aad!

Nicely done up and seen august 2013 by Roger Botting on Photos by Friends & Guests (38)

And last but not least, a Douglas DC-3...
The tailnumber seems to start with N25... ???
Read on...!

Douglas DC-3-DST N139D (c/n 2165) has been suggested as a candidate, but the tailnumber (close up) is different. N139D is still current on FAA's N-inquiry page, registered to Lee Schaller on 15Aug84.
During the 1990s I saw it at nearby Schellville Airport (23982 Arnold Drive), where Google Maps still shows it, but I guess I overlooked it upon my May08 visit!

What is more, this is no DC-3-DST: N139D has the door on the righthand side. Any other suggestions...?

Alexandre Avrane ( suggested:

  • N25641 (9059), last known with Legend Airways in Colorado in 2001. Their web is down, presumably folded.
  • N25646 (2234), damaged 5/9/04, sold in 2006 to Rich Flying Services, Oregon; no further report
  • N.b. The former is a C-47 while the latter is a DC-3-201C. So N25641 seems probable...

    Aad van der Voet ( replied to this:
    "N25641 has Viewmaster windows, and the rear door is a bottom-hinged passenger door. The one in Ruud's photo has normal windows, and the rear door is a big cargo door, with hinges on the left and right side. It's not N25641!
    But N25646 does seem to fit. Also, I can't find any other candidates..."

    My database shows N25646 was registered to Rich's Flying Service Inc (Newport,OR) on 07Mar06. But I found no website of this company in order to facilitate inquiries. So confirmation would be welcomed!

    UPDATE¬ Found DC-3A N25646 (c/n 2234) for sale in July 2020 on "This DC-3 was operated by central Iowa airlines as a passenger aircraft. It was later converted to a freighter aircraft.
    It has dual cargo doors, cargo floor, parachute jump door, gill liner interior, an interior power cargo winch and heavy landing gear. The aircraft was later fitted with 8 passenger seats. Some spare parts and support equipment are included. Part 125 R.F.S. progressive maintenance program.
    The many logbooks and progressive maintenance binders are available for inspection at the airplane's location in Santa Rosa, CA."

    N25646 Santa Monica
    N25646 Trans Texas Air Jim Long wrote me in january 2009, solving this question I had been struggling with since May 2008..
    He wrote: " Hello, I came across your website the other day..
    I wanted to update the information for the DC-3 that is sitting in an area on the south side of the airport at the Charles M. Schulz, Sonoma County Airport, Santa Rosa, CA known as the Gun Club.
    The DC-3 is N25646.
    The data plate on the LH aft side of the aircraft says it is a DC-3A, s/n 2234. On the LH side of the aircraft up high are faint letters that spelled out: Trans Texas Air.
    I used to live on the west side of the airport until a few years ago when the TSA said the mobile home I was living in had to be removed from the property. Even though the home had been there 35 years prior...
    There is an Experimental Aircraft Association chapter 124 on this site as well.
    These photos were taken on Sunday, January 4th, 2009.
    A few years ago this aircraft flew in. It was parked and from time to time someone works on it."
    James Long
    Santa Rosa, CA



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