Photos © Ruud Leeuw

USA Southwest 2008





Having spent 2 enjoyable nights in enchanting Sedona, it was time to hit the road again!
The weather had changed to overcast, an occasional shower and strong winds. An enormous change compared to Phoenix a few days ago!
We headed to Valle, on our way to Page, where we would nightstop. And we got a brief glimps of the Grand Canyon but that is for another webpage. Am sure most people travel with different priorities, but there it is, my only excuse is I have been to the Grand Canyon before and not to Valle!

Invader The weather being what it was, I first took my attention inside and had a look at the aircraft on display here.

This is Douglas A-26B Invader N8026E (c/n 28602), which carried the previous identities: 44-35323, N8026E and CF-CDD.
After Aero Union purchased it in 1969, they converted N8026E to air tanker configuration; it flew as tanker 55.
Conair Aviation of Abbotsford,BC purchased it in May 1970 and registered it as CF-CDD. During Sep70-1972 it went back to Aero Union (N8026E) flying it as tanker C55.
William Dempsey of East Wenatchee,WA bought it in 1977 and flew it as tanker 55.
After Don A. Goodman (Missoula,MT) bought it in 1977, it went to Lester Riley (Anchorage,AK) around 1978. It became involved in a rather peculiar mission, being used as a "River Sander", dropping sand and crushed coral on frozen rivers to aid in ice breakup..!
It was also used as fire bomber.
Next owner was Dr. Don Rogers (Anchorage,AK) around 1979.
Then it went to the Air Museum at Chino,CA (July 1980-1992), flown as 435323/"Ginny Sue".
Its flying days over, it went to the Air Museum/Planes Of Fame here at Valle during 2002 and is kept as a static display.

On display here is A-1 Skyraider BuNo 126997, which started its career with the French l'Armee de l'Air in 1961. []

The Douglas A-1 (formerly AD) Skyraider was a U.S. single-seat attack bomber of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. A propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, the Skyraider had a remarkably long and successful career.
The A-1 was originally designed to meet World War II requirements for a carrier-based, single-place, long-range, high performance dive-/torpedo bomber. Used over Korea and briefly over North Vietnam, it was adopted as the primary ground support attack for the U.S. Air Force and South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) during the Vietnam War.
[More: Wikipedia]

Stinson V-77 Reliant (AT-19) NC79496 (77-131), ex/ 42-46770, FK944.
The Stinson Reliant was popular single-engine 4-5 seat high-wing monoplane manufactured by the Stinson Aircraft Division of the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation of Wayne, Michigan. After the war they were put to civilian market as the Vultee V-77.
[Source: Wikipedia]
Use of various Stinson models in Alaska can be seen on my website dedicated to Lars Opland's collection. Another website, which has a large selection of Stinson Reliant photos online, is

Another unusual and remarkable aircraft is the Grumman Duck...

The G-15 was an improved version of the earlier JF Duck, differing by having a longer float. It was ordered by the United States Navy as the J2F 'Duck'.
The J2F-1 Duck first flew on 2 April 1936 powered by a 750hp (559kW) Wright R-1820 Cyclone, and was delivered to the US Navy on the same day.
The J2F-2 had a Wright Cyclone engine but boosted to 790hp (589kW).
Twenty J2F-3 variants were built in 1939 for use as executive transports for the Navy with plush interiors. Pressure of work following the United States entry into the war in 1941 production of the J2F Duck was transferred to the Columbia Aircraft Corporation of New York. They produced 330 aircraft for the Navy and US Coast Guard. [Source: Wikipedia].
Grumman J2F-6 Duck '8583' lives in Alaska has been reported for sale; see photos of Martin Prince Jr.

Photos of other aircraft here on display inside the museum can be seen in a presentation through a link at bottom page.

Propliners True vintage airliners decorate the tarmac here: in the foreground Martin 404 N636X (c/n 14135) and further down is N240HH, which is a Convair CV240 c/n 47.

Proudly sticking out these remarkable engines, is this true vintage Ford 5-AT-C 'Tri-motor'. While it is presently registered as N414H, it carried a number of identities in its career: NC414H, XA-BCX, NC414H, NX414H, NC414H, XA-BKS and LG-AFA.


Maintenance is done to have N414H ready for the air display season. Hope to get a ride on it some day!
For now I have to do with these photos. Pictures of its interior are to be seen through the presentation link at bottom page.

N414H on

Stinson SM-1 Detroiter, N4768B

The 6-seat Stinson SM-1 Detroiter made its first flight on 25Jan1926 the first fixed-wing aircraft with a heated, soundproof cabin, electric starter and wheel brakes. Stable in flight, the Detroiter became an overnight success.

Exiting the hangar, I found the sun had made its appearance once more...
N240HH was registered to Planes of Fame in 1982; a few times 'a sale was reported' but in 2004 it was repainted in this Western Airlines livery by the museum.
Apparently the only inaccuracy is the 'Chamberlain radome', that was never on it when operated by Western.

This Martin 404 was sold to Jeff Whitesell of Airlines of America, previously having owned this aircraft during 1973-1976; it was seen all silver at Renton 07jul94.
It was meant for the air show circuit (1995) and I photographed it at Camarillo in May97, in the Confederate AF park. Unfortunately it proved too much to keep this aircraft flying through privat initiative and it was delivered on 29Feb08 to Valle's location of the Planes of Fame museum, after 11 years of storage at Camarillo.
See also my page regarding that delivery Photos by Guests & Friends (12).


Lockheed C-121A Constellation N422NA / '8613' (c/n 2605) is preserved here by Planes of Fame Museum at Valle Airport Grand Canyon and is the eye-catcher for people driving by.
It was delivered to the USAF in January 1949 as C-121A with serial 48-613. It participated in the Berlin Airlift
In 1950 it was converted to a VC-121A and was the first VC-121A fitted with APS-10 weather radar.
It became the personal aircraft of General MacArthur from Sep50 - Apr51 and was named "Bataan". Next it became the personal aircraft of General Ridgeway from 1952 to 1953.
Transferred to HQ, Pacific Air Command as VIP transport from 1953 to late 1965, when it was declared surplus by the USAF and briefly stored at Davis Monthan AFB,AZ.
In June 1966 it went to NASA for use by the Goddard Space Center, Greenbelt,MD as NASA 422; the NASA stripped out the VIP interior and installed instrumentation for use on the Apollo space program. Registered N422NA in June 1969.
Retired by NASA in 1969 and flown to the US Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker on March 10, 1970; declared surplus by the Army and sold to the Planes of Fame Museum in mid-1992.
It was made airworthy at Fort Rucker and ferried to Dothan,AL during June 1993 for additional restoration and flown to Addison,TX in May 1994 for restoration of the interior.
In Dec94 it was flown to Chino,CA and onward to The Planes of Fame Museum Annex in Valle, AZ early 1995. So now we find it on display at the museum as 48-613 "Bataan" with interior restored to how it was during service with General MacArthur. [Source: Connie Survivors]
Unfortunately, I was not allowed to have a look inside as the cabindoor had been taken out for repairs at Chino, fixing some storm damage; entry was now blocked by temporary measures to keep the weather out.

Peter Heeneman forwarded me an article, published in the Winter 2007 edition of the AAHS journal; included in this article was also detailed information on the 'Bataan'. Click here to open the Acrobat Reader document.

UPDATE, which reached me on 13Apr2015:
The Lockheed VC-121A Constellation has been sold to Lewis Air Legends of Texas!
"Planes of Fame Air Museum’s Lockheed VC-121A Constellation has been sold to Lewis Air Legends of Texas who plans to restore the Aircraft to flying condition.
This ‘Connie’, named ‘Bataan’, was the personal aircraft of General Douglas MacArthur Supreme Commander Allied Powers during the Korean War.
We look forward to seeing it fly on the Airshow circuit.

The Planes of Fame Air Museum acquired the aircraft over 20 years ago and operated it for a short time before putting it on display at our Valle, AZ location.
The sale of this aircraft will help advance our mission of preserving aviation history, inspiring interest in aviation, educating the public and honoring aviation pioneers and veterans." (April 10, 2015)

UPDATE 15Jan2016: Lockheed Constellation C-121A N422NA 'Bataan', after residing at the Valle Airport south of Grand Canyon National Park for many years, flew to California on 14Jan2016, for a major retrofit.
Eventually it will continue to Lewis Air Legends in Texas.
YouTube footage of this event by Tom Martin:
On my page Photos by Friends & Guests (44) are images of 'Bataan' at Chino on 20Jan2016 by Gerben Groothuis.


Click on the image for more photos taken here at Valle,AZ

Planes of Fame at Valle,AZ

The Road Goes On... back to US Southwest 2008

Reactions / comments welcomed.