USA 2015

Copyright Ruud Leeuw Photos © R.Leeuw

Texas is a big state and two weeks of travelling still wasn't enough to cover it all. I came for Americana music, vintage planes and some history of 'the Old Frontier', a nice mix with plenty to keep me entertained.
For aviation I had planned several air museums.

Texas has aviation history preserved in proper museums, but there is also the Commemorative Air Force with 'squadrons' or 'units' in many places.
The latter has much on offer but opening times are varied: some are open most days of the week, others have it limited to a single day or just the weekend. It required some careful planning, but you'll see a proper number of museums (and airfields) were visited.


1940 Air Terminal Museum

1940 Air Terminal Museum
The '1940 Air Terminal Museum - Houston Municipal Airport' I visited, on nov. 10th, straight from the flight that
brought us into Houston Int'l Airport (IAH); we collected our bags and our rental car and we drove to
William P. Hobby Airport for a visit.

1940 Air Terminal Museum
The museum has a beautiful Lockheed Lodestar in the collection. See MY REPORT for details on N31G.

1940 Air Terminal Museum
I came across this A-26 Invader N4818E parked next to the hangar, however it does not belong to this museum.
Follow the link to the museum report for 2009 photos by Martin Perkins, N4818E at Mallards Landing,GA.

1940 Air Terminal Museum
The 1940 Air Terminal Museum has several rooms brimming with information on early Texan-, or Houston related, airlines.
See My Report.



On Nov.11th I had the pleasure to visit The Lone Star Flight Museum at Galveston-Scholes IAP.
Its collection is registered to the Texas Hall of Fame, but I also found aircraft on display of The Vietnam War Flight Museum
and The Collings Foundation, as well as other collections.

The Lone Star Museum, Galveston,TX
A vintage 'propliner' does not leak oil, it merely marks its spot!

The Lone Star Museum, Galveston,TX

The Lone Star Museum, Galveston,TX
Cessna UC-78B Bobcat N51469 (c/n 6644), previously 43-32706; under restoration.

The Lone Star Museum, Galveston,TX
WWII warbirds

The Lone Star Museum, Galveston,TX
One of my favourite warbirds: Douglas A-1D Skyraider, '126-822/TT' "Uncle Ho's Nightmare" (NX91945).
This Skyraider belongs to the Marine Aviation Museum / Vietnam War Flight Museum.

Going outside I found aircraft of interest too!
The Lone Star Museum, Galveston,TX
Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer N3739G is being disassembled for transport to a new owner: Pima Air Museum.

The Lone Star Museum, Galveston,TX
Beech AT-11 Kansan (c/n 3743, ex/ 42-37240); its registration as N81Y is no longer valid. Painted as Cuban 'FAEC 240'.
See MY FULL REPORT for plenty more aircraft, photos and details.



Highland Lakes Squadron at Burnet (Commemorative Air Force)

Warbirds at Burnet,TX

Warbirds at Burnet,TX
Cessna 195A with one of the briefest tailnumbers possible: N5N.
From FAA's N-inquiry website I learned that is has c/n 7356 and had been registered to James A. Hower
of Horseshoe Bay,TX on 31Aug1989. It was manufactured in 1949. It is not a part of the museum, I found out.
I had the pleasure of a scenic flight in a Ce.195 once, on floats! See my page USA Northeast & Canada 2011

See MY FULL REPORT on this visit



San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF

San Marcos, Central Texas Wing CAF




Texas Air Museum - Stinson Chapter

Texas Air Museum - Stinson Chapter

Texas Air Museum - Stinson Chapter

Texas Air Museum - Stinson Chapter

See MY REPORT dedicated to this visit, lots of 'weird & wonderful' to browse here!



C-47 N8021Z at Fredriscksburg - Gillespie County Airport
Douglas DC-3 (C-47A) N8021Z started its career with the USAAF (full details further below), was operated for civil use
by a series of companies; I read somewhere (but don't know if it is true) that it flew in for an air show and for
whatever reason (engine trouble, ceased for unpaid bills?) got stranded here. Another one wrote that "it flew
in, on borrowed engines, to be an attraction for the nearby Hangar Hotel".

C-47 N8021Z at Fredriscksburg - Gillespie County Airport
In recent years it was done up very nicely and acts as a gate-guard here at Gillespie County Airport.

C-47 N8021Z at Fredriscksburg - Gillespie County Airport
By 20Nov2010, on, N8021Z still had markings applied 'Beep Beep'.
Another source, also shows it before this fine makeover, dated 13Mar2011.

C-47 N8021Z at Fredriscksburg - Gillespie County Airport

C-47 N8021Z at Fredriscksburg - Gillespie County Airport

C-47A-90-DL, c/n 20444
Delivered 03Jun44 43-15978- ATC Morrison 04Jun44 - Miami 10Jun44 - Love 22Jun44 - Nashville 25Aug44 - Tinker 18Dec44 - Nashville 01Apr45 - Gravely Pt 25Nov45
RFC Augusta 04Apr46
NC25644 Winged Cargo Inc, Philadelphia PA (1947) - Standard A/L Inc, Long Beach,CA (1946 to Jun49)
Proctor & Gamble Co., Cincinatti,OH 31Mar53 - N5W Rereg'd 05May53 - N5PG Rr Oct68
CF-QZU, Proctor & Gamble Co. Canada Ltd E19Oct71 - CF-PAG Rr 30Nov71
CF-PAG Laurentian Air Services Ltd, Ottawa 05Sep73 - C-FPAG Rr 1975
Alliance Aviation Ltd - registration lapsed 29Nov77
N8021Z Sunset Acft Sales & Lsg Inc, Miami, R12Jul71 - Atkins Aviation Inc, Rockport,TX R06Oct80
N511AA S Shapiro, Rockport,TX B Jan81 (not taken up)
,IFL Group, Waterford,MI B(bought) 28Aug91 - operated by Corporate Express, 'Beep Beep'
Craftech Enterprises, Inc. McAllen,TX R27Nov98
Falcon Aero Inc, R15May2000
- with International Air titles at Edinburg,TX - engineless in 2001, i/s ('in service on date given') Aug2003.
Reference: Air-Britain, DC-1, DC-2, DC-3 'The First Seventy Years' (Vol.2)


C-47 N8021Z at Fredriscksburg - Gillespie County Airport
'Beep Beep' has changed to 'Sleepy Time Gal' : a distinct improvement I would say!

C-47 N8021Z at Fredriscksburg - Gillespie County Airport
Douglas C-47 N8021Z at Fredericksburg - Gillespie County Airport
In the back is the 'Hangar Hotel'; must try it some day

The Admiral Nimitz Foundation has supported a world-class military museum complex from humble beginnings on Fredericksburg’s Main Street since 1971.
Chester W. Nimitz was a native son of Fredericksburg who achieved greatness as commander of the Central Pacific Theater in World War II.
The original Nimitz Museum has been established in the former Nimitz Hotel.
But I came for the Pacific War Museum a.k.a. National Museum of the Pacific War, as displayed in the George H. Bush Gallery.

Fredricksburg - Pacific War Museum
North American Aviation B-25J Mitchell bomber, 44-86880; at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg,Texas.
This diorama celebrates the 'Doolittle Raid' on Tokyo in WWII; specially-modified B-25s were launched from
the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, a rather daring feat in itself.
This B-25 had been displayed at the now closed Reese AFB for many years, before arriving (in parts) at this
museum; and after being assembled once again, 44-86880 was placed on display in 1999 as '02344'.

History on B-25 44-86880:
United States Air Force, Reese AFB, Lubbock, TX, 1959-1997
- Displayed on pole as 44-6880
National Museum of the Pacific War , Fredericksburg, TX, 1997-present
- Displayed on diorama of U.S.S. Hornet.


Fredricksburg - Pacific War Museum

Not for the first time this trip through Texas I came across 'the Doolittle Raid'...

Yanks Bomb Tokyo!

The Doolittle Raid on 18Apr1942, also known as the Tokyo Raid, was an air raid by the USA on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on Honshu island during WWII, the first air raid to strike the Japanese Home Islands.
It served also as retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 07Dec1941.
The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James Harold 'Jimmy' Doolittle, USAAF.
Sixteen USAAF B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched from the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS Hornet, deep in the Western Pacific Ocean, each with a crew of 5 men. The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China — relanding a medium bomber on Hornet was impossible.
Fifteen aircraft reached China but all crashed, while the 16th landed at Vladivostok in the Soviet Union.
All but three of the 80 crew members initially survived the mission. Eight were captured by the Japanese Army in China; three of those were later executed.
The B-25 that landed in the Soviet Union was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year. Fourteen complete crews, except for one crewman who was killed in action, returned either to the United States or to American forces.
The raid caused negligible material damage to Japan, but it succeeded in its goal of raising American morale and casting doubt in Japan on the ability of its military leaders to defend their home islands

I found it puzzling that I came across so many displays in Texas commemorating the Doolittle raid, since James Harold Doolittle was born in California (1896) and died there too (1993, aged 93).
He did serve in Texas during the early stages of his military career: at Kelly Field he served with the 104th Aero Squadron and with the 90th Aero Squadron of the 1st Surveillance Group; his detachment of the 90th Aero Squadron was based at Eagle Pass, patrolling the Mexican border.
For the above I have consulted:

Fredricksburg - Pacific War Museum
I had this aircraft identified as TBM-1C Avenger BuNo.46214, but I was corrected: it's a wrecked Grumman F4F Wildcat.
George H.W. Bush flew a TBM Avenger torpedo bomber during WW2 and this diorama is dedicated
to that fateful day 02Sep1944, when he was shot down. Perhaps that caused my misidentification.

"As George Bush and his two-man crew dove their Avenger bomber through anti-aircraft fire toward a Japanese radio tower on the volcanic island of Chichi Jima, 150 miles north of Iwo Jima, his plane was hit at 8,000 feet and caught fire. He finished his dive, dropped his four 500-pound bombs successfully on target and headed out to sea.

He could have tried to make a water landing, something he had done once already when another Avenger he was flying lost power. On that occasion, he and his crew got out of the plane and into the life raft before the plane sank. But this time, the burning Avenger could blow up before they got to the water.
He ordered his radio operator and gunner, neither of whom he could see from the cockpit, to "hit the silk", an order heard on the radio by crewmen in other U.S. planes. No response.
He remembers banking his plane steeply to the right to lessen the slipstream pressure on the rear door and help his crew mates exit. Then, at about 3,000 feet, Bush bailed out and hit his head on the plane’s tail.
He landed in the ocean and freed himself from his chute.
Another Avenger dived to signal the location of his life raft, which he swam to and climbed in. His head was bleeding and he was throwing up from having gulped seawater. He secured his revolver and started hand-paddling furiously away from Chichi Jima, where Japanese gunboats had already headed out to get him.
Avengers and the Hellcat fighters that protected them strafed the boats, but soon had to return to San Jacinto.

Young George, who would later be awarded the Navy’s Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions that day, didn’t feel much like a hero. He feared correctly that his crew mates were dead. In that life raft, he began asking himself the question that still haunts him in his Houston office at age 82: “Did I do all I could to save them?” In the raft, he cried.
It seemed like a miracle when more than two hours later the periscope of the submarine USS Finback appeared. "Welcome aboard, sir," a sailor said as Bush was hauled on deck while the sub’s photographic officer recorded the scene on his 8mm camera. Aboard Finback that night, Bush slept fitfully and had the first of many nightmares about his Chichi Jima mission and the fate of his crew mates, John 'Del' Delaney, who had been his radio operator the whole time aboard San Jacinto, and William 'Ted' White, the son of a Bush family acquaintance and the ship’s ordinance officer, who had repeatedly asked Bush to take him on a bombing run for the experience. That morning, White had won approval from Bush and his squadron leader to replace Bush’s regular gunner, Leo Nadeau, on a single mission.
Although Bush didn’t know it just after the crash, one crewman on his plane, according to the squadron commander’s action report, also had bailed out, but his parachute didn’t open and he fell to his death. The bodies of Delaney and White were never found."
From:, article by Walt Harrington (in part)

Fredricksburg - Pacific War Museum
Wrecked Grumman 'Wildcat' in the National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg,TX.
The website provided the following identification details:
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat, Last Military Serial: 74161 USN
For the museum's location and its 'aircraft inventory' that same website may be of help, HERE..

Pacific War Museum
The Kawanishi N1K Kyōfū (Allied code name 'Rex')
Those floats must have been hell for the aerodynamics of this aircraft!

Fredricksburg - Pacific War Museum

The Kawanishi N1K Kyōfū ('strong wind', Allied reporting name 'Rex') was an Imperial Japanese Navy floatplane fighter.
The Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden ('Violet Lightning') was an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service land-based version of the N1K.
Assigned the Allied codename 'George', the N1K-J was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during World War II.
The Shiden Kai possessed heavy armament as well as surprisingly good manoeuvrability, due to a mercury switch that automatically extended the flaps during turns. These 'combat' flaps created more lift, thereby allowing tighter turns.
Unlike the A6M Zero, the Shiden Kai could compete against the best late-war fighters, such as the F6F Hellcat, the F4U Corsair and P-51 Mustang.
Despite such capability, it was produced too late and in insufficient numbers to affect the outcome of the war.


Fredricksburg - Pacific War Museum
I had a bit of trouble finding this plane! Until I found it became only visible when a presentation was started.
It probably displays a Japanese 'Zero' but I do not know if it is authentic. It is displayed behind a screen.
Terry Fletcher of provided the identity: Aichi D3A1 Val ('Allies'), c/n: 3357

The Pacific War Museum, George H Bush Gallery
Within the Gallery the story of the Pacific War is told through multi-media presentations, exhibits and historic artifacts.
Of which I display here only the pictures of the aircraft on display here. The Pacific Theater was not a sideshow to
the war in Europe, but a conflict that affected the course of world history.
I had only two and a half hours for this museum and I was forced to rush myself.





ATL.98 Carvair N89FA 'Miss Annie'' at Gainesville, Texas
Driving east, from Abilene to Dallas on Nov.21st, I took a detour for Gainesville. For many years this peculiar 'propliner'
had stood inactive here. But when the date of my visit approached I felt restless, for people were hard at work here
to bring it back to airworthiness and fly it out of here! As always, when restoring these vintage transports, issues
kept popping up and even the Christmas deadline wasn't met: a flight out wasn't going to happen in 2015.

ATL.98 Carvair N89FA 'Miss Annie'' at Gainesville, Texas
In 2001 I had come across this same Carvair N89FA at Thomaston,GA.
I have its history described in details on my DEEP SOUTH 2001 REPORT

The Aviation Traders ATL-98 Carvair was a large piston four-engined transport aircraft. It was a Douglas DC-4-based air ferry developed by Freddie Laker's Aviation Traders (Engineering) Limited (ATL), with a capacity of 25 passengers and five cars, loaded at the front.
Freddie Laker's idea to convert surplus examples of the Douglas DC-4 and its military counterpart the C-54 Skymaster to carry cars, was a relatively inexpensive solution to develop a successor to the rapidly aging and increasingly inadequate Bristol 170 Freighter, the car ferry airlines' mainstay since the late 1940s.

The Carvair was used by Aer Lingus, BUAF and BAF among others, and was used in Congo-Kinshasa during 1960-1964, under contract to the United Nations.
Aircraft for Aer Lingus were quickly convertible between 55 seats and 22 seats with five cars. Some aircraft were pure freighters with only nine seats. One aircraft had 55 high-density seats and room for three cars.
BAF was the last operator in Europe of the aircraft, keeping them flying into the 1970s.

Of the 21 airframes, 8 were destroyed in crashes (one each in Rotterdam, Netherlands 1962; Karachi, Pakistan 1967; Twin Falls, Canada 1968; Le Touquet, France 1971; and four in the United States: Miami, Florida 1969; Venetie, Alaska 1997; Griffin, Georgia also in 1997; and McGrath, Alaska in 2007).

The Zambian-registered 9J-PAA, the 21st and final Carvair built, is in South Africa with Phoebus Apollo Aviation. It has been inactive for many years, but rumors persist it will fly again one day.
I photographed it in 2004, see MY SOUTH AFRICA VISIT.

Another Carvair (N898AT, the 20th built) had been airworthy, but was written off after crashing while landing on 30 May 2007 at the airstrip at Nixon Fork Mine in Alaska.
Satellite imagery (Google Earth) dated September 2006 and still visible in 2014 shows the wreckage of the 7th Carvair on a sand and gravel bar at 67°1′16.63″N 146°31′53.51″W in the Chandalar River near Venetie, Alaska.
N898AT can be seen on various pages on my website: Photos by Friends & Guests (5), ATL.98 Carvair N898AT in final stages of restoration and Bliss with Brooks!

A little birdie, close to the source, told me that 'in due course' Annie will be flown to Castle Airport by Sam Knaub...


ATL.98 Carvair N89FA 'Miss Annie'' at Gainesville, Texas

N89FA /'Miss 1944', the 9th Carvair) has been based here at the Gainesville Municipal Airport (KGLE), and was supposed to do ad-hoc cargo charters throughout the United States, with Gator Global Flying Services. But it did not see much activity.
This was the aircraft that participated in the 2005 World Freefall Convention in Rantoul, Illinois, setting the record for the largest number of people to fly in a Carvair when it carried 80 skydivers and five crew to an altitude of 10,500 feet. Piloted by Captain John Harms and Captain Chris Rice, the climb took only 38 minutes.


ATL.98 Carvair N89FA 'Miss Annie'' at Gainesville, Texas
When I came across 'Miss Annie', N89FA also carried 'Fat Annie'-titles: they're gone?
N89FA was bought in Feb.2001 by a new owner: Deems Clifton, an Ohio attorney and pilot. The Carvair was ferried
in Nov.2001 to Columbus,OH - to have de-icing boots fitted. In coöperation with a Dallas businessman & Alabama investor,
Aviation Services / Avignon Inc was started - with hopes for a renewed commercial career for 'Miss Annie'. For this
N89FA was relocated to Texas: to Grayson County Airport near Sherman. Sherman is only some 35 miles from Gainesville.

Rereg'd 09Jan03 for Gator Global Flying Svcs, Cincinnatti,OH.
When I checked flighttracker on in March 2008, I noticed N89FA's last flight
by Gator Global had been... 560 days ago! Mobile Reg'l to Gainesville Mun'l on 21Jul06.

ATL.98 Carvair N89FA 'Miss Annie'' at Gainesville, Texas
Reg'd 13Mar12 to South African Air Lease, c/o Michael Kerney (Attorney) of Clayton (MO), this evidently did not
come to fruition. Although it is as yet unknown for whom, and with what purpose in mind, 'Miss Annie'
is being restored: it can only be good for it is truly a unique aircraft.

For further browsing: Photo Special on the N89FA by Graham Shevlin

Marc Hookerman wrote on Fat Annie's Facebook page early March 2016:
"I recently stopped by Gainesville to speak with my contact and saw some nice, new aesthetic items have been added; a new black glare shield on the nose and extended vertical stabilizer accents - both of which are reminiscent of British United - added for in-flight photos during ferry.
As I mentioned previously, the current owners of Annie are negotiating sale to a new party.
Subsequently, they are planning on ferrying the aircraft to the desert (tentatively Mojave) for hangar and complete restoration in approximately April (pending personnel availability to complete remaining repairs and open maintenance items).
This will put the airplane to rest for quite some time (i.e., 2+ years) while engines are overhauled, airframe is restored, and complete respray, in what sounds like original British United livery, is completed."

A source close to the project reported that Sam Knaub will be piloting the aircraft from Texas to Castle Airport in California when the time comes.





Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
North American B-25J Mitchell bomber, N7687C (44-28925) How 'Boot That!? Isn't she a beauty!

Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
Curtiss-Wright Travel Air 4000, NC6425

Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
Fairchild PT-19B Cornell, '305226/ED', named 'Rosalie'. It also has markings of 'Grider Field' in black lettering.

Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
My days engrossed in of Buck Danny's adventures with the Flying Tigers come alive seeing this P-40 Warhawk!

Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
North American P-51D Mustang 472339 'The Brat III"

Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
Vultee SNV-2 Valiant, N61483 / 44177 (cn 79-1420)
Once America was fully involved in World War II, Vultee received orders for more than 10.000 SNV/BT-13s,
making the plane one of the most important American trainer aircraft of that war.

Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
This Christen Eagle II (N724RC, c/n 002) was built by James Cavanaugh in 1997 (according to FAA N-inquiry)

Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
Canadair F-86 Sabre Mk.IV 12821 / FU-821
My list (supposedly from 2011) had F-86E Sabre '51-2821' / NX468911 here, but perhaps it received a makeover?

Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison (Dallas,TX)
MiG-21US Mongol B, 4504, painted in the colors of the 921st Fighter Regiment ('Sao Do') of
the North Vietnamese Air Force ca. 1968.





Vintage Flying Museum, Meacham Field,TX
DC-3 'Southern Cross' in perfect splendour

Vintage Flying Museum, Meacham Field,TX
'FIFI' is a surviving Boeing B-29 Superfortress, and as of July 2015, the only one currently flying. It is owned by the Commemorative Air Force, currently based at the Vintage Flying Museum located at Meacham International Airport,
Fort Worth,TX. 'FIFI' tours the U.S.A. and Canada, taking part in air shows and offering flight experiences.

Vintage Flying Museum, Meacham Field,TX

Vintage Flying Museum, Meacham Field,TX
Very much a working hangar with interesting projects, such as the restoration of A-26 'Special Kay'





Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas
The museum has artifacts, aeroplanes and information on display depicting all era of aviation

Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas
That 'Flying Pancake' is something else!

Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas
This Sopwith Pup, a WWI fighter plane, is proudly flying the American flag

Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas
A very pleasant surprise for me was this display on Air America.
The University of Dallas has quite a reputation for studies and its archive on the war in S.E.Asia and on Air America in particular

Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas - Braniff display
Worthy of a visit to this museum in itself: an extensive tribute to Braniff International!




The 1940 Air Terminal Museum at William P. Hobby (Houston) Airport
Lone Star Flight Museum / Vietnam War Flight Museum (Galveston)
Highland Lakes Squadron (CAF), Burnet
Ghost Squadron, Central Texas Wing, San Marcos
Texas Air Museum - Stinson Chapter (San Antonio)
Cavanaugh Flight Museum (Addison)
Vintage Flying Museum, Ft.Worth
Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas

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Reactions / comments welcomed.