In october I revisited the southwest for a combination of memories, the open roads, scenery, tourist sights and... vintage planes. Some hightlights were planned, but I also like to look into local airports with an eye for tarmac turtles, hangar relics and flightline mummies, the neglected, abandoned and/or derelict aircraft.
SKYDIVE AZ - ELOY
N90764 Murrayair (Emair) MA-1 (mfr 1973) made me look up the type in Wikipedia-
'The Emair MA-1 Paymaster was a 1960s American agricultural biplane aircraft built by Emair, which was part of the Hawaiian Murray company. The prototype was constructed and flown in New Zealand, with production aircraft built in the United States at Harlingen,TX.
The prototype Murrayair MA-1 was built by Air New Zealand on behalf of Murrayair Limited of Hawaii, United States. Based on the Stearman 75 Kaydet. It had an increased wing area and modification to the forward fuselage to accommodate a pilot (in a raised cockpit for better visibility), a jump seat (used to carry an assistant or mechanic between stations), and a chemical hopper.
It first flew in New Zealand on 27 July 1969, then it was dismantled and shipped to Hawaii to obtain United States certification. Type certificate was obtained on on 14 April 1970.
The production aircraft were named Agronemair MA-1 Paymaster at first, then designated the Emair MA-1 Paymaster. Production ended in 1976, after 25 had been built.
In 1975 Emair developed an improved version, the Emair MA-1B Diablo 1200. At the end of the 1980s the company halted production after a further 23 Diablos had been built.'
Unidentified SC.7 Skyvan; probably one of a batch imported from Asia or Australia.
Most suggestions point to VH-WGT, Skyvan c/n SH.1960. It was operated by Fugro Airborne Surveys in
Australia (Airliners.net, 2009). It was modifed in Perth in the mid-1990s, by World Geoscience Corporation, for
low level survey work. This aircraft has been around, in Australia and all over the world, one project after another.
VH-WGT was supposed to be reregisterd as N72LH (05Apr16) and last noted 02Dec16 dismantled @Perth for shipment.
The Short SC.7 Skyvan (nicknamed the 'Flying Shoebox') is a British 19-seat twin-turboprop aircraft manufactured by Short Brothers of Belfast in Northern Ireland. It is used mainly for short-haul freight and skydiving.
It was popular with freight operators, compared to other small aircraft, because of its large rear door for loading and unloading freight.
Above & below: N204BD, deHavilland DHC-6-200 (c/n 204), Kavalair LLC (Marion,MT). Reg'd 14Jan08 .
deHavilland DHC-6 N194LH (c/n 194), reg'd 03Dec2013 for Airborne Support Group LLC (Marion,MT)
Lockheed L.18 N631LS (c/n 2402), reg'd 09May2014 for Lawrence E. Hill (Marion,MT)
It is the privat plane of the owner of SkyDive AZ, I was told.
Note those curtains at the windows
This seems to be the active maintenance hangar. The Lockheed L.18 was due out for an engine testrun, but
that did not happen during my visit here (in spite of a waiting break at that nice 'skydive' café!)
Beech C-45H N2625 (AF-601, manufactured in 1952; reg'd 22Jan1987 to Aero Specialist Inc (Eloy,AZ)
Short SC.7 (Series 3) Skyvan N39LH (c/n SH.1920, mfr 1973); reg'd 28Jan08 for KavalAir LLC (Marion,MT)
A lot of maintenance going on in here...
Short SC.7 (Srs.3) Skyvan N52LH (c/n 1968); reg'd 29Oct2013 for Airborne Support Group LLC (Marion,MT)
Short Brothers plc, usually referred to as Shorts or Short, is an aerospace company based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Shorts was founded in 1908 in London, and was the first company in the world to make production aircraft. It was particularly notable for its flying boat designs manufactured into the 1950s.
In 1943 Shorts was nationalised and later denationalised, and in 1948 moved from its main base at Rochester, Kent to Belfast.
In the 1960s, Shorts mainly produced turboprop airliners, major components for aerospace primary manufacturers, and missiles for the British Armed Forces.
In 1989 Shorts was bought by Bombardier, and is today the largest manufacturing concern in Northern Ireland. Prior to that merger, the authorized capital share by the owner was: HM Government, 69.5% (majority share;) Rolls-Royce Ltd, 15.25%; Harland & Wolff Ltd, 15.25%.
The company's products include aircraft components, engine nacelles and aircraft flight control systems for its parent company Bombardier Aerospace, and for Boeing, Rolls-Royce Deutschland, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.
Skyvan N52LH again, seen from the other side.
Here we find the aircraft which are operational, I think.
Short SC.7 (Series 3) Skyvan N41LH (c/n SH.1977); reg'd 23Jan2014 for Skyventure Arizona LLC (Reno,NV)
Short SC.7 (Series 3) Skyvan N46LH (c/n SH.1927); reg'd 21Jan2012 for Skyventure Arizona LLC (Reno,NV)
Short SC.7 (Series 3) Skyvan N14LH (c/n SH.1926): reg'd 19Nov2013 for Airborne Support Group LLC (Marion,MT)
Short SC.7 (Series 3) Skyvan N28LH (c/n SH.1851); reg'd 08Jan2008 for KavalAir LLC (Marion,MT)
Short SC.7 (Series 3) Skyvan N26LH (c/n SH.1925); reg'd 08Jan2008 for KavalAir LLC (Marion,MT)
deHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter N924MA (c/n 216); reg'd 14Apr1994 for Para Drop (Eloy,AZ)
deHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter N128WJ (c/n 128, mfr 1968); reg'd 14Jan2008 for KavalAir LLC (Marion,MT)
The deHavilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, currently marketed as the Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter, is a Canadian 19-passenger STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) utility aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada and currently produced by Viking Air. The aircraft's fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL capabilities, twin turboprop engines and high rate of climb have made it a successful commuter passenger airliner as well as a cargo and Medevac aircraft. In addition, the Twin Otter has been popular with commercial skydiving operations, and is used by the United States Army Parachute Team and the United States Air Force's 98th Flying Training Squadron.
Development of the aircraft began in 1964, with the first flight on May 20, 1965. A twin-engine replacement for the single-engine DHC-3 Otter retaining DHC's renowned STOL qualities.
The first six aircraft produced were designated Series 1, indicating that they were prototype aircraft. The initial production run consisted of Series 100 aircraft, serial numbers seven to 115 inclusive. In 1968, Series 200 production began with serial number 116.
After Series 300 production ended, the remaining tooling was purchased by Viking Air of Victoria, British Columbia, which manufactures replacement parts for all of the out-of-production de Havilland Canada aircraft. On February 24, 2006, Viking purchased the type certificates from Bombardier Aerospace for all the out-of-production deHavilland Canada aircraft (DHC-1 through DHC-7).
Viking Air production, first delivered in July 2010, is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engines and available on standard landing gear, straight floats, amphibious floats, skis, wheel skis, or intermediate flotation landing gear.
CASA GRANDE AZ
P-51D-30NT, serial 45-11628 (ex/ N5446V)
1961: N5446V, Michael Coutches, Hayward CA
1966: N151X, Walter Stewart, Monterey CA
1973: N151X, Jack Flaherty, Monterey CA, Race #8
1975: N151X, John Johnson, Rexburg ID
1981: N151X, William Hane, Mesa AZ, "Ho Hun"
1996: Oct 02, N151X, Ho Hun Inc, Mesa AZ
2004: Oct 27, N151X, B & M HUN LLC, Mesa AZ
2013: Jan 01, N151X, Dulcinea Enterprise LLC, Mesa AZ
Serial number 44-11628, coded CY H and it has a noteable black prop.
Reportedly on display at Champlin Fighter Museum (Mesa AZ), but evidently here with GossHawk for maintenance.
Perhaps an even more impressive warbird here: Focke-Wulf Fw190, N190DK (serial 1134, mfr 1943)
Impressive display of decals on '170346', N190DK
The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger (EN: Shrike) is a German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by
Kurt Tank in the late 1930s and widely used during World War II. [Wikipedia]
ARADO-FLUGZEUGWERKE GMBH FW190 A-5 N190DK
Reg'd 04Jan2011 for Daniel L. Kirkland (Kingman,AZ)
Accident 2012 at Casa Grande, causing substantial damage:
List of surviving Focke-Wulf Fw 190s:
Also here on the ramp:
Short SD3-60 N492AK (c/n SH.3415), reg'd 02Jan15 to Global Asset Technologies LLC (Anchorage,AK)
UPDATE NOV.2019: "N4887C was purchased by the Delta Flight Museum (website) and after a lengthy restoration at Coolidge,AZ (this DC-7 was often referred to as 'the Coolidge DC-7' for its extended stay here) it went airborne on 16Jun19 to ferry the vintage propliner home to Atlanta. Unfortunately, after take off serious technical gremlins appeared and N4887C diverted to nearby Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport (IATA: AZA; ICAO: KIWA).
When I checked FAA N-inquiry database I found it still reg'd to Int'l Air Response, since 03Jun80.
The engine troubles were adressed and 'Ship 717' made the last leg 'home' on 16Nov19.
Marc Hookerman wrote me (19Nov19): "Ownership exchanged after arrival in Atlanta. Registration transfer to follow eventually.
Airworthiness will not be maintained. Aircraft will be placed on display in front of Museum (pads and lights already installed)."
The ramp sees little activity here at Coolidge,AZ
Short Bros. C-23B Sherpa N567WW (c/n SH.3211), reg'd to Win Win Aviation (Wake Forest,NC) on 07Mar2016
Not sure why it is present here: standby for Forest Services, for smokejumpers?
Former H&P C-130 firebombers stored here for many years. N133HP is one of them.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by
Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin). Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. [Wikipedia]
Lockheed C-130A Hercules (L-182) N131FF (c/n 182-3138)
Lockheed C-130A N131HP (c/n 3142).
On 25jun01 the crew noted a fire inside the aircraft while landing at Broomfield,CO - it was extinguished.
Not long before that, in july 2000, it was still reported stored at Davis-Monthan's AMARC (coded 'CF 060').
Not sure if it ever flew again after that fire. Bought by Int'l Air Response Inc on 20Dec06, reg'd 15Feb08.
And registration N126TG was reserved as per 28Dec09 for IAR, but its flying days are obviously over.
The yard is worth exploring too
Joe Baugher has this about 58-0729: 'msn 282-3524, converted to WC-130B and back to C-130B.
To AMARC as CF095 19Mar1991. Seen in scrapyard near AMARC 28Aug2000. Cockpit noted at Coolidge Mun'l
Airport in 2014. Previously at Williams Gateway, Arizona."
Cockpit of C-130B 58-0729, as found out through research - see MY SEARCH FOR...
Open mouthed, like a dead fish on dry land
The initial production model, the C-130A, was powered by Allison T56-A-9 turboprops with three-blade propellers.
Four-bladed Hamilton Standard propellers replaced the Aeroproducts three-blade propellers that distinguished the
earlier A-models. The extended-range C-130E model entered service in 1962 after it was developed as an interim long-
range transport for the Military Air Transport Service. Essentially a B-model, the new designation was the result of the installation of 1,360 US gal (5,150 L) Sargent Fletcher external fuel tanks under each wing's midsection and more
powerful Allison T56-A-7A turboprops. [Wikipedia]
Radial 3350s engines for spare (thanks Kyle!)
Plenty of parts; but actual maintenance by I.A.R. is done at Mesa's Gateway airport where I.A.R. has a hangar.
Goodbye Coolidge airport, nothing much changes here but it is always a good stop for pictures
GILA RIVER MEMORIAL AIRFIELD, CHANDLER
A word of WARNING, I know of someone who went there in August 2018 and got a $125 trespassing citation!
Behind '910 we see Douglas C-54P N44908 (c/n 27246), the original tail tipper.
You may want to see my 2008 visit here, when these vintage aeroplanes were still free of graffiti and there is
From Aviation Safety Ntwork (ASN) database - 08DEC88:
'Two T&G Aviation DC-7 planes were to be flown from Senegal to Morocco for a locust control mission there.
Both aircraft were following their flight plan on airway Red 975 at an altitude of 11.000 feet and were flying 1.5 miles apart.
Both aircraft were attacked and hit by SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles fired by the Polisario. The lead aircraft (N284) lost one of its engines and part of a wing and crashed. The second aircraft (N90804) lost an engine and suffered other damage, but it was able to land at Sidi Ifni, on the Moroccan coast.
Polisario soldiers thought the DC-7s were Moroccan military C-130 aircraft.'
Someone wrote me, on the above subject: "Sergio Thomasoni and Woody Grantham (the owners of T&G) were the pilots on this one (flight home, to the USA -Webmaster).
Both told me the story many years ago and it was somewhat more interesting than reading it on ASN.."
Sean Keating updated me on 'The African Queen' in Jan.2020: "January 07th. At Mesa I spoke with a few 'colonels' at the CAF museum, as to the whereabouts of the DC-7 nose section of the 'African Queen' that was stored at their facility. Turns out they couldn't raise the funding to restore it so another group on the north side of the airfield took it away 1-2 years ago for restoration; no names or contacts were known to these guys. So I ventured over there, but nothing obvious other than a couple of stored Harpoons. Maybe you have heard what has happened to it?"
I contacted a trusty source and man-in-the-know at Mesa-Falcon Field, Robert A. Kropp replied:
On the ramp of the Arizona Commemorative Air Force (CAF AZ) Museum, I witnessed a departure!
This is Boeing Stearman PT-17 Kaydet, '964' - available for rides! This is Boeing Stearman N2S-3 Kaydet
N47964/964 (75-7540); as Terry Fletcher pointed out to me, they have 2 of those biplanes here:
I wouldn't mind a flight in one of those some day!
Aeronca L-16, N7436B / '7474' (CAF AZ)
North American SNJ/T-6 Texan N4236G / '90725/25' of the CAF, AZ Wing - another one available for plane rides!
Seeing no one to adress, I wandered inside..
But I was soon intercepted and as it is in fact a working hangar and I was given an escorted tour by a very friendly gent.
Beech C-45 N145AZ (A-235)
R30Dec08 American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum (Dallas,TX)
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15bis (NATO code 'Fagot')
The MiG-15 had been at some point been repainted, but since these Russian fighters have their aluminum mixed
or varnished by an unknown variant, the paintwork did not last. So it has been stripped and is being polished
by volunteers, a tedious but rewarding job. This is about the only thing I remember from the guided tour... sorry.
As it once may have looked like..
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, named 'Sentimental Journey'
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress N9323Z (c/n 32155) '483514/F/U' "Sentimental Journey"
STATUS: FLYING. And again: plane rides available!
B-25J Mitchell '33597/18', later converted to TB-25J and TB-25N.
Ex/ USAAF 43-35972, to N9552Z and N125AZ (current).
Reg'd 06Sep1991 to American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum (Dallas,TX). manufactured in 1944.
Support team for 'Maid in the Shade'
Douglas C-47 N147AZ
Douglas C-47A Skytrain N147AZ (c/n 9380; mfr 1943).
Reg'd 28May15 to American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum (Dallas,TX).
'Old Number 30' - plane rides available
Former identities: 42-23518 (USAAF), C-75 (SAM Colombia), HK-505 same), N5V (Hoover Company), N541X (Rio Airways), N514X (Radcliffe Investment Co), N53ST (ADA Industrial Bldg; Wiesner Inc; CB Air; Air Care Int'l; Prescott Precision / Prescott DC3 Inc; American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum - 28May15 - at some point with add'l m/s 531323/T/53,
based Prescott AZ), N147AZ (American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum of Dallas,TX -current).
C-47 N147AZ, '223518/F'
Beautiful VIP interior of N147AZ
Exquisite, don't you agree!
MESA-GATEWAY (PHOENIX) AZ
On www.aerialvisuals.ca I found this quote:
"Robin Foote commented (08Jun16): I bought this AT-6G from Elmer Ward in December of 1976 and flew her from Chino, CA to Windham, CT to add to our Warbirds International Airshows collection that would ultimately also include a Tora Tora Kate, Zero and my dad's FM-2 Wildcat.
It was registered as N9604C at that time.
I owned and flew her for 10 years, mostly flying formation and mild aerobatics at airshows. She had no rollover structure and was extremely light and fast as Jim Nunn had restored her for racing - yet she somehow was registered under Standard category.
I was always at least 10 Knots faster than other T-6s at the same power settings!
In 1982 I had an offer to buy her by Ralph Twombly, renowned Reno T-6 race pilot. We never made a deal and I sold her a couple of years later to Bruce McCauley."
North American T-6 Texan (Harvard) N51KT
The number '73' stems from a Reno Air Race
Beech T-34A Mentor, 56-798/SH '56' (N56ZZ, G-798)
The T-34 was the brainchild of Walter Beech, who developed it as the Beechcraft Model 45 private venture, at a time when there was no defense budget for a new trainer model.
Beech hoped to sell it as an economical alternative to the North American T-6/SNJ Texan, then in use by all services of the U.S. military.
Nanchang CJ-6A N4182C (71882/82; msn 2032011) www.airliners.net
Reg'd to Pickle Aviation LLC (Scottsdale,AZ) on 22Aug2013
Nanchang CJ-6A N23YK (81703/28; msn 1432028) - reg'd to Donald A. Andrews (Trustee) since 07May98.
N546S is Fairchild C-123K Provider, ex/ USAF 54-0615 (c/n 20064). Note the piston engines plus jet pods.
Reg'd to James R. Blumenthal of 'Skymaster Aviation' (Kingman,AZ) on 06Feb91. N546S has been here since the 1990s.
Its one claim to fame is that it may have featured in a Vin Diesel film, 'Triple X'. Not sure.
Kingman Airport (IGM) in Arizona.
The Kingman Airport & Industrial Park is located five miles north of Interstate 40 in Kingman,AZ. It is home to more than 70 businesses, including the storage of airliners.
When we last visited in May of 2013, dozens of airliners were parked, including those from American Eagle, Continental, DHL, SAS and other airlines.
Litchfield Park / Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR).
This facility in Phoenix, AZ was originally constructed during World War II as a naval air facility known as NAF Litchfield Park, and later renamed Naval Air Station Litchfield Park.
Its primary role following the end of World War II was that of storage and preservation of obsolete or excess U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard aircraft.
In 1965, the Defense Department decided to consolidate military aircraft storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
Following the closure of NAS Litchfield Park in 1967, the city of Phoenix purchased the airport for a general aviation facility.
Today, the airport is home to several private companies offering aircraft maintenance, airliner storage, and commercial pilot training, and serves as a reliever airfield for Phoenix Sky Harbor.