Photos © Ruud Leeuw
|In celebration of my 25th anniversary of employment, my employer (Martinair) issued me tickets for a destination of choice; I decided to revisit a favourite corner of the world: Western Canada & Alaska. And I decided to aim for a few places I had not been before.
The flight on board the Martinair 767-300ER to Calgary (June 08th) was uneventful; for my travel in the area I had opted for a combination of standby tickets and e-tickets booked through the internet (my plans had started very ambitious, which I had to scale down a bit for budget reasons and time available).
Standby for Calgary to Seattle did not work out due unavailability of open seats; so after 4 hours waiting with disappointing result, we bought tickets with Westjet for Vancouver and rented a car to drive to Seattle the next day; that was a big hole in the budget from day 1...!
That first day we saw it pouring with rain, but driving south the sun began to shine and I decided to visit Lake Union in Seattle and witness some Kenmore Air floatplane action, to wash away the feelings of a false start.
That is, after we visited an Outlet Store to placate my wife in anticipation for the many planes I'd set my mind to see!
N1018U has construction number 1381 and was manufactured by DeHavilland Canada in 1959. FAA has it registered to Westlake Marina LLC since 09Oct02.
|I had my mind set to see a lot more of these vintage bushplanes and I was looking forward to see so many of them fully operational.
The DeHavilland (also referred to as de Havilland) Canada DHC-2 Beaver is one of the most (if not the most..) famous bush planes in the world. After World War II, de Havilland Canada was looking to produce a plane suited to operations in the rugged Canadian north. de Havilland hired veteran bush pilot Punch Dickins as their Director of Sales and after extensive consultation with pilots, they began production of the Beaver —a reliable, single-engine monoplane that could be easily fitted with wheels, skis, or floats. Over 1,600 Beavers were produced. The first flight of the DHC Beaver was 16Aug1947, with the first production aircraft being delivered in April of 1948. The plane was an immediate success within the Canadian aviation community, and when production finally ceased in 1967, 1,657 DHC-2 Beavers had been built. The Beaver has become a symbol of the Canadian north, and has since found use as a bush plane all over the world.
N17598 is a DHC-2 Mk.1 with c/n 1129; it was registered to Kenmore Air 05Apr68, so one can label this Beaver a faithful servant!
Enjoying a short break here is c/n 788, presently registered as N6781L.
It was delivered on 15Apr55 as 53-7964 to the US Army.
It was stored at Davis Monthan from 27Mar72 to 10Mar76.
Its commercial career began as N99837 for El Cajon Flying Service of Santee, CA, but I have no date for this.
Later it became N10LU for Lake Union Flying Service Inc. of Lake Union / Seattle,WA.
FAA’s website showed ownership went to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc of Kenmore,WA on 17Feb93. Where I came across it in 2014, at Kenmore's base. At that page you will also find details of its 2016 crash...
Also info and photos on: www.dhc-2.com
Climbing out here is c/n 504 with tailnumber N9766Z.
It was delivered on 08Jun53 as 52-6121 to the USAF (type: L-20).
Tailnumber N13454 marked its introuduction to commercial, being registered to Webber Air Inc but I have no date for this.
N9766Z was first assigned to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc. in ca. 1970.
But it crashed on 04Oct99 at Winslow,WA; the aircraft was flying low for aerial photography when it stalled and struck trees… It sustained substantial damage; fortunately there were no fatalities.
It was reported at Kenmore again in May 2001, fully restored and in great shape.
Info and more photos: http://www.dhc-2.com/id221.htm
The link http://www.warbirdalley.com/u6a.htm has information on the L-20 / U-6A Beaver, but also more interesting links and info on the best book on the DHC-2: Sean Rossiter’s "The Immortal Beaver".
Kenmore Air zero-hours Beaver and Otter airframes and owns dozens of supplemental type certificates (STCs) for aircraft modifications. These modifications are so well-known and desirable in the aviation community that the rebuilt Beavers are often called "Kenmore Beavers" or listed as having "Kenmore mods" installed. A 1950s Beaver that originally sold for under US $50,000 can now be seen for sale at prices reaching US $500,000.
AND THEY MADE A SONG ABOUT IT...IT IS GREAT !!
WMA - (Windows Media Audio) Click to play or "Right Click" then "Save As" to download
Seen arriving with passengers is DHC-2 N1018F.
A truly fantastic book to read on aviation pioneering in general and Kenmore Air Harbor in particular, is the book written by C.Marin Faure (foreword by DHC-2 owner & driver Harrison Ford), "Success on the Step", subtitled 'Flying with Kenmore Air'.
The three-bladed prop and the additional windows are obvious signs of a modified DHC-2 Beaver.
|After arrival at Anchorage I had only the morning to do a quick recon on Lake Hood and Anchorage IAP. A short stay at Point Woronzof saw only arrivals of jets on runway 14. When I gave up I saw ...
Douglas DC-6B N151 (c/n 45496) of Everts Air Cargo line up for take off on runway 14.
This DC-6B used to fly with Conair as C-GICD, but was registered to Everts Air Fuel on 05Sep99. Clifford R. Everts' son, Robert W. Everts, started Air Cargo Express and I think N151 was the first aircraft of ACE's fleet. ACE was renamed Everts Air Cargo in 2002.
This humongous beast of a plane is one of my favourite Skytrucks: the Curtiss C-46 Commando. This is C-46R N7848B (c/n 273), which I had also come across in 1995.
In 2001 I learned this aircraft did a yearly production of about 750 flight hours; but business seemed to be booming with Everts, maybe they get more business from her now. However, considering its age and the rarity of its type, its mere survival in a commercial role is a miracle !
Since my previous visit in 2003 they moved around the storage part of the airport; so these survivors ended up here: cliffhangers? What will be next for them.
When I checked ATDB.aero database in Aug.2012 it was marked as 'destroyed'. No date.
This Fairchild C-119F N9027K (c/n 176) 'Packet' (or Flying Boxcar) has been doing nothing much except standing around too...
In 2018 I learned that Roger Brooks had donated it to the Alaska Aviation Museum, where it one day may be preserved and displayed.
You may enjoy what Jay Carter wrote me:
|A quick look at the ramps surrounding Lake Hood; I found Beech 18 N255D here.
N255D is a Beech E18S (construction number BA-16) and was registered on 19Feb04 to Alan G.Foster of Anchorage,AK. It was built in 1954 and still holds its Airworthiness Certificate of 14Nov55.
I would welcome more details on its history.
Bruce McPhillips replied to my cry for info in March 2007:
"I see that you are looking for info on Beech 18 N255D. This plane was owned by Merchant Bank in Indianapolis in the late 1960's. The bank owner, Otto Fressell (not sure of the spelling) used it to bring customers up to Charlevoix,MI for many years.
The plane crashed in 1974 in Atlanta,GA. Here is the link to the NTSB report on that incident
It was later owned by Eagle Wings St. Lucia, FL. Here are a couple of links to photos someone else took of it at Opa Locka:
Airliners.net and Webshots "
Sean T Rice posted a message in Feb.2014 on Beech18 (Yahoo) forum for details of past ownership of N255D, since he was considering buying this Lake Hood resident (Sean lives in New Mexico). Bob Parmerter responded with data from his files, which I represent below:
C/n BA-16 Beech E18S
N3642B Beech Aircraft Corp CofA 25Oct54
Bought by Roscoe Turner Aeronautical Corp, Indianapolis,IN 02Nov54. Stokely Van Camp Inc, Indianapolis, IN 02Nov54 (same date).
Back to Roscoe Turner 13Feb60. L.C. Cassidy & Son Inc, BS 13Feb60.
Back to Roscoe Turner 03Aug60. Rereg’d N255DC 15Feb62.
Merchant’s Bank & Trust, Indianapolis,IN 28Sep62. Rereg’d N255D 19Nov62.
Omni Investment Corp 30Sep68. Clanton Air Carriers, Clanton,AL 18Nov68. Repo by Aircraft Acceptance Corp, Columbus,OH on 15Sep70.
Robt L. Smith, Birmingham,AL 21Jan72. Repo by Aircraft Acceptance again on 05Jun73. Birmingham Avn Inc, Birmingham,AL 02Jul73. C.O. Williams Jr, Atlanta,GA 31Jul73.
Associated Airways, Mayfield, GA BS 14Feb74. Accident 17Apr74 Atlanta,GA: forced landing on arpt on TO (lost power - ignition system poor maintenance) on a business flt. Hit FAA DC-3 N44. 4 uninjured.
Sold, unrepaired, by National Independent Insurance Co to Hill Aircraft & Lsng Corp, Atlanta 21Oct74.
John R. Jackson 15Apr75.
Bush Aviation Inc, Dania,FL 25Jan80. Allen Fadel 25Feb80. Michael McGovern forfeits it by decree of the Circuit Court of the 15th Judicial District, Criminal Division, Palm Beach County,FL to Palm Beach County Sheriff.
Donated to Missionary Flights & Svcs Inc, W. Palm Beach,FL 17Dec80.
Air Cargo America, San Juan,PR 07Jun83.
Photographed with Air Cargo America titles & 'Miss Julia' on nose.
James R. Bell, Miami,FL 22Dec83. Cargo door & cockpit pilot door installed 07Jun84.
Aaron Pirani dba Mangalji Airways, Miami,FL 03Nov89. Aaron Pirani Mangalji Airways/Eagle Wings 03Nov89.
Seen in 'Eagle Wings St. Lucia' + 'Miss Erika'-titles at Miami in Nov89-94.
Eagle Air Charter Inc, Miami,FL reg’d 11Sep96.
South Florida Aircraft Lsng Inc, Opa Locka,FL rgd 22Apr99.
Alan G. & Susan K. Foster, Anchorage,AK reg’d 19Feb04.
Registration expired 31Dec13.
|Driving around Lake Hood one will see a few interesting floatplanes (a.k.a. seaplanes) sitting dry.|
The DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver may be the most famous of bushplanes, but the Noorduyn Norseman stole my heart...
The FAA Registry has the following info on this UC-64A Norseman: "Registered 27Jan04 Thomas J.Gayer & Steve L.Ingram, Cooper Landing,AK; manufactured 1943".
And Martin saw it operational, at Bethel, in August 2008!
A nice website for the Noorduyn Norseman is www.norsemanfestival.on.ca
N225BL suffered substantial damage on 11Jul09 when its engine failed and a forced landing needed to be executed at Akiachuck Village (near Bethel,AK); the pilot did not suffer any serious injuries.
Photos on www.aerialvisuals.ca/AirframeDossier.php?Serial=2961 show scrapped remains in open storage at Bethel in 2016. In May 2018 it was confirmed to me by local Bethel resident, JoeJoe Prince, that those remains are still there.
There is of course this wonderful museum, but I did not have the time to visit it. I did visit it in 2003.
|So after that quick visit to Anchorage and Lake Hood, we continued to the Kenai Peninsula, final destination Homer. But on this fine saturday, june 10th, I could not resist having a quick peek at Kenai's airport. I saw 3 fine propliners here.|
Universal Airlines: this company had eluded me when I tried to find them on the US Eastcoast last year, overlooking the fact that they had moved years ago to a new homebase in Victoria, Texas. But they have a tradition of being here on contract all summer for fish-hauling flights.
More on its history can be found on a page dedicated to a return visit to Kenai on June 12th, 2006.
N600UA is a Douglas DC-6B (c/n 44894) of Universal Airlines; it also sits with the cowlings removed, for maintenance access to the engines.
John Maxwell sent me a photo, in June 2011, of N600UA involved in a wheels-up landing at Cold Bay HERE..
N1837M is a Curtiss C-46F Commando and looks much similar to the Douglas DC-3 (2-engined taildragger), but the DC-3 looks distinctly dainty compared to this brute...
Everts Air uses several of these, they operate the largest fleet of these magnificent Skytrucks. N1837M is used for hauling fuel to the many remote communities throughout Alaska. And Kenai seems to serve as a homebase for this plane, nicknamed "Hot Stuff".
|In Homer I had my mind set on doing one of those bearviewing trips in Katmai NP. We'd made a booking but the weather on our destination spoiled things. Also, the salmon run had not started yet, so if we had been going we might not have seen any bears...
Another good reason for visiting Homer is doing a flightseeing trip with Kachemak Bay Flying Service! Bill de Creeft has a vintage 1929 Travel Air S6000B on floats (NC9084) and we enjoyed a unique trip on board his classic bushplane: it is an exhilarating experience to fly in a 1929 airliner in such superb condition!
Kachemak Air Service can be reached on (907) 235-8924.
Bill de Creeft wrote me in Jan.2007, having made some decisions:
Bill de Creeft converted his office-on-the-lake to an aviation-themed-cabin-for rent. Bill now flies an Aeronca Sedan (May 2010). He left a message: "We no longer offer Scenic Flights, but you can contact our son, next door, if you desire a flight over the glaciers or need other air taxi services."
|Jim Rearden wrote a very interesting book about this plane, titled "Travel Air NC9084, the history of a 75-year-old working airplane" (Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, ISBN 1-57510-105-X, 2004). A more complete airframe history will be hard to find! Nice reading, too.
But there is also Bill's informative website www.alaskaseaplanes.com
From another book (Mudhole Smith, Alaska Flier -Lone E.Janson, 1981) I learned the going charter rate for the Travel Air operated by Cordova Air Services in 1941 was 45 US dollars an hour.
N1018B (c/n 392) is a Dehavilland Otter (a size larger than the DHC-2 Beaver). Emerald Air Service came recommended by Bill de Creeft, but their trips took longer and we did not have that time. Apparently we had booked with a company operating landplanes, but seaplanes have lower operating minima for visibility and had we booked there our trip may have had a better chance of flying...
Another operator is Bald Mountain Air; they are all neigbours of each other and operate to a variety of destinations or one of your choice. The one on the left is a Turbine-modified DHC-3 Otter, while on the right is a DHC-2 Beaver.
A good website to learn more about the DHC-3 Otter is Ian Butter's website: www.dhc3Otter.com
N104BM has been modified by a turbine engine. C/n 118 was registered to Jeanne G.Porter (Homer,AK) on 17Apr01, while having been built in 1956 and its present Airworthines Certificate stems from 01May01 (probably the date of the turbine engine conversion).
Here is a company that does these kind of modifications: Texas Turbines.
Quintessential Alaska: a floatplane sits on a quiet lake, late in the evening....
This is DHC-2 N102SY, c/n 1367.
Like so many it to started with a military career upon its deliverey on 08Jul59 as 58-2035 to the US Army.
Some 12 years later it was stored at Davis Monthan AFB, 05Feb72 to 19Jun75.
Its civilian career started as N102SY for Syanon Foundation of Marshall,CA but I have no date for this. It was reported on 01Oct82 at Youngstown,OH.
Owners (but no dates) included Henry Braun of Pasadena,CA and Everbrite Electric Signs Inc. (Greenfield,WI).
Jeanne G. Porter of Homer,AK saw it registered to her name on 15 April 1994 and this is still current.
On 07Dec07 it was registered to Ptarmigan Air of Bethel,AK.
This is so Alaska, don’t you think…?
We see N77BA (c/n 1549) here taxying in on Beluga Lake, Homer.
It seems to have been delivered on 10Jun64, but to whom?
In 1979 it was registered as CF-WCA for West Coast Air Services; this was revised to C-FWCA Pacific Aircraft Salvage Ltd. of Richmond, BC (registered and cancelled in 1984)
It became N77BA on 27Jun84, for Jon M. Berryman of Beluga Lake Floatplane Service, Beluga Lake, Homer, AK and this is current to this day (Nov06).
Its Airworthiness Certificate stems from 02Jul84, so I guess it was rebuilt before then.
More on: www.dhc-2.com
|We drove a different route to Kenai on our return, which we thought would be a scenic drive: Kalifornsky Beach Road. But the coastline is of course prime real estate, so you have privat grounds between the road and the sea, nothing much to be seen or enjoy. I did find these bushplanes, on a gravel strip.|
I returned to Kenai
and this time I was allowed on the ramp, where I had ample opportunity to photograph the aircraft and talk to the groundcrews. I also met the flightcrew of N1837M "Hot Stuff" very briefly: they were rushing to make a departure for another fuel delivery flight.
I made a seperate page on this visit to Kenai, please follow the link; there are also interior photographs of cockpits and cabins.
My visit to Kenai
After leaving Kenai I looked for a turnoff for Mackey Lake, which was supposed to have floatplanes as well, but I missed it. Instead I found Lake Ellesmere where I knew High Adventure Air would be based and indeed found N314HA in between assignments.
More info & more photos: N314HA on DHC-2.com
Now, what is this ?? Something with a prop and that makes me stop and have a closer look.
We continued our way back to Anchorage.
One more day at Anchorage, only one more day... My brake-neck-itinerary would dictate a flight (one of eleven on this trip) to Juneau the following day.
See more of N30TN (and other aircraft) on my Anchorage 2006 page.
The history of Northern Air Cargo's N2907F has been written out on my Alaska 2003 page.
It is a former military Douglas C-118A (c/n 44636) which started its career on 21Apr55 as 53-3265.
Other than DC-6A N6174C, none of the DC-6/C-118 aircraft recently sold to Everts by NAC will fly again. They are all time-expired Part 121 aircraft and the deal stipulated that they would not be flown as Part 125 aircraft.
Its history is documented on my page dedicated to my page
For more photos and information on my visit to Everts Air Cargo, please see my page My Propliner visit to Anchorage, 2006
I found NC3212 (N3212) still current on the FAA's Register; this Fairchild 24G (c/n 2933) has been registered to the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum since 06Jun91. Its year of manufactring is listed as 1938 and its Airworthy Certificate is dated 29Jun56. |
I suspect it is on loan here (with its flying days over, except from this ceiling..) to either the airport or Alaska Airlines, where I saw it in June while I boarded my flight to Juneau.
Alaska Airlines will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2007. The carrier traces its roots back to 1932, when Linious "Mac" McGee of McGee Airways started flying his three-seat Stinson between Anchorage and Bristol Bay, Alaska. A merger with Star Air Service in 1934 created the largest airline in Alaska, which eventually became Alaska Airlines.
| When I had checked into my motel in Juneau I noticed I could see the descending seaplanes (a.k.a. floatplanes) in their approach into town; I photographed some of them with my long telephoto lens, inspite of the considerable distance. |
This is DHC-2 c/n 1031 with tailnumber N92AK.
It was delivered on 29Jan57 as 56-0356 to the US Army.
It was entered into the civil registry as N333CD in 1973.
Ten years later, Sep83, it was reregistered as C-GNFR for Rog-Air Ltd. of Port Loring,ONT.
Fate struck a blown when it hit trees during take off on 23Jul88; the tailnumber was cancelled in May 1989 and it was reported written off.
But it was resurrected!
N92AK became the tailnumber for Robert N. Jacobsen of Juneau,AK (probably in 1990 as its Airworthiness Cert. was issued 01Mar90) from there it went to Wings of Alaska / Alaska Juneau Aeronautics Inc., Juneau, AK (date?) and since 11Mar05 it has been registered to Alaska Coastal Airlines (Juneau,AK).
More at: DHC-2.com
The huge cruiseboates dwarf a deHavilland DHC-3 Otter... |
N338AK is a DHC-3 with c/n262, which was registered on 24Apr02 for Alaska Coastal Airlines a.k.a. Wings Airways (of Juneau,AK); its year of manufacture staes 1990, which I assume is the year it had a turbine engine fitted.
For many more photos of Seaplanes / Floatplanes at Juneau see my
|I had kept my eyes open in the town of Sitka, but did not see a DeHavilland Beaver, which I knew had to be there. It was a pleasant surprise when I saw it taxying in while I was waiting for my flight out, at the airport!
The history of c/n 1205 starts with its delivery on 14Mar58 as 57-2563 to the US Army; its considerable career ended with storage at Davis Monthan AFB from 20Jun73 to 06Nov74.
Tailnumber N62305 for the Technical College of Des Moines,IA was assigned but I have no exact date (1974?).
Ownership was changed to Des Moines Independant Commission and in Feb92 it became registered to Wipaire Inc. of Inver Grove Heights,MN.
It was probably rebuilt as a new Airworthiness Certificate was issued on 01Mar93, while tailnumber N60TF had been reserved since 30Nov92.
Thomas E.McGuire of Anchorage,AK became owner in March 1993.
Next was Cinema Air Jet Centre Inc. of Carlsbad,CA but I have no date.
And since 06Mar01 Harris Aircraft Services Inc. here at Sitka has owned and operated it.
Another great place for Seaplanes is Ketchikan, Alaska...
See my KETCHIKAN 2006 Report
|The Road goes on Forever... into CANADA !|
'Autofocus68' has a nice photoset on Flickr.com: Alaska Flying
Shaun Lunt is an Alaskan bushpilot and a fantastic photographer!
http://www.alaskanha.org, the Alaska Natural History Association.