Lockheed 'OK-CTB' (N241M) on its epic ferry flight from North America to its new home in the Czech Republic
Although I had updated my database on 'propliners' with recent developments on the 5-year restoration of this Lockheed L.10A Electra,
it came alive with Baldur Sveinsson's post on his Facebook page, with photos, when 'OK-CTB' passed through Reykjavik (REK), Iceland
on May 24th. This lead to an contribution on my webpage Photos by Friends & Guests (43). Which in turn led to my visit to the Aviodrome!
After several years of restoration by Wichita Air Services (located at the Newton City-County Airport in Kansas,
had arrived in Dec. 2010
) it made it
first flight after the restoration on 12Mar2015. In April this year it
flew to Hamilton,Ontario where work was done on its electrical system. From there it started on 20May15 its epic
journey home, flying May 24th Godthab - Narsarsuaq Airport to Reykjavik (REK), and on May25th from Iceland to
Wick, onward to Duxford. May 26th it flew from the UK to Lelystad, Netherlands
and onward to Germany for the night,
@Flugplatz Siegerland. A repair on a brakeline briefly delayed their departure May 27th to Tocna Airport/Letiště Točná.
And then they were off, no doubt flying straight into a warm welcome indeed!
After having been refuelled N241M taxied to the Aviodrome area of Lelystad airport.
This Lockheed 10A Electra was bought by a Czech individual in March 2009, destined for a museum at Prague-Tocna, but
it had to undergo extensive restoration first. In 2010 it was still in Texas painted in Canadian livery with serial'7656'.
N241M was registered 26Jan2012 for Aircraft Guaranty Corp Trustee (Onalaska,TX). Not sure when work exactly began.
Anyway, the result is something to be proud of!
The Electra 10-A taxies past one of the Aviodrome aircraft towards its parking spot. So glad it staged though Lelystad!
ÓK-CTB' was parked for the replica Amsterdam
terminal, now for all Aviodrome spectators to admire.
undergo their 'media moment'; they are deservedly praised for such a glorious ferry flight.
The Electra 10-A
has been polished to an incredible shine. Note that the wings have been painted silver for practical considerations.
Air-Britain published a wonderful book about 'The Lockheed Twins', by Peter J. Marson (2001), and I looked L.10A c/n 1091 up:
Reg'd NC17380 for Bata Show Company on 10Apr1937.
J A Bata (Zlin) E-2609 22Apr37, probably as OK-CTB.
[Aad van der Voet wrote me with a correction on the above: This is about American export certificate E-2609, and thus refers only to American registration NC17380, not OK-CTB.
Your information should therefor read:
"Reg'd OK-CTB for Bata AS on 13May37."]
To CF-BTB Dept of Nat'l Defense, to RCAF 7656 11Sep1940 - struck off charge 02May46.
To War Assets Corporation (WAC).
Bought by H F Dougall & T J Prattie 1946. To W C Siple 28Jun46.
To USA as NC79236 for Hunter C Moody, 02Jul46.
Converted civil 20Jan48, later N79236.
To J M R Lyeth, d.b.a. Lyeth Engineering Company, 03Feb51, to Purdue University Airport 24Apr51, to Walter R Crow Inc 15Dec53, to James van Heusen & Margaret O'Brien 14Aug57, leased by Price Airlines.
Ran out of fuel, made forced landing at Brewer Island mudflats, San Francisco Bay,CA 27Sep57 while en route Reno,NV - San Francisco.
The damage was repaired.
To Fast-Way Air Inc 26Mar59, transferred to Robbin Batchelor 07Sep60.
Damaged at Long Beach,CA while on a instructional solo flight, 02Mar60. This was repaired too.
To Midwest Airways, Inc 18Apr62.
Damaged yet againon 23May62 at Mercury,NV due to pilot error on an air-taxi flight. And repaired again!
Crashed on landing at UK location in June 1962, reptd T/L (?).
Repaired and leased to James van Heusen trading as Navajo Airlines. Rereg'd N241M, circa Sep63.
It had Beech D18S cowls fitted 21Apr64.
To Casement Aviation Inc 08Mar65, transferred R W Sidley Inc 10Nov70.
To Westernair of Albuquerque Inc 10Nov71, The Tire Barn Inc 30Nov71, Islander Airways Inc 16Feb72, transferred to Frank M Hutchinson trading as Islander Airways 11Apr73.
by Metropolitan Nat'l Bank 05Jul74.
Sold to Dr J T Almand 26Aug74, transferred Dr J R Almand & Assocs., 21May90, but found documentation incomplete.
Current. Flying as RCAF '7656', Gainesville,TX
./end copied text from Mr Marson's 'Lockheed Twins' (Air-Britain, 2001).
I asked myself how and why OK-CTB went from Czechoslovakia to Canada? Did people flee from the war? Trans-atlantic flight was an unusual undertaking pre-WWII !
See the update by Aad van der Voet further below on this page plus info from other (online) sources.
Sorry, couldn't help myself!
appearance, after flying from the other side of the earth, is impressive!
Aad van der Voet, wrote me with following additional information:
Considering your history description of OK-CTB and in particular that closing question, I can offer the following information from my datase, which is most likely mostly taken from the Bata website):
- 1894: Bata AS formed in Zlín (Austria-Hungary) by Tomás Bata, his sister Anna Bata and his brother Antonín Bata.
- 1895: Anna and Antonín leave the company (resp. to get married and to join the army).
- 1931: Company expanded by building factories in Switzerland, Germany, England, France, Yugoslavia, Poland, the Netherlands, Canada and India.
- 1932: Tomás Bata died in an airplane crash, and his step-brother Jan Antonín Bata took over.
- 1939: Part of the company was moved to Batawa, ONT, Canada, which was a community founded near the Canadian factory by Tomás J. Bata, son of Tomás Bata.
- 1945: All Bata companies in eastern European countries are nationalized by communist governments. The company continues out of the remaining locations in other countries.
- 1960: Company headquarters officially moved to Toronto, ONT, Canada.
- 1989: Company returned to its home country, now the Czech Republic, after the fall of communism.
http://world.bata.com/news/2015/1937-bata-plane-ready-fly-home offered considerable information and the following was copied:
"Bata executives used the plane to hop between the company’s various factories in Europe, and the company also flew it around the world as a PR initiative."
"In 1939, two days before Nazi Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, Bata flew the plane out of the country. It was used by the British government and the Canadian Air Force during the war, after which it passed through the hands of various private owners in North America."
In 2019 I read from a Facebook post the following: "This Lockheed Electra was formerly manufactured for Amelia Earhart - however, it was purchased by Ján Antonín Baťa Czechoslovakia , because the company that made the plane prioritized him over Earhart."
Only about a week
ago it started its journey, operating through such remote airports as La Grande Rivière Airport and
Kuujjuaq, Quebec. Other exotic names followed: Iqaluit, Nunavut and onwards it went (over open water) to Nuuk, Greenland,
then hugging the coastline of Greenland, OK-CTB flew to Narsarsuaq Airport. Then followed a more northerly route,
partly along the coastline and some over open water to Kulusuk, its last stop on Greenland. Then a large sector
over water to Reykjavik, Iceland - on May 24th. That is some awesome journey!
Registration OK-CTB is in use on the Czech register at the moment, so it is still registered N241M on the FAA Registry.
The crew was in excellent spirits, certainly influenced by this glorious and expedient ferry flight.
A joke was shared with Aviodrome volunteer Mark Oostergo, just before boarding. The 'job well done'-feeling is contagious!
Milan Vacik is one of the pilots and he welcomes me for a quick photo visit to photograph the interior; but departure is imminent.
Milan explained that flying a '1937-state-of-the art-aeroplane'
is a different
story than flying a modern turboprop or airliner.
So clean; my car is less tidy when I am 7 days 'on the road'!
Milan Vacik is a pilot of OK-CTB and Nikola Lukacovic is the other; the other crewnames are: Jaroslav Anyz (FE) & Vaclav Bejcek.
In fact www.novinky.cz made note
of an even larger crewlist when the aircraft passed through the UK: "The six-member crew
consisting of pilots Vacík Milan, Nikola Lukačovič, Ivo and Jan Lukačovič Štindl and mechanics Jaroslav Anýž and Vaclav Bejček,
took off Tuesday from Duxford airfield in England, where during the Second World War were launched fighters battling the
Nazi Luftwaffe. The machine recently broke the sea, when he crossed the English Channel in Lelystad, the Netherlands, and
then on to the airport Siegerland in Germany."
The crew was very enthusiastic, but it really was time for me to stop chatting and allow this people to start their final leg for the day.
Start up of both engines went smooth and the crew could join their fellow crewmembers on board.
is off blocks and rumbles past.
leaves the Aviodrome area of Lelystad Airport; during the lunch the crew was briefed on
the Aviodrome 'profile' & facilities and
hopefully we will see this L.10A Electra return to our skies one day.
"Fred Bruns, president of Wichita Air Services, told 'The Wichita Eagle' that the current owner is a holding company
for the Bata family. They are responsible for the decision to restore the plane and take it back to the Czech Republic,
where it will be displayed in a museum and flown from time to time." - world.bata.com/news/2015/
Airborne from Lelystad Airport (IATA: LEY, ICAO: EHLE).
Electra 10-A OK-CTB
(N241M) circled the airport a few times for the benefit of Photoflight PH-FLE with Ben Ullings on board.
And then it was gone: Bata’s 1937 airplane, the Electra L-10 built by Lockheed, is returning to the Czech Republic as Bata
celebrates 120 years since the company was founded in Zlin. What a birthday present, congratulations!
Photo courtesy Ben Ullings, air-to-air photo specialist - www.aviationphotos.nl
Many thanks to the Aviodrome staff and volunteers for their help and support in my endeavour!