CALIFORNIA 2018


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Copyright Ruud Leeuw Photos © R.Leeuw

A brief trip (11-22April) to California; as usual my interest was a mixed bag and here are the vintage aircraft I came across on this trip.
This is the 2nd page of my report.

 

CAF SoCal @CAMARILLO


CAF SoCAL Camarillo
Curtiss C-46F Commando, N53594 (c/n 22486; ex/ 44-78663). The famous 'China Doll'.
I had first come across 'China Doll' in 1997, also here at Camarillo; saw it flying at Oshkosh in 1998.

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
This C-46F was delivered to the USAAF in 1945, serial 44-68663; decommissioned in 1950 and reregistered
N53594. Operated for Meteor Air Transport (1950s), later for Riddle and Zantop. At some point it was
converted to pesticide sprayer! Donated to Confederate Air Force (CAF; now Commemorative Air Force) in
1978. Christened 'Humpty Dumpty' it flew around in the air show circuit. In 1981 it was flown to Van Nuys for
a complete overhaul and subsequently renamed 'China Doll'.

CAF SoCAL Camarillo

CAF SoCAL Camarillo

CAF SoCAL Camarillo

CAF SoCAL Camarillo

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
The artful 'China Doll' (Patricia Sica '46) was done by the well known nose artist (his work adorns over 130 B-17s,
including 'Memphis Belle' and 'Shoo Shoo Baby'), Tony Starcer.
Sergeant Anthony L. Starcer, USAAF, (died 1986) was line mechanic for the 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy),
of the VIII Bomber Command, 8th Army Air Force, based at Bassingbourn, UK in 1942-43. He painted many pieces of
nose art on the Fortresses of 'The Ragged Irregulars', including the George Petty girl 'Telephone Girl' for the
Memphis Belle. The 91st Bombardment Group (H) website lists 124 aircraft that his work adorned. [Wikipedia]
www.91stbombgroup.com/nose_artists/starcer

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
N53594 suffered an engine #1 fire on 29Sep2005, on roll out after landing. In May 2009 it was reported
airworthy again, but 'grounded indefinitely' in 2010 as deemed beyond CAF's budget: too expensive to operate.

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
The B-25 WW2 bomber is better known for its use by the USAAF, rather than the US Navy!
PBJ-1J BuNo.35857 (N5865V)

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
It was due out to go flying the afternoon of my visit. But the 'estimate time of departure' came and went. The
co-pilot was late, probably due traffic. It was a 'recurrent training', no one was in a hurry. Four pm came and went.
The museum closed and I went on my way too. Heard it take off at 16:40 from my room in the motel. It flew.
In May 2016 it flew its first post-restoration flight, a project of some 23 years had been completed here.
www.cafsocal.com/the-pbj-1j-flies-again

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
The more well known appearance of the Mitchell bomber, B-25J 44-30801 in USAAF colours
Registered as N30801 for American Aeronautical Foundation, Camarillo, CA, July 1982-present

CAF SoCAL Camarillo

FROM www.aafgroup.org/b25:
Manufactured by North American Aviation, Kansas City, KS
Delivered to USAAF as 44-30801
– BOC: Feb. 26, 1945.
– SOC: March 1959
– Assigned to 2144th AAF Base Unit (Advanced Two-Engine Pilot School, ATC),
   Moody AAF GA, March 1945
– Transferred to 2109th AAF Base Unit (Advanced Two-Engine Pilot School, ATC),
   Turner AAF GA, April 1945
– Transferred to 2100th AAF Base Unit (Headquarters, Eastern Air Training Command),
   Maxwell AAF AL (deployment to Kirtland AFB NM), May 1945
– Transferred to 42nd AAF Base Unit (Air University Command), Maxwell AAF (deployment
   to Greenville AAF SC), Feb. 1946
– Transferred to 27th AF Base Unit (AUC), Randolph AB TX (to VB-25J), Feb. 1947
--Transferred to 3800th Air Base Wing (AUC), Maxwell AFB, AL, April 1947
– Transferred to AF School of Aviation Medicine (AUC), Randolph AFB, TX, Nov. 1948
– Transferred to VB-25N (deployment to Carswell AFB TX), Dec. 1954
– Transferred to Arizona Aircraft Storage Branch (Air Material Command), Davis-Monthan AFB AZ, June '58-'59
Fogle Aircraft, Tucson, AZ, Sept. 9, 1959.
- Registered as N3699G.
Christler & Avery Aviation, Greybull, WY, Jan. 1960.
Avery Aviation, Greybull, WY, Aug. 1961-1968.
- Flew as sprayer.
Filmways Inc, Hollywood, CA, 1968-1972
- Flew in movie 'Catch 22' as Vestal Virgin, 1968-1969.
Tallmantz Aviation, Orange County, CA, Aug. 1971-1972.
Ed Schnepf/Challenge Publications, Van Nuys, CA Feb. 1972-1982.
- Registered as N30801.
American Aeronautical Foundation, Camarillo, CA, July 1982-2008.
- Flown as 430801/Executive Sweet.

Built in Kansas City in 1944 -45 as a B-25J, Executive Sweet saw extensive Stateside service throughout the war as a crew trainer. 
In 1948, it was converted into a USAF VB-25J, a VIP transport until the end of her service.
In December of 1954 it was upgraded and designated a VB-25N by Hayes Aircraft, Inc.
After several more years in military service at the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, TX, the Mitchell was sold as surplus ad became a crop sprayer.
Acquired by Hollywood's Filmways Studios in 1968, the B-25 became the lead 'on camera' aircraft named Vestal Virgin in the film  Catch-22. 
Placed for sale after completion of filming in 1970, it was purchased by Ed Schnepf in 1972 to begin a two-year restorative program back to a wartime 'J'-model appearance.

Looking factory-new in its bare metal finish, Executive Sweet once again was armed with thirteen .50 caliber machine guns, a Norden bombsight and operable bomb bay, authentic insignia and interior detailing down to crash axes and crew intercom.

In 1982, Schnepf's 'Challenge Publications' donated the B-25 to the newly formed 'American Aeronautical Foundation Museum' at Camarillo, California, who has been operating it ever since. 
Executive Sweet has appeared in a dozen major films and numerous TV shows and commercials. 
In April 1992, the plane participated in the Doolittle Raid 50th Anniversary reenactment, staged at North Island Naval Air Station.

 

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
N215CM is a C-47B, c/n 26792/15347; ex/ USAAF 43-49531
During the 1990s, it was offered for sale by Israel's IDFAF (17.549hrs), Reported at Staverton,UK as N215CM
( painted over C-GFHP, painted over 4X-FNA, sighting 29Jul2000). N215CM arrived at Edmonton on 25aug00.
It had been reg'd on 27aug99 for Global Acft Industries of Arizona LLC, trying to sell it on. Their homebase was at Villeneuve Airport, outside of Edmonton - which I visted in 2006 (MY REPORT) for N215CM (and N47SJ & N269LM).

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
N215CM after all those years still in the IDFAF colours. The volunteer who walked me over the ramp told me 'some
other group' had been working on the DC-3; that must be the American Aeronautical Foundation (AAF), to whom it
was registered on 20Jan2012. Disappointingly lack of progress, was my superficial notion.

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
The CAF SoCal Wing's Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat, N7825C / '201/S' (ex/ BuNo.122674)
This Bearcat joined the CAF group here in early-1990s and has been painstakingly rebuilt to airworthiness.
I thought I'd seen Bearcat 201/S before, but when I checked I had seen Bearcat 201/B at The Flying Legends in 2017.

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, N1078Z (ex/ BuNo.70222; also noted as NX1078Z)

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
The famous North American P-51D Mustang, NL44727 / '414292'
Former identites from Bob Ogden's 'North American Museums & Collections' (Air-Britain Historian, 2011):
44-73749, Fv26115, 1918 Dominican Republic, N51EH, N251JC.
I did note that FAA's N-inquiry website shows for its serial 44-72739 ..? Owner BCT Management Co (20Feb09)

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
Supermarine FR.XIVe, NX749DP (ex/ NH749, T3 India, G-MXIV, - on loan)

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero Sen (model 22), N712Z

The museum's website states: "We have 12 WWII era aircraft. Three are in restoration, one is grounded and is currently a static display; the remaining 8 aircraft are flyable.
Curtiss C-46F Commando (grounded), Fairchild PT-19A Cornell, Fairchild F-24R (restoration), Grumman F6F Hellcat, Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat, Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero (repair?), P-51D Mustang, PBJ Mitchell, SNJ-4 Texan, SNJ-5 Texan, Spitfire Mk.XIV and Yak 3."
www.cafsocal.com

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
Yakovlev Yak-3M, N529SB - reg'd 03Aug2011 to Stephen W. Barber.
C/n 115450123, I thought, but FAA's N-inquiry quotes 0470104 as the serial andis also stencilled above the tailnumber
I have c/n 115450123 from Bob Ogden's 2011 publication, a Yak-3 airframe with no other details to it.

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
1. Beech T-34B Mentor, N134RR (manufactured in 1957; reg'd to Jon D. Russell)
2. Beech T-34B Mentor, N341MR (ex/ BuNo.140731; reg'd to Marc R. Russell, Trustee)
3. North American SNJ-4 Texan, N6411D (ex/ BuNo.10148, NC363, 10148; reg'd 1991 to AAHFM*)
4. Fairchild PT-19 Cornell, N641BP (ex/ 42-49250?, N64187; reg'd 2014 to Charles J. Plumb, Trustee)
*) American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
1. Alon A2, N5694F (c/n A-194); reg'd to AAHFM 24Jul2013
2. Nice badge, dont'you think?
3. Aero Vodochody L-29C Delfin, N443KT (built 1968, owned by Jason Somes)
4. Ryan Navion, N91644 (c/n NAV4366; reg'd 16Feb17 for AAHFM)
I had a nice scenic flight in a Navion, in 2015 in N444AC, when I visited the Highland Lakes Squadron of
the CAF; see MY REPORT

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
A guest in the hangar, North American SNJ-5 N2550 (serial 43683; reg'd 06Oct17 to Vegas Warbirds LLC)

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
North American SNJ-5, N89014; manufactured in 1943 (according to N-inquiry) and reg'd 10Sep91 to
the American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum (AAHFM). '290/SB' must be in a Naval trainer livery here.

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
A project in progress!
CAF SoCAL Camarillo
Fairchild 24R-46, NC71696 (ex/ NC77696, LV-NXI, LV-AFH - with parts from another aircraft)
Registered 20Sep2013 to the American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum (AAHFM), manufactured in 1947

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
Plenty of information to browse here.

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
Two large hangars were completed in 2001, one serves as the museum we see here while the other is
used as a workshop where major rebuilds can be carried out. One could be a Polykarpov I-16 N30425,
which I did not see here but which has been listed with the CAF SoCal (crashed near Leningrad in WW2)

CAF SoCAL Camarillo
I loved the artwork on the walls. The Flying Tigers painting reminded me of the Buck Danny comic books I so much
enjoyed during my youth. The C-46 Commando was one of the main transports 'over the Hump' in WW2.
And 'SNAFU', well I find that often at work!

 


 

MUSEUM OF FLYING

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
Museum of Flying in Santa Monica
The Museum of Flying is a private non-profit air and space museum in Santa Monica, California. It was founded in 1974, closed in 2002, and reopened in 2012 in this new facility. The Museum exhibits the history of aviation, focusing on
aviation history in Southern California. It was on my way from Simi Valley to Long Beach, a waste not to visit.
www.museumofflying.org

First (and last) stop is the DC-3 Monument Plaza.
N242SM was actually manufactured at Santa Monica and originally destined for commercial passenger use.
It did not have a reinforced cargofloor and was designated in it smilitary use as a a C-53 'Skytrooper'.
Note the large spinners and closed geardoors, details different from the bare C-47 'Skytrain'.
Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
Douglas DC-3 N242SM (C-53 Skytrooper, c/n 4877) and a bronze statue of Donald Douglas with his dog, Bar.
This particular DC-3 variant held the following identities: 41-20107, BuNo.05075, NC1075M, N60R and N596AR.
The DC-3 on display here was built here at Santa Monica Airport and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps as
a C-53-DO on 17Feb1942. Its initial role was as a 28-seat paratrooper transport and glider tug.

Delivered to USAAC as 41-20107 on 17Feb1942, it was transferred to the US Navy as BuNo.05075 only 4 days later; it was retired from military service on 31Aug46 and  purchased by Nationwide Airlines as DC-3 with tailnumber NC1075M.
It was flown by the Atlanta Richfield Oil Refining since 1953. Reregistered as N6OR on 04Apr56. And again rereg'd in 1957 as N596AR  for the Atlantic Refining Company.
In May 1970 registered to the Atlantic Richfield Company of Philadelphia. By 1985 it was stored at Sonoma County Airport.
Spring of 1989 saw it on display at the Museum of Flying, Santa Monica - on loan from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
01May97: purchased by David G. Price from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
In 2001 it became evident actual work for preservation had gone underway. In 2003 it was sighted at Van Nuys Airport.
On 06Oct2004 N596AR was donated to the City of Santa Monica by David G. Price, plus a large sum of money for the restoration of the exterior.
In 2005 a restoration team began work on the 'Spirit of Santa Monica'
In 2006 it was reported in this fine colorscheme, a DC-3 logo and 'Spirit of Santa Monica'-titles.
On 10Feb09 it was mounted on this pedestal, as a tribute to the Douglas Aircraft Company which produced the vast majority of DC-3s plus its many military variants here at Santa Monica.
21Mar2009 was the date of the official dedication of DC-3 'Spirit of Santa Monica' Monument dedication
The registration N242SM has been applied since 2006.

www.museumofflying.org/exhibits/aircraft/douglas-dc-3-monument/

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

The Douglas Aircraft Factory built 10.724 airplanes in Santa Monica, including 960 DC-3/C-47 variants.
Besides the Cloudster and the World Cruiser, they included early observation and mail planes, the Dolphin seaplane, the TBD Devastator, the B-18 Bolo, the A-20 Havoc plus the DC family, from the DC-1 to DC-7.
Another 34.000 came off Douglas production lines in El Segundo, Long Beach (4.285 DC-3/C-47s), Chicago, Tulsa and Oklahoma City (5.409 DC-3/C-47s).
Donald Wills Douglas led the company from its start in 1920 to 1957, when Donald Douglas Jr. took over. Douglas Sr remained Chairman of the board until 28Apr67, when his company merged with McDonnell Aircraft. He died in 1981.

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

The Douglas Commercial (DC) Line
Prior to the intoduction of the Douglas Commercial (DC) Line of passenger airplanes, traveling by air was neither practical nor affordable. Fledgling airlines relied on government subsidies for the delivery of mai to stay in business. The cost of a passenger ticket was beyond the price range for most peole. But the Douglas Aircraft Company changed that with the introduction of the DC-1, DC-2 and esspecially the DC-3. The one-of-a-kind DC-1 proved that a two-engine plane could carry passengers and freight at a wallet-friendly price. By the time the DC-1 went into service in Dec.1933, Douglas engineers in Santa Monica were busy improving upon the design with the
DC-2 and then the DC-3.
Some 10.000 of these planes came off Douglas assembly lines, making it possible for passengers around the world to reach their destinations quickly, safely and at prices they could afford. By the early 1950s, more than 90 percent of worldwide air travel took place on Douglas-built aircraft.
DSC01590
Source: www.museumofflying.org/exhibits/aircraft/douglas-dc-3-monument/

 

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

In 1974, Douglas Museum and Library was located on the South side of the Santa Monica Airport, the Museum migrated to the North side of the Airport and reopened as the Museum of Flying in April 1989. The Museum gradually grew to a collection of over 50 vintage aircraft, many of which were built in Southern California and are still in flight-ready condition.
The museum's collection of artifacts, exhibits, and aviation art chronicle the development of aviation in Southern California. The anchor aircraft for the Museum was the Douglas World Cruiser, 'New Orleans' which made the first circumnavigation of the globe along with its sister ship, 'Chicago', in 1924. The 'Chicago' now resides at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum.
The museum was forced to temporarily close in July 2002, due to economic problems. [Wikipedia]

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
Cessna 195 N4467C (c/n 16052)
In 2011 I had the pleasure of some flightseeing in a Cessna 195, over Maine. See MY REPORT

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
Lockheed Vega, NR7952 (replica)
It was donated to the Museum by 20th Century Fox and appeared in the feature film 'Night at the Museum: Battle
of the Smithsonian'.

The Lockheed Vega is an American six-passenger high-wing monoplane airliner built by the Lockheed Corporation starting in 1927. It became famous for its use by a number of record-breaking pilots who were attracted to the rugged and very long-range design.
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly the Atlantic single-handedly in one, and Wiley Post used his to prove the existence of the jet stream after having flown around the world twice.
en.wikipedia.org:_Lockheed_Vega

Amelia Earhart succeeded with her Lockheed Vega setting a record solo non-stop flight across North America on
25August1932. www.thisdayinaviation.com

 

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
Fokker DR.1 Triplane (replica). No original Fokker DR.1 aircraft are known to exist.

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
A Wright Flyer replica, not the only one I came across on this trip

The Wright Flyer was the first heavier than air powered aircraft to take flight. The Wright Flyer used a canard biplane design with a pusher engine.
It made its first flight on 17Dec1903 traveling 120 feet in 12 seconds.
The museum's Wright Flyer is a replica built by 20th Century Fox, as a movie prop for 'Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian'.

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
A look inside the Navion; in 2015 I did some flightseeing a Navion, in Texas: MY REPORT

Museum of Flying

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
With the DC-2 and DC-3 a long line of Douglas aircraft were produced in southern California.
WW2, in a way, gave the Douglas Aircraft Company a strong boost with the C-47, its variants and the DC-4/C-54.
Museum of Flying

 

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
WACO NC3957
Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
A Convair CV240, the remains of an unidentified airframe.

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
History of more recent years: Desert Shield '90 - '91

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
Several jets are preserved and on display outside the museum

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.
This aircraft was an A-4M variant and is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation. The aircraft was modified to represent the Blue Angels by removing the avionics pod and camera bomb targeting system.

North American F-86 Sabre.
This  F-86H was restored and finished with a California Air National Guard livery. Its particular markings are meant to depict 'Operation California Boomerang', when a Sabre jet was used to make a flight, on 21May1955,
from Van Nuys Airport to New York and back in record setting time.  It is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation.

 

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
Pity there was no café nearby, a lunch would have been nice. As it was we actually had to skip lunch
to make it in time to the Long Beach Sea Aquarium before closing: again the traffic slowed us down to a crawl.

 

 

 

 

C-46 in Riverside
A Curtiss C-46 Commando in Riverside, off-airport, in a residential area.
Years ago I found out about this remarkable site, but the identity of this WW2 transport plane, owner
and background (e.g. when and how it got here) remains unsolved, shrouded in the mists of long ago.

C-46 in Riverside

The presence here of this Curtiss Commando has been detailed, including historic images, in my Search For.. gallery

C-46 in Riverside
Date of visit 21Apr2018

C-46 in Riverside

Information to offer? write me!
EMAIL


 

 

 

 

 

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Created: 25-april-2018

Reactions / comments welcomed.