Sometimes you "find" those DC-3/C-47s stored or abondoned, in derelict state, but there always seems to be another life for them, with the right attention (and funding).
Photos © R.Leeuw
G-AMPO (cn16437/33185) went thru various hands before joining Air Atlantique. From the USAAF (44-76853) it went straight thru in 1945 to the RAF as KN566. G-AMPO was first designated in 1952. In rapid succession it was used by Starways LTD (1953), Eagle Aircraft Services (1954), First Air Trading (1954), back to Eagle Acft Svcs (1955) and Starways (1956), Aviation Overhauls (1963), British Westpoint Airlines (1964) and then it went abroad to Polaris Air Transport as LN-RTO (1964). But in 1969 it was reregistered G-AMPO for Field Aircraft Services. That same year it went to British Aircraft Corporation. During the early-1970s it was used by Macedonian Securities and Macedonian Aviation before it returned to Albion and was registered to McDonald Aviation (1975). Then there was Intra Airways in 1975 and Vistair Flight in 1978. Eastern Airways started operating it from 1978 and all this moving about came to an end when it was registered to Air Atlantique in 1981. This photo was taken in july 1997 and although the lack of wings on G-AMPO did not worry me a bit, I feared that this time the days of DC-3s, even with Air Atlantique, are numbered.... And indeed, G-AMPO was placed as a gateguard at RAF Lyneham in Sep01, repainted and marked 'FZ625'
G-AMRA (c/n 15290/26735) has a similar history to G-AMPO. USAAF designated 43-49474 but it went on delivery in 1944 to the RAF as KK151. Mr J.A.Wilson of Starways had it registered G-AMRA in 1952 and was operated by names like Transair (1953), Aden Oil Refining (1953), British United Airways (1960), British & Commonwealth Shipping (1970), British Island Airways (1973), Macedonian Aviation (1974), Humber Airways (1974), Intra Airways (1976) and was purchased by Air Atlantique in 1981. In 2000 the future for G-AMRA looked grim, because of the costs of a major overhaul. But when I photographed G-AMRA in the new livery of Air Atlantique/Atlantic Airlines at Coventry in august 2000, things were looking good and G-AMRA is up and about again for scenic flights.
I came across AMRA once more on 18JUL2011 at Coventry.
You'll find the update there about its sale and subsequent move to Berlin, Germany.
G-AMPZ (c/n 16124/32872) shares a similar history: USAAF 44-76540 and RAF KN442 (1945).
Registered G-AMPZ in 1952 to Starways, like G-AMPO and G-AMRA. It too operated for Transair (1954) and British United Airlines in 1960. But it turned exotic when registered to Pan-American Indonesian Oil Company in 1963. It was registered OD-AEQ for Lebanese Air Transport in 1965, but apparently this was not followed up on.
In 1966 it was registered TF-AIV for Flugsyn.
Field Aircraft Services restored it to G-AMPZ in 1969. That same year it was operated by Norfolk Airways and in 1970 by Air Anglia. Intra Airways used this DC-3 too, in 1973.
In 1978 it was reregistered EI-BDT for Clyden Airways. Then 'Aces High' changed it back again to G-AMPZ, in 1982.
Presently it serves Air Atlantique well and they repainted it in RAF Transport Command livery to commemorate the Berlin Airlift. I photographed it in 2000 when it provided scenic flights from Coventry during the "Fifties Fly In", organised by Atlantic Airlines.
Credits:the above historical information has been found in "The Douglas DC-3 and its predecessors" by J.M.G.Gradidge (the bible for avid DC-3 enthusiasts) and various volumes on the DC-3 written by A. Pearcy.
For more background info on the C-47 Skytrain and its many variants in military service, please follow this link: C-47 Skytrain
And how it all started with the DC-1, DC-2 and that Plane that Changed the World: the DC-3... can be found on this link: History of the DC-3