Oshkosh 1998In 1998 I toured the Great Lakes and included a day at Oshkosh, for the EAA Fly In. This had been a wish for many years. I found the crowds were overwhelming and the number of airplanes, both small and large, were impressive too!
Photos © R.Leeuw
Delivered as XC-53A (prototype) to the USAAF on 27Mar43 to USAAF, tailnumber 42-6480 (cn4932). It turned to civil aviation as N69032 for Brinkerhoff Drilling Co, Dallas, TX in Dec. '53. The next owner was Corning Glass Works, NY in June 1963 and was reregistered as N48CG. It was changed slightly in 1967: N480G.
It entered the Canadian register as CF-VGO for C. W. Millard (15 June '67). The next year it moved on to Canadian Aero Service (Quebec) Ltd, registered as CF-WGO-X on April 02nd, 1968.
The next owner was Spartan Air Services Ltd, from Ottawa, Ont, who registered is as CF-VGO on Jan. 04th 1971.
Next was Air Dale Ltd, in Sault Ste. Marie in Jan. '75. The Canadian registration system was modified and in 1975 the tailnumber was changed to C-FWGO. It went on an exotic lease in Dec. 1978 as 8P-WGO for Tropic Air.
It re-entered the Canadian register again on Jan. 27nd 1983 for Air Dale Ltd as is probably returned from the lease.
Great Northern Freight was the next owner, which changed the tailnumber to C-FWGO (09Dec88). And it was leased to Great Bend Sport Para from Jan.'91 to Dec. 30th '94).
During the early 1990s it also operated for Classic Air Lines, under the same registration, C-FWGO. In 1996 it returned to the US Register as N603MC for MAC Flightlease. The initials are interesting: MC for Michael Chowdry. He was the founder of Atlas Air, an aircraft leasing company solely equipped with 747s. Mr Chowdry was also an aviation enthusiast and owned several aircraft. He died in a crash in January 2001 while flying his L-39 jet.
I took this photo at Oshkosh in 1998, while making a splendid flypast. Meanwhile it has found a home at Oshkosh, as it was registered on Sept. 20th 2001 to EAA Foundation Inc., at Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
C-47 cn9028 went to the USAAF as 42-32802 on Feb. 10th 1943. It wwas registered for commercial service as NC9562H on 17Sep46.
Next we see it as N13875 for National Automotive Fibres Inc. of Detroit, MI (nicknamed 'The Administrator') in Nov. 1953. it stayed in the same area as N75C for the Detroit Steel Corp (Detroit, MI, 1966).
From industry it went to education: as N7503 it was registered to Ohio Univ Inc, Athens, OH in 1968, which was changed to N1800U in Oct. 1969. And again changed to N1800D at some later date.
The next owner had a funny name: Jungle Aviation & Radio Service ! They took ownership in Nov. 1971 and were based in Waxhaw, NC. I think they did something in relief flights, but I am not sure.
In 1973 it went to South America as CP-1020 for the "Instituto Linguistico de Verano". Perhaps this was a lease as it was registered again as N92578 for Jungle Avn & Radio Svce Inc. on Aug. 27th 1981. See below. Its present tailnumber N92578 entered the register for California Air Tours Inc, CA, on 03Aug1989.
In 1990 we see it registered to Mr. Asher Ward (Van Nuys, CA) for Nostalgia Air Tours in Hawaii. Titles were applied and written over the cabindoor was "A Blast from the Past". A photo can be seen in the book DC-3 & C-47 Gooney Birds by Michael O'Leary (Motorbooks, 1992), page 47.
But it ever went to Hawaii (a better offer came along) as it was registered to DC-3 Inc. in Nantucket, Maine on June 07th '91.
And maybe it did not go to Maine either ! As during the 1990s it was completely overhauled by the Santa Barbara Aerospace Company at San Bernardino Airport, CA. The photo shows N92578 in USAF livery with small "Norton AFB" titles on the tailfin. Norton AFB was closed during the 1990s and is now operated as a civil aviation airport.
N92578 has meanwhile been reregistered to Richard Brown of Rockwall,TX (30Jul01).
Another one with a varied history !
It started out as C-47A-90-DL for the USAAF as 43-15935 (c/n 20401) on its delivery on May 29th 1944. It went to Oahu in 1944 and moved on to Manila. Since it was in that part of the world, it's hardly surprising that it was sold on Nov. 29th 1946 to Silver City Airways (Australia), which had it registered as VH-BHC.
Via a UK-registration G- ALFO for Theeine Corp. in 1948, it went to Standard Industries Corp as N94529 in 1950. The next owner was Esso Shipping Co Inc, NY (Oct.1951 to Nov.1953, as N300A). Then there was Butter North System Inc. and Standard Industries Inc. (N700E) in Tulsa,OK. We see it changing hands again to St Louis-San Francisco Railway Co, St Louis, MO in 1964 and to Diamondhead Properties Inc. also in St Louis (1970). They put N20DH on it in June 1970. But on April 03rd 1972 it was registered to Metropolitan Mooney, Teterboro, NJ and J. Bowman of Greenville, SC took possession of it in May 1972. (N3BA rereg. July 1972).
The names become more vague: Inor Corporation and Bo-S-Aire Corp (1975) and R C Schnabel, Greenville, SC (neighbour of J.Bowman?) in 1976.
Again Bo-S-Aire Corp in 1978, possibly a lease. Time for a change of identity: N890P for R.C Schnabel (lease terminated ?) on April 21st 1979. On to Skyway Aviation of Ft Leonard Wood, MO May 1979 and then to Texas for Skyway Avtn of Texas, Brownsville, TX (June 19th 1980). Thus we enter the 1980s.
Air Americana in Oct. 1980 and Compadre Markets Inc, Corpus Christi, TX a year later, Jan. 28th 1981.
Southwind Airlines started operating N890P in July 1986. It went to AvLease in March 1990 and was registered to R. Burwell as few months later, who put N12RB on it. It went to Dakota Aircraft Inc., to Viking Express and to Richard Branson's Vintage Air Tours (1992-1995) in Florida.
On Nov. 12th 1997 it was registered to Vintage Wings & Things and they owned it when I took this photo.
It was stored for some time at Lafayette,LA. At some point the owner died (as I was told at Lafayette) and it was sold to the Cavanaugh Collection (Addison,TX) in June 2001. It was officially reg'd to the museum on 19Feb03 and seen with markings '31595/C8'.
Boy, it was hot out there ! The crowds seek shelter under the wings of N3FY (cn20562), unaware of its destiny to crash...
Msn20562 started as 43-16096 with the USAAF on June 24th 1944. It went to Norway that year. As 43-16096 it enlisted with the Norwegian Air Force inMay 1945. It helped to get commercial aviation of the ground there as LN-IAN for DNL, first on a lease, later (Oct.'47) it was bought. DNL became SAS when Norway, Sweden and Denmark put their heads together. in 1948. It was registered as F-OADR for Les Avions Bleus "Francoise" in France on March 25th 1949.
Time to get back: as N9989F it started operating for Cornell Dubilier Electric Corp, NJ in 1951. Then in 1966 it went to Huber Homes Inc., being reregistered as N335HH in Jan. 1968. In 1970 it was time to move on: H M Dunn, Lexington, KY Jan. 1970 and to Midwest Airlines June 1970. It crossed the border into Canada as CF-ABA for Aviation Sales Intl on June 07th 1972. It picked up on its French again for Albig Avtn Ltd in Lorette, PQ (Reg. 04 July 1972).
On April 26th 1973 it started operating for Sigfusson Transport Ltd of Winnipeg, Manitoba. This did not last long: to Superior Airways in April 1973 and to Ontario Central Airlines and to Reindeer Air Services and to Wright Enterprises Ltd, Edmonton, Alberta (this was in 1974). A lot of operators in 2 years time !
And it goes on: Ilford Riverton Airways (1978) and Wright Enterprises (Jan. 22nd 1979). It was cancelled from the Canadian register in Sept. 1979.
On Oct.17th that year it received a new tailnumber: N3FY for Yukon Air Service in Fairbanks, AK. It also operated for Air North.
In 1990 it was registered with Rocky Mountain Helicopter (!), Provo,Utah. It was bought in Oct.1993 by "Living Water Teaching Inc." which has a religious background. It was stationed at Quetzaltenango, Guatamala and operated as "Mercy Wings". It crashed in foul weather on Nov. 01st 1998 (only months after I took this photo) near its homebase.
The sound of the Basler Turbo props takes a bit of getting used to, but it sure gave an impressive performance ! It was 'born' so to speak as as a C-47B and I am sure some people would have wanted to stay that way.
At first it was issued a construction number 16305, but Douglas had duplicated c/n's and thus it was issued a new one: 33053. It entered the USAAFas 44-76721 on April 07th 1945. It was transferred as KN515 to the RAF at Montreal Canada on April 08th 1945. It did service with no. 24 Squadron at first, later no.83 Sqdn (Nov.1946), no.42 Group (July 1947), Medical Middle East (April 02nd 1948), no.78 Sqdn and so on till it went to the French Air Force as 476721 in July 1953 and later to the French Navy ("Aeronavale") during the 1970s.
During the 1980s it was bought by Air Perigord and in 1985 by Basler Turbo Conversions Inc., where it was registered as N72BF. At some point it was reregistered as HK-3675 for Air Colombia Ltda, but it was seized in 1996 under the "Asset Seizure & Forfeiture Program". Drugs involved ? I don't know.
It went up for auction and at that time was parked at Midland, TX. In August 1997 it was registered to Good Aviation LLC and seen at Los Cerillos (Santiago, Chile) on March 29th 1998, equipped with skis for use at Antarctica !
On August 22nd 1999 it was registered again to Basler, maybe it had been on a demo tour ?
This time it got N200AN for a tailnumber. In July 2000 it was seen at Missoula,Montana for World Air Logistics, but the next year it was based at Fairbanks, Alaska with Enterprise Airlines titles painted on it. It flew in 'smoke jumpers' for the fire fighting teams. Enterprise A/l is a Canadian outfit, based at Oshawa, Ontario and had N200AN reregistered as C-GEAI on Nov.01st 2001. Ready for a new lease on life !
To show you that it's not just about DC-3s, here is Curtiss C-46F N53594 (cn22486) Commando, moments after touchdown.
It operated with Meteor Air Transport during the 1950s and later by Riddle (1960) and Zantop (1963), which changed its name to Universal Airlines in 1966. In 1970 it was bought by Ortner Air Services and operated in Quanama, West Indies. Maybe it was at this time converted to pesticide sprayer. In April 1973 it was bought by Plymouth Leasing Company, still as N53594.
It was donated to the Confederate Air Force in 1978 and nicknamed 'Humpty Dumpty'. And so it joined the air show circuit, living off donations. In 1981 it was ferried to Van Nuys,CA for a complete overhaul, after which is was christened 'China Doll'. It still goes by that name.
It is fortunate that some people go through the trouble to keep such an fine aircraft in an airworthy condition, as the C-46 Commando is definitely an 'endangered specie'!.
Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina N96UC (c/n 1737) is a welcome visitor to Oshkosh. It is registered to Universal Associates Inc (since March 21st 1996) in Wilmington,Delaware (but that's probably for tax reasons, as I saw it comfortably parked at New Tamiami Airport (near Miami) in Florida).
It started out with the US Navy as 48375 and somehow ended up in Paraguay with armed forces as FAP2002. At a later date it was registered to Frank Porter as N96FP, while still in Paraguay I believe.
I would welcome more information on the previous history of this aircraft, like dates and details.
Credit for the above info, besides from my own database:
"The Douglas DC-3 and its predecessors" by J.M.G.Gradidge, 1984 Air-Britain (Historians).
"Curtiss C-46" by Lundkvist Aviation Reserach (1981).