Vintage planes and recollections by Sean Keating

Ever since I started reading Propliner magazine, I noticed the regular contributions by Sean Keating.
When I travelled through Western Canada we had a chance to meet, and I made good use of his tips on what to visit in the area.
When I had completed my Western Canada 2006 report, with a detailed report on the Canadian Museum of Flight (at Langley,B.C.), Sean noticed my photos of DC-3 CF-PWH, for which preservation he had played a role in restoring and transporting this DC-3 to the museum! I am grateful for his photos and a personal report.
In time , Sean sent some more photos, but maybe not as much as I would have liked!

FOR LATEST UPDATES --->> To bottom page

 


DC-3 CF-PWH, Nov'86


Douglas C-49H CF-PWH (c/n 2198) is seen here at Terrace,BC... considering a restoration for preservation and museum display, looking like this, seems quite a challenge!
Things worked out fine, as can be seen on my report about a visit I undertook to the Canadian Museum of Flight at Langley,B.C. in 2006 where CF-PWH is preserved in exquisite condition and is now the oldest surviving DC-3 in Canada!
History of PWH can also be found on the link above.

Sean wrote-
"I was crew chief on the recovery of DC3 CF-PWH from Terrace to Cloverdale in ’87, when I was part of the Friends of the DC3 Canada -chapter.
Ssome of the members continued on with the restoration when it got to Langley. It was then donated to the Museum of Flight, when the chapter disbanded (that was a few years ago, not sure which date, maybe 1997/98??)."

CF-PWH being dismantled
CF-PWH being dismantled, started in June 1987.

The wing comes apart
The wing comes apart...

CF-PWH loaded onto trailer, June 1987
CF-PWH carefully hoisted onto a trailer, June 1987.

Here is the text Sean wrote on this recovery project many years ago, it is in jpeg format;
recovery, page 1 and recovery, page 2.

Recovery crew of CF-PWH
Recovery crew, June 1987

CF-PWH arrives at Cloverdale during Aug87
CF-PWH arrives at Cloverdale during August 1987.

CF-PWH: reassembly can start
Cloverdale aug87: reassembly can start!

Reading this report, Dirk Septer wrote me in: Aug.2010:
"I remember Sean's DC-3 at the Terrace airport quite well, as it sat there for many years.
Here's some additional info:
The aircraft was built in 1940 as c/n 2918. Named "Flag Ship of Texas" and flew for the American Airlines until the start of WW II when it was recruited for service into the U.S. Air Force.
After the war, it was returned to the manufacturer. It was kept in the corporate fleet until it was sold to Queen Charlotte Airlines in 1953.For the next 20 years, the DC-3 served communities throughout nortwestern British Columbia.
In 1973, it narrowly avoided being cut up for scrap metal.The salvagers litterally had blow torch in hand when the Kitimat Lions Club came up with the money to save the aircraft after they had become aware of its historical value.
But there was never any money to restore the aircraft and it just sat there and deteriorated until the Friends of the DC-3 Society finally came to its rescue in 1987."

Sean Keating also got his hands dirty on the Hawkair Bristol Freighter C-GYQS...


More on this unique propliner can be read on my 2006 Reynolds Transportation Museum page; these photos by Sean recall the days of getting C-GYQS back in the air and its departure from Hawkair's base, Terrace,BC.

This photo shows no.2 engine under maintenance, since the Bristol Freighter had not flown in 2 years.


First engine start in 2 years...
No.1 engine C-GYQS
A mag drop problem on no.1
C-GYQS
Return from a rainy test flight...
discussion
Post-testflight discussion

An excellent DVD was released by Avion Videos in 2008, showing Hawk Air's 'Biffo' and Carvair in operations during the Bronson Creek / Snip Mine Airlift. Excellent footage !!!
DVD Bronson Creek - Snip Mine Airlift


The unique clamshell cargodoors of the Bristol Freighter.
Ideally suited to drive your car into that gaping cavity..
In the cockpit
After departing Terrace on 29Aug04 for Fort St James. The next day the weather deteriorated; the crew is seen here looking for Prince George , somewhere down there amidst the clouds, rain and mist...
The flight continued on 06Sep04 and C-GYQS arrived after 02hr50 at wetaskiwin,ALB.


Some models get the frontcover by positioning themselves casually over a couch or whatever, but Sean had to earn his claim to fame in much less casual style, risking life and limb here...
He is seen here opening the cockpit hatch whilst the crew complete their last ever (?) shut down checklist in the cockpit, following the arrival at Wetaskiwin on 06Sep04.
[Photo by Richard de Boer]

Sean Keating wrote an extensive article about C-GYQS and this trip, "The Last Bristol Bows Out", in Propliner Magazine's 100th issue (published Autumn 2004).

Dirk Septer, also an avid aviotion writer, provided me with his account,
as published in Canadian Aviator, see below:
Last Flight of Bristol Freighter
Last Flight of Bristol Freighter
Last Flight of Bristol Freighter
Last Flight of Bristol Freighter

Sean Keating sent me this photo in Aug07, when he was fiddling with a vintage Percival Pembroke RM2 ...
The photo shows (owner) Rick Barter (RIP) on the left and Sean on the right.
Engine run upEngine run up at Puyallup,WA. in July 2001

Sean wrote: "we nearly got it to fly, just ran out of time and money… which are the two ingredients that make all old propliners fly .."

History of this vintage bird can be found on my page Photos by Friends & Guests (page 9)

 

One thing led to another.. The search for the identity of a DC-3 stored at Winnipeg led to Sean Keating sending me these Feb.1989 pics of two (C-FBFV and C-FFAY) Perimeter Airlines DC-3...
Both were parked adjacent to the Perimeter hangar.

C-FBFV

C-FFAY is Douglas C-47 c/n 4785; I came across C-FFAY in 2006, stored with Buffalo at Red Deer.
C-FFAY

 

C-GYBA at Vancouver
C-GYBA in take off

Sean Keating wrote me, on 03jan10, on the subject of C-GYBA:
"I got a call from Glen Etchells, one of our local YVR experts; he photographed 'YBA on 15th March 1980 in exactly the same place and paint condition as your photo.. He commented that the paint stripping was halted for a period of about two to three months, but in May 1980 he saw it fully polished with new titles. The paint stripping was done by our friend Tyler who earned his living on many ramps in YVR cleaning and supporting commuter aircraft and bizjets.
Given the level of inactivity of 'YBA, and the amount of snow on the mountains, it would be assumed that your photo was taken in that same time period, if not on the same day!
I have added two of my photos, both scans of prints :
1. Vancouver in the winter, January 1982, 'YBA spent a lot of time here at the old Innotech ramp.
2. Abbotsford Air Show, Aug 1980. I think 'YBA was taking up the skydivers to open the show. "

Sean wrote me in response to a visit to Mason Airfield,NH in Oct.09 where I photographed N33623, which used to be C-GYBA.

 

 

Sean Keating visited Shafter,CA on 02Dec2019 and came across N396CG
Convair CV240 N396CG, by Sean Keating (2019)
Convair CV240 N396CG (c/n 93), by Sean Keating (2019)
Here at Shafter Todd Schultz has the Convair stored along with a BT-13. Plan is to clean it up and paint the Convair. The interior is original from 1961 but is in need of a good cleaning, new carpet and headliner. Instrument panel is complete as it was when flying. All this while working on a central location to get the entire collection on display.

Convair CV240 N396CG, by Sean Keating (2019)
Sean wrote: 'My records show N396CG last reported at Camarillo, being dismantled for Lost Birds restaurant near LAX. But I found it here on a back lot at Shafter: wings cut off and in rough condition. Except the museum on
the airfield here is rarely open. Photos taken 02Dec.'

Convair CV240 N396CG, by Sean Keating (2019)

Sean continued in a follow-up email: "Remarkable coincidence! I went back to Shafter as the museum was open
one day, 2-4, and when asked the docent knew who owned the Convair so he showed me the Facebook page and a picture of the owner... Then, the owner walked in the door! Couldn't have timed it better.
He came in for a quick visit, to renew his museum membership.
Well, after my introduction we had an hour long chat about propliners, museums and life in general.
Check out GoldenAgeFlightMuseum.org for Todd Schultz of Bakersfield,CA and his plans for this museum.
Also: www.facebook.com/GoldenAgeFlight
Seems he is looking for more airliners, but very realistic about money; so once he has firmly situated his building, still being negotiated with airport authorities, he may add more to the collection. But not just yet.
The Convair came out of Camarillo just as you see it now, interior is still there but ceiling panels are in bad shape, wing corrosion so bad the upper wing skins were broken away from rivets, no way was it to ever fly again!'

The history of this ConvairLiner has been described in detail on N396CG Convair History and is also depicted on a 1990s photo of mine at Camarillo on my 'CONVAIR PAGE'.


Follow up by Todd: "I have a hangar at Meadows Field (KBFL), where I keep my Howard 250, Siai-Marchetti Riviera, Waco YKS-6 and a couple of other planes. At Shafter I have two aircaft stored. At Bakersfield Mun'l (L45) I keep the PT-23 and Thorp T-18.
The issue at Meadows field is my hangar doesn't have public access for people to drive up and walk in.
I'm waiting for another hangar to come up, which will work much better and I can get all the planes in one place for people to see and give rides."


 

 

We continue here with Sean's 2019 USA SW roadtrip. He wrote here: "To confirm the continued existence of the nose of Viscount N7458 at the Wings of History Air Museum in San Martin, CA.
Here on site since about 2001. It is totally out of place given the balance of the museum emphasis on 1920-30 era wooden aircraft, but it is cared for and respected by staff and visitors.
I had forgotten it existed. In fact I may have seen this plane in the UK in 1970 when owned by Grekenheimer Productions! My notes are at home, but not too many US Viscounts appeared in UK/Europe at that time and it just rings a bell!
I could be wrong but I know I 'spotted' an ex/ United AL one about this time...
www.wingsofhistory.org


Vickers Viscount N7458

They asked for any photos of their Viscount "not currently on the internet" to be sent by email to them for their records. They have very little information on the activities of the aircraft after United AL other than it operated in Mexico for a while.
Inside the completely original cockpit is a ring binder, with a few internet photos and a print out of the history for s/n 213 from www.vickersviscount.net

Vickers Viscount N7458

I got there when the museum was officially closed as they were having their staff Christmas party, one of the staff gave his time as I said I wanted to view the Viscount, he treated me to the captain's seat and gave me a full rum down of what they know about it... He rides a Triumph motorcycle so he understands us weird Brit's..!
Location Wings of History Air Museum in San Martin,CA


The cockpit of N7458
Cockpit of Vickers Viscount N7458

 

 

Sean: "While doing my tourist obligations I researched a few of the places to see in SE California, one was the Salton Sea. I turned into 'Bombay Beach' on the eastern shore of the lake and it looked like a bomb had really gone off. Dilapidated houses, covered in graffiti, and a complete dishevelled look to the place. Not unlike most of the southern desert small towns with no work.
I cruised a few streets looking for old cars and buses and … boom... the Lodestar from Burning Man!"

The Lockheed Lodestar of The Burning Man event
Aviation Art from The Burning Man 2018 edition. More info in the box below.
Also published on my 'Mystery Planes' gallery.

The Lockheed Lodestar of The Burning Man event
It was never identified to the N-number or manufacturer's serial number. EMAIL

Check out: polumbo.com/Lodestar-at-Burning-Man and his other work polumbo.com/BIO-CV


Sean: "I took photos from outside the fence, as there were dogs yapping from unknown sources and feeling happy continued my cruise around town... boom again... this time what looks like a Beech King Air 90 or round window Beech Queen Air (what do you think?) set up as a wind vane with new tail and wing 'feathers'. Photos below.
Gotta figure this out!

And as I'm walking around the fence, with more dog noises in the background, a white pickup truck appears in the driveway and out gets this friendly guy who invites me into his artists studio 'Bombay Beach Arts & Culture'.
Now, my mother warned me about these people when I was young...LOL...
But, a great guy; mostly a machinery operator (bulldozers, et cetera), but works with a group of about 15 artisans who build unusual objects for Burning Man events.
Last year he was also on the team for the 747, see below.
Current projects are very large pyramids for the Virgin Galactic Space Centre and he has a DC-3 (!) stored near Las Vegas for their next undisclosed project...
He made a comment that the art and craft industry in Nevada is now the 3rd largest industry, behind mining and casinos.
Burning Man costs at least US$500 per ticket and with 70.000 (soon to be 100) attendees spending on average $5-7.000 at least in the region, he could be right.

I was trying to find out where the Lodestar came from but all he could remember was that one member of the group found it on Craigslist, but couldn't remember what city...
In fact, there is so little of the original plane left; the large steels supports and ribs hold the chandelier in place and the skin of the plane has been attached to the ribs.
It is fully accessible, once in the doorway there is a staircase to the top.
Originally a contract for artist Randy Plumbo for a concert at Coachella, it was moved to Burning Man and back to Bombay Beach.
At $50k every time it moves it will stay there for a while!"

Plane artfully made over into a weather vane, at Bombay Beach (info in the box above)
Bombay Beach plane turned into a weather vane; S.Keating 2019
Bombay Beach plane turned into a weather vane; S.Keating 2019; EMAIL for info on identification

Bombay Beach plane turned into a weather vane; S.Keating 2019


Sean wrote: "January 7th (2020), Quartzsite AZ. It has quite a name for itself as a vast camp ground for recreational vehicles from the rich to the poor, some parking up all year or just a few days, totally unregulated. At the west end of town I found a few 'display' aircraft but as yet no clue as to why they are there..?
Beech Seminole
From Joe Baugher's website: 'Beech L-23D-BH Seminole, 58-3086 (c/n RLH-87). Rebuilt from L-23A 52-6200, MSN LH-39. Converted to RU-8D. To MASDC as UB085 Sep 27, 1979. Noted October 1996 at WASP Aviation Museum, Quartzsite, AZ. To N130AZ Feb 26, 1998 to Oldham C. Richard of Quartzsite, AZ. Still present at Quartzsite, Arizona in December 2015 as N130AZ.'


Sean Keating went to check a venue on my Off-Airport Gallery for its current status.
Convair T-29 diner in Tulare,CA: Flying Taco!
Sean: "Today (22Jan20) I visited Tulare,CA to confirm the existence of the Aero Dog T-29 as most websites show it as permanently closed. Well, the airplane still exists and the restaurant is now reborn as 'Flying Tacos'!
For more follow the link!


 

Sean found Douglas C-54E N460WA at Castle Airport (Atwater,CA; 23Jan20) in some maintenance.
C-54E of Florida Air Transport at Castle-Atwater, by Sean Keating (2020)
This was Tanker 151 for ARDCO and I found it stored in 2008 at Tucson's Ryan Field while for sale (by 2006 total
23.382 airframe hours and price US$200.000). Good to see it got another lease on life. It was damaged in 2002
by ground equipment (forklift?) and had a 'new' tail fitted (pics on Photos by Friends & Guests #43). It arrived
at Opa Locka,FL (KOPF) 04Feb2010 for use by Florida Air Transport. By Nov.2011 N460WA was based at
Castle Airport under contract to provide oil dispersant support, been converted to sprayer. I don't see
spray bars fitted here? Apparently they can be fitted in less than 30 minutes.

C-54E of Florida Air Transport at Castle-Atwater, by Sean Keating (2020)
Douglas C-54E N460WA (c/n 27359/305).
Marked as '449133'(44-49133) but no sign of N460WA on the starboard side here. I think this C-54 was
painted in USAAF camouflage livery for the Berlin Airlift 65th anniversary (2013) celebrating at California's
Capital Airshow at Sacramento-Mather Airport. They spraybars had been removed then as well.

C-54E of Florida Air Transport at Castle-Atwater, by Sean Keating (2020)
Has N460WA been reskinned on top?

Castle Airport (IATA: MER, ICAO: KMER) is a public airport eight miles northwest of Merced, in Merced County, California.
The airport is operated by the Merced County Department of Commerce, Aviation, and Economic Development. It is owned jointly by the city of Merced, the city of Atwater, and Merced County.
The airport was formerly designated as Castle Air Force Base (1941–1995), a United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base which was closed after the end of the Cold War in 1995.
See my visit to Castle Air Museum in 2018.

C-54E of Florida Air Transport at Castle-Atwater, by Sean Keating (2020)
Strange to see the window in the door painted over. Or is that masking tape, yet to be removed?

Comments by Michael Patrick David Reeves (FB): "The door has tape yet to be removed. I've been supplying the owner with stencils (I do that for the Castle Air Museum) and after insignias we are looking to mark a lot of the exterior vents, hatches, etc."
Marc Hookerman (FB) added: "Plan is to make it close to the 1942 Air Transport Command scheme, with olive drab and neutral gray undersides. The exisiting paint that we applied back in 2013 was a 10th hour rush to get it dressed up for the Berlin Airlift segment of the California Capital Airshow at Sacramento-Mather that year."


 

Sean wrote: "KC-97 @Medford airport - this has to be the worst opening hours for any aircraft exhibit, 1hr per week!"
KC-97 52-895 at Medford,OR
Joe Baugher: "52-895 (msn 16589) converted to KC-97L. To N1365D, on display at Rogue Valley AP, Medford, OR.

From my files: 'Stratofreighter, N1365D Erickson Air Crane Company, Central Point, OR. (ex/Hemet Valley, see
www.jetphotos.com at Stockton,CA).

From: jacksoncountyor.org/airport/Amenities/KC-97-Fuel-Tanker¬

"The Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport is home to this unique historic aircraft. The plane is available to rent for meetings, events, or parties.

The Boeing KC-97 was part of the Strategic Air Command and its versatility as a multi-purpose aircraft allowed it to be used as a troop transport/cargo carrier/hospital ship and in-air refueler. As a cargo carrier it moved heavy equipment carrying light tanks, ambulances, artillery or a combination of these.
Some early models were called the “flying ambulance” and were used to bring Korean War causalities back to the west coast from Japan.
The quick convertibility of the KC-97 from basic freighter to in-air refueler was made possible by the unique packaging of the tanker equipment and flying boom.

This particular aircraft was built in 1952 and was delivered to the 306th Bombardment at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida in September, 1953. Over the years it has been deployed to Germany, Morocco, Newfoundland, and Lajes Ab Azores in support of unit movements and special operations.
This aircraft continued its service with a number of Strategic Air Command units before its retirement in 1978 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

Her final flight was made in November of 1990 to what was then the Medford-Jackson County Airport. Here she was lovingly restored to be enjoyed by future generations."

Her 'good side' is shown on deankmiller.com/kc-97-aircraft

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