C-119s at Fort Campbell,KY
Some publications stated that a C-119, with construction number 10676, is preserved as N15505 at Brig.-General Don F. Pratt Museum, Hopkinsville-Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Sources stated that it was on display and marked as 131679.
This is proven not to be true.
These photos by Patrick B. Allis, taken in 1996, prove that there are 2 C-119s and he wrote me the following:
"While at the Fort Cambell KY museum during 6-29-96 I photographed TWO C-119F's one reg. N15505 (round short nose) missing tail, and wings and
other parts in a storage yard, basic RCAF marking still visible.
The other C-119 sports the serial "131679" with the long snoop nose. But it has been painted with roller paint silver. So I cannot make out the original markings.
On various forums discussions developed concerning the identities of these 2 C-119s.
My assumption by various research, for the time being, is: N15505 = c/n 10684. This was confirmed in 2005 when it was offered for sale (see below).
And 131679 = c/n 10676. This is more tricky...
Please read on, nothing is what it seems..
Photos © Patrick B. Allis
The C-119 clearly marked as N15505 and is stored in the warehouse lot of the museum; the museums's historian, John O'Brien, was kind enough to climb on board and came back with the following info: "There are no markings on the plane. I can find nothing of much help on the history of the plane in our files. It came here well before my time. I just climbed into it this afternoon. There was a small data plate between the pilot and the copilot position with the following information:
Control Number W33-038-AC-19200
N15505 was offered for sale on the internet during May 2006: http://gsaauctions.gov/gsaauctions/aucalcat/ (link no longer valid, july 2015) opened May 10th, and offered the following description:
AIRCRAFT, FAIRCHILD C-119G. N15505. S/N:10-676 DATA PLATE SEAL NO. 10684.
NOT OPERATIONAL. WINGS ARE OFF AND LAYING NEXT TO THE FUSELAGE. SOME MAJOR COMPONENTS ARE MISSING.
Don F. Pratt Museum
Fort Campbell, KY 42223-5919
During 2006 a price of usd 5.000,- was quoted to me as the asking price for this C-119.
A discussion on Air-Britain's Yahoo list (for members only) again raised some doubt about the true identity of N15505; Luc Wittemans sent me this in Oct03:
"The construction plate on board, read by Mr. O'Brien, is tied to a Norwegian Air Force (former Belgian Air Force) C-119; restoration or use of spares is thought to be unlikely. Documentation with the FAA of N15505 corresponds with a Canadian Air Force C-119 and this aircraft's paintwork seems to indicate former use by the Canadians."
The white top on this aircraft does not necessarily mean a RCAF history: many of the tops of USAF Reserve C-119s were painted white after they came back to the USA. An example:
Sabena did most of the IRAN (Inspection and Repair As Needed) work on USAF(Europe) C-119s and most of the refurbishing before they went to Belgium; and they painted their Air Force C-119s silver gray -- not white. A history reading: USAFE - Belgian AF (repainted) - Norwegian AF (wrecked) - back to USAF (repaired and repainted grey/white) .... seems highly unlikely !
If only we could take DNA tests on some of these airframes !!
The following exchange led to the above info:
....131679 is confirmed in AMARC records as having departed storage (off inventory Sep81). Recent inspection of the c/n plate of N15505 showed C-119C c/n 10684, which would make this aircraft the former 51-2695 and ex Belgian CP4/OT-CAD. However, N15505 is registered as c/n 10676 and still wears basic RCAF c/s!
CP-4/OT-CAD was one of a number of F models that went to the Norwegian Air Force following service with the Belgian AF. In Norway it was allocated the code BW-E although I think it had no serial assigned.
Seven of the eight C-119Fs, transferred from Belgium to Norway in 1956, survived; the only loss being, as it happens, 51-2695 (the former CP-4/OT-CAD) that crashed on 06Dec68. The others were taken back by the Americans when the RNoAF no longer had need of them and they were placed in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, 51-2693/698/699 during May 1969 and 51-2692/697/702/705 in July 1969. All seven remained there until 1976 when they were sold for scrap to some of the adjacent yards.
Do you or anyone else know if any or all of the Norwegian C-119Fs were converted to G model? The example in the museum's backyard certainly has the fin under the tailboom of the C-119G.
The fact that N15505 showed a white top (photo top), resembling part of ex/Royal Canadian Air Force colourscheme (see also Bill Reid's photo below), would support c/n 10676 except the plate inside is definitive in my opinion and shows c/n 10684. The trouble with N15505=cn10684 is that it never flew with the RCAF (so where did the paintscheme come from) and c/n 10684 allegedly crashed while on lend/lease in Norway 06Dec68.
The search continues......... There seems to be no details on the crash in Norway; perhaps it was a mishap on an airport, quite possibly deemed "beyond economic repair", but.... maybe, just maybe, ...the remains were shipped back to the USA, for use of spares if you like or to complete the transfer of what was previously leased to the Norwegians by the Americans ...?!!
Gordon Reid visited the museum in July 2003 and noted that N15505 was now all silver, but apparently the tailnumber had been removed too.
Aad van der Voet's explanation has some clear cut logic and brings the theory back to
N15505 = c/n 10684
He wrote: "The link between the crashed 51-2695 and c/n 10684 is merely based on a continued count of the production batches and the math dictated 51-2695 to be c/n 10684. But this has never been proven and most likely is an incorrect assumption."
C/n 10684 did not crash in Norway, so which one did?
Jo-Olav Bakken provided me with some interesting details on C-119s in service with Norwegian Air Force.
John O'Brien provided me with the following info on this C-119:
"The fully restored aircaft with the number 679 on display outside our museum was orginally a Marine Corps aircraft C-119 Bu.No. 131679. The nose was modified when we received it to make it appear an Air Force Model."
This is the URL of the museum:
http://www.campbell.army.mil/ (check tab 'Installation' and select from drop down menu Don F Pratt Museum)
The following was sent to me during Oct.2003:
Hello Ruud; I stumbled on your website accidentally and got very interested. I was assigned to VMR-252 In the late 1950's I flew the R4Q-2 (C-119F) for about three years and about 2.000 hours out of MCAS Cherry Point,NC. Curious, I checked the log book and there was 131679 as my bird from Oct 4-9 , 1958. I was flying with our detachment out of Port Lyautey Morocco.
We kept 4 planes there supporting the Navy's 6th Fleet throughout the Med. We would fly 240 hours off of each airplane we brought over and then return it to Cherry Point for it's major check. We did not have an intermediate maintenance activity at Port Lyautey. The picture looks like old 679 except for one detail, the nose....
At that time all of our "Qs" had been retrofitted with APS-42 weather Radar. The Radome was bulbous as the picture shows but I remember it being smoothly faired into the nose, not looking like an add-on as the picture seems to show. Your notes said the museum had to modify the nose to make it look "Air Force" . It's possible that before 679 came into civilian hands the Radar was removed, since it was usable in several other existing aircraft. A look in the cockpit could tell, the CRT was huge and was fitted directly above the navigators station. All R4Q-2s were F models diverted from USAF contracts. and had the G models ventral fins as did most USAF F models.
The only real way to tell an F from a G is to check the props. The F had Hamilton Standards and the G had Aero-Products. After looking up 679 I realized that she took me to Palma for a 2 RON ("Remain over nights"). In 1958 Palma was absolutely WONDERFUL, but that's another story. About half of the R4Qs that you list are in my logbooks. Hope the info helps.
Major USMC (ret.)
The construction number (c/n or msn) of "131679" is also under discussion; sources have it as c/n 10882 but
Joe Baugher's website with US military serials, shows this:|
131679 (c/n 10846) to MASDC as 4C0024 Apr 11, 1974. The plane preserved at D F Pratt Museum, Fort Campbell, KY marked as 131679 is actually a former RCAF machine 22101 (c/n 10676) !!!
Jeff Rankin-Lowe wrote me this on c/n 10676's history:|
If 131679 is indeed ex-RCAF 22101, then the c/n is 10676 and it was originally slated to be 51-2687 for the USAF, but the order was cancelled, and it, along with '688 and '689 became part of the RCAF's order. The info I have is that 22101 is in the museum at Ft Campbell, but that's based on other peoples' sightings, not my own. It's also been reported to me that the example preserved at Ft Campbell wears 131679, which was an R4Q-2 as has been noted.
22101 was ordered and delivered as a C-119F but like all surviving RCAF C-119s, it was later upgraded to a G model. It was t/o/s on 8 September 1952 and was s/o/s on 21 September 1965. It went to Hawkins & Powers as N15505 on 8 March 1976. (I don't know if anyone else had it between 1965 and 1976.)
Bill Reid: "I found this picture. It was taken in 1957 at Trenton, Ontario. They are numbers 22101 (front) and 22131.
During July 2006 I received following email:
"I was stationed there from 1955 to 1964 when the a/c were moved to Ottawa. The a/c in the picture are 22101 and 22131; and including 22134 were our usual a/c. The unit was 4 (Transport) Operational Training Unit. It was tasked with training all Transport Command air crews at the time.
We ceased C-119 training in 1964 when aircraft and crews were attached to 436 Transport Sqdn. at RCAF Station. Uplands.Ottawa.
I flew as a Flight Engineer with Bill Reid who has sent you information in previous e-mails."
Alex A. Gray
During Oct.2006 I received the following:
The R.C.A.F 436 squadron located it Downsview Ontario (and later on in Uplands Ontario) had several C119's.
Downsview is located in the the northern part of Toronto Ontario, and Uplands is located near Ottawa Ontario; the squadron was a transport squadron and the mascot was an elephant.
I was an aero engine technician and was in the Canadian airforce for 7 years, and worked on the C-119 the whole time; I also worked on the C-130's when they first arrived to the squadron.
We (the squadron) found the C-119 a very safe and reliable aircraft.
Lloyd F Urquhart.
So the C-119 in front is possibly 679, the nose looks little different though; but it was said, by the museum's historian, that it was modified to make it look "Air Force". But it adds weight to the theory that 131679 is ex/RCAF 22101 and thus c/n 10676. No reports exist of a recent visit inside 131679.
The photo prompted several reactions, resulting in the following:
There was a C-119 squadron based at RCAF Station Downsview. 436 (Transport) Squadron was there from 1956 to 1964.
The photo may have been taken at Downsview looking west from the parking lot, immediately north of Bay one of the old DHC Mosquito factory. There is a low
fence still at this location similar to the one pictured. If correct, the double wartime hangar on the east side of the field (with the control tower) is immediately behind the two aircraft.
The two cars by the fence can be identified: the Ford seems to be a '57 and the Pontiac is a '54, the last year they made that body with the straight 8. The car on the left seems like a white coloured 1962, '63, or maybe even 1964 Pontiac, Oldsmobile or Buick! Obviously if the car is a 1962 or newer model, the picture could not have been taken in 1957 and maybe was taken as late as 1964 or even later.
An email (27Dec04) by Mark Connolly may confirm the timeframe of this picture to be early 1960s:
I was an air force brat at Trenton in the 1960s. The aircraft in question are parked at the west end of the tarmac at 9 Hangar, in the background behind the fuselage of the front Boxcar is the base firehall and about 500 yards west was my home.
As far as the vehicle in question please refer to the attached as I believe it will help to clarify the time period. The attachment is from dealer promos for 1962 Oldsmobile Holiday88:
Thanks Mark !
Jim Tomlinson wrote me April 2006 with the following observation:
"I've just been looking at some old photos of mine taken at Greybull in 1987.
I have a shot of N15505/01 parked minus engines at Greybull. It has the long nose rather than the flat nose of 'N15505' in the pictures at Fort Campbell.
The position of the aerial on the top of the forward fuselage is also different between the two aircraft. The N15505 at Greybull had a white aerial on top of the forward fuselage, the one at Fort Campbell has a black aerial.
N15505 at Greybull was still in basic old RCAF colors with the titles painted out. Apart from the white top to the fuselage I see nothing
else similar in the schemes of the two N15505s.
So if '131679' is really the real N15505/01 from Greybull and 'N15505' is really c/n 10684 what happened to the real 131679 which is listed as departing MASDC in 1981 and going to the museum at Fort Campbell?
I guess the only way to be sure is for someone to go inside '131679' and check the plate!
Trying to fathom all this makes my head hurt!!!
I quite agree Jim!
I received a welcome update in August 2008, on N15505:
"I am MSG Lindsay from the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade at FT Campbell
Ky, I am part of a team assisting the Pratt Museum in re-assembling the
C-119 N15505 for display.
We will be working on the C-119 oven the next
few months. The Aircraft is currently missing a few critical parts
that we would like to find to include a severely damaged nose cone and
one of the wing bolt's.
If you know where we might obtain them please
let me know."
MSG Bryan Lindsay
159th CAB BMS
On 23Oct08 Bryan wrote me the following update:
"I was able to get into the aircraft and snap a few pictures.
The serial on the bulkhead wall to
the right of the ladder verifies the aircraft as Serial 10676.
aircraft has the extended nose cone that may have came off the other
aircraft on display at the Museum, as it now has the shorter nose cone. The nose cone on the
restoration aircraft was the extended CAF nose.
On 'round 2' I found the first serial 10676 located on the
forward bulk head, like I said. But then I found the second Serial 10684 was located inside the cockpit...
The tail numbers N15505 still shows through the primer. "
Now this really puts me in an identity crisis! Two construction numbers for the same aircraft, how is that possible !?!
Roy Gorris wrote me this update on 10Jan2011:
"Both C-119's are now on display; we just finished the horizontal stab refurbishment for N15505 C-119.
Tthere is still a lot of confusion about the true identity of both C-119's at Fort Campbell. I hope to get access to C-119 N15505 later this week, if the weather holds up because we are going to try to hang the stabilizer back on.
One of the airframes has two data-plates showing two different c/n's and that makes it extremely hard to figure out which is which, since it could go either way.
Attached are some pictures of the C-119 N15505 I have been working on.
The rudders are also in the process of being redone, but the museum lost some of the hardware, so it is going to be a pain to reattach them.
One time, around 2004 or so, the museum offered the frames for sale: $ 5,000 - no takers unfortunately. I have a feeling one of the C-119's is ex/ RCAF rather than USAF."
Sean Keating advised me of a clue to identifying former Canadian C119's: the radar nose cone, if a museum has replaced it with a short nose, then the screw holes still show the outline of the original nose.
"Went back to check 131679 and there are screw-holes on the frame from the long-nose mod.
Therefore could it simply be that 131679 and N15505 are both RCAF, both not USAF?"
Roy wrote me another update in Apr.2012:
"Have been working the C-119 at Campbell on an off but I think the confusion is that the aircraft in question has many data-plates all over the aircraft.. It has many different part modifications on the aircraft: has C-119C (airplane Mod) vertical tails , it has C-119F and C-119C clambshell doors..! But I feel N15505 is ex RCAF 22101 as parts in the main cabin display '22101'.
Also I think N15505 was not used to restore the other C-119 on display, though parts however have since been swapped between the aircraft since both are on display; N15505 is the only one that wears the long-nose now.
We are going to strip the aircraft of paint shortly and repaint it, so many some of the Canadian history might come out.. The aircraft has a white top still, with a large 8 on top of the fuselage."
A few months later Roy wrote:
"N15505 is for sure ex/ RCAF 22101: discovered RCAF Maple Leaf on top of the left wing, faded under layers of paint we stripped. And underneath the wing it stated RCAF '101', so N15505 is for sure
RCAF 22101 !"
An update followed in early august 2012:
"Here is the latest, and greatest!, regarding former RCAF '22101' (N15505);
project has been completed and the aircraft keys have been handed back to the museum."
A few explanatory words from Roy;
"What does that code ‘563’ on the nose signifies.
The aircraft is ex/ RCAF 22101, confirmed by the parts inside the aircraft that are marked'22101' and the former RCAF Maple Leaf on the Wings etc.
USAF Serial 51-2687.
We picked '563' because of the time some people of B Company, 563rd ASB, volunteered to get the aircraft in its present state.
The Blue was picked for the windows to keep the aircraft interior cooler and black coating would have made the outline of the aircraft tricky, so blue was picked instead.
The whole project, from stretch to finish, has taken about 300 man hours; it involved cleaning of the exterior, removal of the old paint, refurbish of the vertical and horizontals, painting (in compliance with EPA): all done by hand.
It was a fun project and it looks great if you ask me!
Next project will be an A-10 here in Campbell..."
Charles "Chuck" Lunsford (RIP) has educated me a lot on C-119s.
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Created: 20-4-02 Updated:
Last updated 22.2.2006