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
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]

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.

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

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.

Rolf Larsson sent me these fantastic photso from his collection, by Arne Fager, with a bearing on N215CM c/n 26792

NC63186 by Arne Fager, copyright Rolf Larsson
Douglas C-47B NC63186 (c/n 26792)
Rolf wrote: "Referring to your 2018 report from FLABOB and the pictures of C-47B N215CM c/n 26792/15347 I can supply two early pictures of the same aircraft, which may be of interest.
Both pictures were taken by a friend of mine, Arne Fager; he was a Swedish volonteer in Israel in the late-1940s, however now deceased.
The first picture shows the C-47B when it was on delivery to Israel and still with its US registration NC63186.
My friend was part of the crew on the delivery flight and from his logbook the following can be obtained: 'Shannon-Ajaccio 26 December 1948' and 'Ajaccio-Aqir 28 December 1948'. And he took the picture at Ajaccio.
Later he also took the picture of the C-47B, when in Israel AF colours and serialled 1407."

Israel Defense Force Air Force, 1407


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."

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, 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.

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.

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.


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.

Amelia Earhart succeeded with her Lockheed Vega setting a record solo non-stop flight across North America on


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
Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

Museum of Flying, Santa Monica
A Convair CV240, the remains of an unidentified airframe.
Mike Machat wrote in Oct.2018: "As new Curator for the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, I researched our
non-motion Convair CPT (Cockpit Procedures Trainer). This aircraft is a U. S. Air Force T-29 Navigator/Bombardier trainer, identified by an overhead panel on the Aircraft Commander's side controlling the tracking of tactical ordnance.
The Museum of Flight is at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA." Its individual identity is being researched, Mike added.

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!



CAF Riverside
Inland Empire Wing, Commemorative Air Force (Southern California)

Commemorative Air Force Inland Empire Wing, Hanger 'S', Riverside Mun'l Airport
I went by this information on their website: "Visit our Museum! Tuesday - Thursday 10am-2pm, Friday and Saturday 8am-noon".
Except when I got there first thing on the Saturday 21st of April, the museum was closed, no one there.
I walked around for a bit, frustrated for I was here to see a DC-3, when a man and a woman walked up and opened up for me. They said the opening on Saturdays was only on the first Saturday of the month... But I was welcome to look around and so I did.
But I soon found out that the DC-3 'D-Day Doll' wasn't there... They advised me to continue to Flabob, I'd probably find it there. Luckily, that was in the plans anyway.

Commemorative Air Force

Inland Empire Wing, Commemorative Air Force SoCal
The headquarters to see 'D-Day Doll' participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day Normandy!

Inland Empire Wing, Commemorative Air Force SoCal


Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
Douglas DC-3 '4-76588' (ex/ N131FS; c/n 32920/16172 and former Four Star Air Cargo operative...
This DC-3 freighter is displayed at Flabob, where she'd been flown to form San Juan, saved from the scrapper!
During the 2017 DC-3/C-47 Fly-In Event here at Flabob it was still in the Four **** Star livery, good work!
One can see photos of N131FS during its San Juan days on my Dirk Septer Gallery,
Photos by Friends & Guests #24
and, more recent, Photos by Friends & Guests #42

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
Douglas DC-3 N877MG is probably the DC-3 I tracked the longest (by accident) and at a wide range of places!
History can be found on my following pages: DC-3 Page 2, Canada 2010, Canada 2010: Sealand Aviation,
Dirk Septer's Gallery #2
, USA Northwest 2014: Historical Flight Foundation, Photos by Friends & Guests #26,
and Photos by Friends & Guests #34.
Kenneth Swartz shared a 2007 photo with me, N877MG has a remarkable emblem on the tail while at B.C.'s Victoria IAP.
And of course it was present at Duxford UK 2019, for D-Day 75.

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
Not sure why N877MG (c/n 20806, NOT c/n 25638/14193 nor 4193) is here at Flabob.
The Historical Flight Foundation (HFF) is based in Washington state. Quite possibly HFF parked it here for a
drier climate during the winter months.

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
The c/n confusion is explained HERE...

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
Glad it could join D-Day Squadron for 'D-Day 75', where I caught up with N877MG once more at Duxford IWM.

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
D-Day Doll was also with 'D-Day Squadron', see my report of 'D-Day 75', at Duxford IWM.

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
Douglas C-53 Skytrooper 268830/R-M2 'D-Day Doll' (DC-3, manufactured in 1943); N45366 (c/n 11757)
CAF American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum (AAHFM) - reg'd 04Dec2001.
Operated by the Inland Empire Wing, Commemorative Air Force (Southern California) from nearby Riverside.
Its registry was to expire in April 2019, but fortunately D-Day Doll made it to the 75th anniversary of D-Day Normandy!

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
The props are obviously missing, maybe the reason why it is here at Flabob: maintenance by Joe Garcia..?
Between this visit and its participation to D-Day 75 the 'MU2' code changed to 'CU'. An entire repaint has taken place.

For a bird's eye view see 'Landing at Flabob Airport in HD, Riverside, CA'

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
I photographed N45366 at Lodi,CA in 1996, where it was used by a parachute center. Not yet in WW2 camo colours.
That page has also a very detailed historical account over the years.

Fundraiser 'Keep The D-Day Doll Flying':
"...this actual World War II Combat Veteran C-53 version of the DC-3 is in danger of continuing to remain airworthy. Her name is 'D-Day Doll'.
She survived missions during the D-Day invasion 'Operation Overlord' and Operation 'Market Garden'.
But 75 years of elements have taken a toll deep beneath her skin in the form of corrosion.
Earlier this year after a scheduled maintenance inspection, the Doll was found to have corrosion issues that, left unchecked could jeopardize her airworthiness.
With less than 10 C-53's airworthy and flying today worldwide, the 'D-Day Doll' and her C-47 "Brother" are iconic World War II aircraft.
Retaining this C-53 to air worthiness is a priority for the CAF. Once a survey of the corrosion is completed on the Doll, a decision will be made on the best course of action for keeping her in front of the public, continuing to tell the story of the brave young men that jumped out of her into harm's way during World War II. "

GARSA AIR INC. is the company is Joseph 'Joe' M. Garcia, a mechanic with extensive DC-3 experience. Mr. Garcia is operates his  aircraft maintenance business here at Flabob Airport. His website seems no longer valid, but you can find him on Facebook.

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
In front of Mr Garcia's office is this Beech D18S N80152 (c/n A-112).
Reg'd 30Apr2013 to Mission Boston D-Day LLC (of Newport Beach,CA). Manufactured in 1946.
In 2006 it was on display in the hangar at the Vintage Flying Museum at Fort Worth - Meacham IAP (KFTW)
I visited KFTW in 2015, when N80152 was listed there - but not found present. Ha, I do get them in the end!

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
Perhaps also a project for Mr Joe Garcia..?

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
DC-3A-S1C3G N43XX (c/n 11665), reg'd 02Oct2014 to Wings of Valor LLC (Perris,CA)
I understand NC43XX is normally based at Cable Airport (Upland, California).
When I travelled in the Nor'West USA in Oct.2014 I visited Puyallup-Thun Field for this remarkable vintage
propliner, but had just missed it! Imagine my surprise catching up with it here!

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California

Looking forward to the event of 2019? Check out
"The following U.S.-based C-47s have joined the D-Day Squadron to make the journey to Daks Over Normandy to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in the skies over France on 06Jun2019."

From my USA 2014 Northwest report--
"Destined for TWA, DC-38-SIC3G c/n 11665 rolled off the assembly line, headed for the U.S. Army instead.
It was redesigned as a C-53D-D0 42-68738 and assigned to the war in Europe, dropping paratroopers over Sicily, then thundering over Normandy on D-Day. Belonging to the 62nd troop carrier squadron, it also participated in dropping troops over the Netherlands during Operation: Market Garden.
Eric Thun, who restored the interior of 11665 with the assistance of Dan Marriott, and researched its history, said the names of about 20 GIs were found written in pencil on the skin of the aircraft between the frames. He copied them down and took photographs before covering them with insulation and an interior skin. Following the war, the aircraft went into service with TWA until the 1950s.
It was then owned by a couple of corporations including a skydiving company that used it for 10 to 15 years. Finally, a series of private owners took over and flew the aircraft.
Found in Bennington, Vermont, the aircraft was in deplorable condition, though the engines were deemed functional. It was flown to Thun Field, Washington for the restoration.
Three years later, the restoration was complete. The name 'Thunderbird Flying Services' was added to honor Eric's father's company, when he owned Thun field.
In 2013, Wings of Valor acquired the plane.
(Roy Blewitt wrote me in nov.2014: "DC-3 NC43XX is now at Chino,CA.  I saw it there in June, and still retains the black and white checkerboard colour scheme and 'Thunderbird Flying Services' -titles.  And long may it continue to do so - there are already far too many DC-3s in D-Day markings for my liking!")

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
NC43XX was also scheduled to participate in Daks over Normandy in June 2019 but did not make it, unfortunately.

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
Cable Airport in Upland sits a little NW from Ontario IAP (20 minutes by car).
When I checked Google Maps while editting this page in May 2018 I noticed N43XX indeed parked at the ramp of
Cable Airport (KCCB - Not sure why it is presently here at Flabob.

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
C-47B N103NA of Flabob Express; reg'd 20Feb2007 to Flabob Aviation Associates of Riverside,CA.
Much confusion about the true identity of this aircraft, thanks to illegal papers filed with the FAA by Mr. Lee Mansdorf over 50 years ago. Many now incorrectly quote it as c/n 33569 (which was scrapped in the UK in 1953), but it is in fact
c/n 9531 ex USAAF 42-23669."

"On Thursday April 20th, 2006, Wathen Foundation Trustee Jon Goldenbaum greased the wheels of the DC-3 Express onto the runway at Flabob in a beautiful homecoming landing.
After the arrival, Mr Jerry Barto, a long-time supporter of youth programs and aviation at Flabob, donated the aircraft to a group of aviation enthusiasts who call themselves the Flabob Aviation Association.
The arrival culminated a year and a half of work getting the plane airworthy. It had been sitting for 5 years at Chino Airport."

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California

An online source quoted the following history:
"After wartime RAF service as FD879 in the Far East, this Dakota found its way to the Pakistan AF, but temporarily lost her identity when sold to the US along with six others; c/n 33569 was assumed for a while.
To Canada in 1955, serving for the first 12 years as a corporate transport.
Wfu 1992, sold as N103NA and operated in Classic Express Airways c/s. Now based at Flabob,CA with 'Flabob Express' titles."
And: "Built in 1943, flown in World War 2 by Britain's RAF 24 Squadron."
And: "Ex-USAAF; S /N 42-23669."

See how it joined D-Day 75 at Duxford, England in 2019 - MY D-DAY SQUADRON REPORT and more about that construction number confusion!


Flabob Airport, Riverside, California

The second Wright Flyer project I come across on this trip! Except that this is a 'Stand Off Look Alike', meaning the disign will be improved to make it more safe to fly.
Mission statement: 'The purpose of the Wright Flyer Project is to clarify and commemorate what the Wright Brothers did by generating a complete body of experimental data and analyses which describe the characteristics of the first successful piloted airplane.' +++

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California

An eye for a bit of humor
Making fun of the weather forecast and good old Snoopy fighting the Bloody Red Baron!

Flabob Airport Café
Flabob Airport Café, basic fare and friendly service

Flabob Airport, Riverside, California
Having spent a few relaxing hours among the vintage transports and after a nice lunch in the Airport Café, we were
on our way again. It had been a very pleasant visit, Flabob has a lot to offer for the vintage aviation enthusiast
and its easy access is pretty unique.



Yanks Air Museum

Yanks Air Museum
Consolidated PB4Y-2 Super Privateer, N2872G (c/n 66300)

Yanks Air Museum
1. One of several Corsairs; some complete, some but not all awaiting their turn. This one has seen some fresh paint applied.
2. Grumman Cougar and Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star, I think...
3. F-105D Thunderchief ('Thud'), 60-0471/TH
4. Written on it: 'A-4 BuNo.142892'. Seems to have had an engine fire..?

Yanks Air Museum
The workplace.

Yanks Air Museum
Any idea which aircraft this interior has..?


Chino propliners
Looking onto the ramp from the museum, towards the Planes of Fame Museum, we see a line up
of some warbirds / propliners that may not have flown for years I fear..?

The Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon N7483C was reg'd since 05May04 to Kermit A.Weeks, of Polk City,FL
That is the nose of Aero Trader's North American B-25J Mitchell, 'Pacific Princess' we see there
The Convair VC-131D N131CW (c/n 205) is in USAF livery wearing serial 54-2809. Reg'd to Ironworker Supply
Inc as recent per 24Jun08. All three can be seen up close on my Planes of Fame visit 2008.

History on the B-25; note we have come upon Aero Traders earlier in my report CALIFORNIA 2018

Delivered to U.S. Army Air Force as 43-28204, after military service stored at Davis Monthan AFB, AZ in 1958.
1958-1961 - Blue Mountain Air Service, La Grande, OR - reg'd 18Sep58 as N9856C.
Converted to air tanker, May 1959, fitted with 1.000 gallon tank
1961-1962 - Idaho Aircraft Inc, Boise,ID; flown as tanker for aerial fire fighting
1962-1968 - Dennis G. Smilanch, Boise,ID; also flown as tanker.
1968-1972 - Filmways Inc., Hollywood,CA. Flew in movie Catch-22 (1968-1969)
In april 1972 to Tallmantz Aviation, Orange County, CA
1972-1984 - To Ted Itano of Borrego Springs,CA. Near original home of Aero Traders.
1984-2005 - Ted Itano/Aero Trader, now of Chino,CA - Flown as 43-28204/'Pacific Princess'
In Sep.2000 it flew off carrier USS Constelation for the movie 'Pearl Harbor'!
And flew in movie as '0203/Whirling Dervish'.
17Nov2005-2007  to Carl W. Scholl of Chino,CA
Reg'd 22Mar07-2013 for B-25 Mitchell LLC of Missoula,MT - Flown as 328204/'Pacific Princess'
[  Last info: 2015]




Proud Bird Restaurant near LAX airport
I have to admit that I forgot about this location, but when we drove to LAX for our flight home we passed it and
I quickly made a U-turn as I knew there were a few planes here of interest to me!
A P-51D Mustang (replica) is displayed at the 'Airplane Park', in a circling display, with an F4U Corsair,a
Supermarine Spitfire and in light naval blue an SBD-5 Dauntless (all replicas, afaik).

The Proud Bird restaurant is located right under the final approach path on Aviation Boulevard. Reportedly 11 aircraft
in total sit in the restaurant's backyard or in the restaurant itself. The restaurant was closed upon my visit due to
the early hour and I had to make do with a few photos over the fence. The Twin Beech and DC-3 were the aircraft
I was most interested in.

In 1967, the Proud Bird restaurant opened as a salute to achievements in aviation, offering a front-row view of planes approaching LAX for landing. The restaurant was the brainchild of David Tallichet (1922-2007), who founded Specialty Restaurants Corporation and developed a number of beloved destination restaurants across the United States.
David Tallichet served in World War II as a pilot, flying over 20 combat missions during his service. Also known as a visionary in the restaurant industry, Tallichet paid homage to his passion for aviation by including this theme at the The Proud Bird.
Opening in 1967 as a salute to aviation, The Proud Bird sits along the runway of LAX, offering guests a front-row view of planes approaching for landing.

Tragedy struck the restaurant in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, Dec. 4th, 1984. Fire broke out, completely gutting the 55,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom building. It was rebuilt at considerable cost.
Specialty Restaurants founder David Tallichet died on 31Oct 2007. His son, John, took over. And it was John Tallichet who confirmed in late September 2013 that the venerable restaurant would close its doors for good on 21Nov2013.
But on 13Jan2014, LAX airport officials announced that a new lease extension had been signed that would keep the Proud Bird operating for a 13-month period ending in January 2015.
And judging by its Facebook account I would say it is still very much alive, up and running.

Twin Beech N81GB (c/n7881); previously in a mud-brown colourscheme (2010,2011)

Online I found this list - (2005)
# Bell X-1 (replica)
# Chance Vought F4U "Corsair" (replica)
# Curtiss P-40 "Warhawk" (replica)
# Lockheed P-38 "Lightning" (replica)
# Lockheed P-80 "Shooting Star" (replica)
# Messerschmitt Bf-109 (replica)
# Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 "Fagot" (original)
# North American F-86 "Sabre" (replica)
# North American P-51D "Mustang" (replica)
# Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt" (replica)
# Supermarine "Spitfire" (replica)

Proud Bird Restaurant near LAX airport
Douglas DC-3, no titles and no markings. But without a cargodoor, which is significant.

This is a C-53 Skytrooper, N19915 (c/n7347; ex/ USAAF 42-15552)
Flickr showed a photo with text: "Skylark Field Airport (CA89) at Lake Elsinore in California on June 8, 2006. Paralift Inc. Douglas C-53-DO (DC-3-G102A) Skytrooper N19915 (c/n 7347/42-15552). No more flying for this one! (no engines)".
In 2014 it still wore vintage 'Western Air Lines'-titles and markings; it was added to the museum in 2009 it seems.



A nice closing shot, when our flight home passed over Victorville (VCV):
Victorville (VCV) from the air




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Created: 25-april-2018

Reactions / comments welcomed.