Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Carolinas Air Museum, a visit in March 2005

Photos © R.Leeuw
--most of the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them--

During holidays in the area, we detoured to Charlotte,NC to visit the Carolinas Air Museum and spent a lovely morning there.

Founded in 1991, the Carolinas Aviation Museum is operated by the Carolinas Historic Aviation Commission (CHAC). Dedicated to preserving the aviation heritage of both North and South Carolina, the Museum is located at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. It is the premier aviation museum in the Carolinas and it has an impressive collection on display.


UPDATE 2019!!!
I understand the Carolinas Aviation Museum is to close this year. The current facility, originally built by Wachovia Bank (bought out by Wells Fargo) is now owned by the airport authority. Occupancy by the museum has always been temporary in nature - per the FAA 'until a legitimate aviation entity' came along.
Honeywell is moving their headquarters to Charlotte and the facility will become the flight department's new home. With no facility, no money to build a facility and no place to build a facility, there is reason for concern.
Hoping for a good home... (issue found on WIX forum)


N44V: click for larger image This immaculate Douglas C-47-DL military transport was delivered to the USAAF on 22Jul42 with serial 41-38596; it was assigned the civilian registration NC15585 at some unknown date and Vincent and Welch Inc took ownership in 1951.
In June 1963 Forest Leasing Corporation of Bradford,PA became the owners and in Dec.1969 the registration changed to N1916 (for Forest Oil Corp., Bradford,PA). In April 1971 is was registered to Crutcher Resources (Houston,TX), but almost 1 year later changed again to W.W.Connally of Floresville,TX. It returned to Crutcher Resources in 1977 and the tailnumber changed to N55CR.
At unspecified dates Aviation Investors of Houston,TX and Air Executive Inc of Colorado Springs,CO took ownership or operated this DC-3. In 1976 it was registered to Basler Flight Services of Oshkosh,WI (well-known for their conversions to Turbo-powered DC-3s, but that did not happen for N44V).
On 15Dec76 it was sold to a Canadian owner: National Aviation Consultants (Brelau,Ont.) and registered C-GQHK. In Oct.1982 it was sold to Big Bear Services of Waterloo,Ont., but this did not last long as Basler Flight Services took it back on 31May83 and it entered the US Register again, as N46BF.
On 29Sep86 Piedmont Aviation bought it and on 20Mar87 it was assigned N44V as tailnumber (though official registration took until 11Aug89).
Title of ownership was transferred to USAir Leasing & Services Inc (no doubt having to do with the merger of Piedmont and US Air, later to become US Airways) in March 1992 and again transferred in July 1996: to the Carolinas Air Museum (FAA registered 22Aug96).
Alexandre of added: "N44V was operated by Piedmont Aviation Services, a subsidiary of Piedmont Airlines, and owned by the Carolina's Historic Aviation Commission. In Piedmont colours."
Information provided by the Carolinas Air Museum; it did not state when that excellent interior was introduced.

Tour N44V with these photos of the exterior and interior:
Close up of cabin seats; note the window curtains  Cabin attendant station including communication equipment  DC-3 N44V cockpit  N44V's well-polished fuselage  Piedmont's insignia on N44V

At one time Saber Cargo Airlines operated several DC-3s from Charlotte,NC but they went under, tried to restart as First Flight Out Inc but apparently this did not work out. N12907 had a mishap on 26Sep2000 and ended up being the "hangar queen" for Saber Cargo. It was donated to this fine museum.

N12907, donated by Saber Cargo Airlines on their demise This Douglas C-47B initailly had construction number 15742 but since Douglas had duplicated a batch it was assigned c/n 27187 later on. Upon deilvery to the USAAF on 19Jan45 it was assigned its military serial 43-49926, only to be transferred to the RAF as KN258 on 23Jan45. It arrived in the UK and served 233 Squadron (Mar45), 435/436 Sqdn (07Sep45) and 435 Sq (17Mar46) before returning to Canada on 07Apr46.
It joined the RCAF on 20Jul46 (103RU) but there is a gap in its history afterwards.
It was assigned tailnumber 12907, for the Canadian Armed Forces; see Specifications and Historic Details for its Canadian service record.
It entered Canada's civil register as C-FPIK for Air Inuit in 1983. Thus ended a military career of almost 40 years !
Here I have another gap in its history: it moved to the USA on an unknown date, at that or later time was owned by the Fleming Corporation before being bought by Saber Cargo Airlines (1995?). Its tail had become N12907 and it was decorated in the USAAF camo paintjob, wearing its original USAAF serial "349926". Quite unique for a commercial enterprise !
Saber failed in 2003 and it was registered 03Dec03 to First Flight Out (more or less the same people, as I understand it) but to no avail.
A few more shots of N12907:
N12907; click to enlarge  N12907: click to enlarge  N12907: click to enlarge 

KC-97G: click to enlarge The cockpit of this giant Boeing KC-97G Stratotanker (USAF serial 53-0335, c/n 17117) is preserved and toured to airshows by the museum.
It is impressively spacious...
You will notice on the photo below (3rd thumbnail) that you can even walk behind the flight engineer panel: you can take a stroll in this cockpit !
More info
I would welcome information about 53-0335, e.g. which units it has flown with.
53-0335: click to enlarge  53-0335: click to enlarge  53-0335: click to enlarge 

The following is an inventory of the remaining aircraft:
A-4A Skyhawk, serial 142226

F-4J 155872  A-7E 159971  F-101B 56-0243  YF-102A 53-1788
Lockheed TO-1 Shooting Star 33866, on loan from USMC Air-Ground Museum, Quantico,VA  T-2A Buckeye 143289  UH-1D Huey 65-9667  T-28B Trojan, 138285
OH-58A 71-20516  F-84G-30-RE Thunderjet 52-3253 as FS-191-A, Dolph's Devil  Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak, 37972, NACA 142  O-1A Bird Dog 51-4777? N777VN
AV-8B Harrier II, 161397  Grumman OV-1D Mohawk, 62-5874, flyable as N1171Y  Grumman OV-1D Mohawk, 62-5890, flyable as N1209P  Line up of 3 choppers
HO-3S Dragonfly, 125136  Kaman OH-43D, 139982  Bell AH-1J Hueycobra, 159216  CH-3E Jolly Green Giant, 65-12797
H-34 Choctaw  Choctaw and Huey  Detail tail UH-1H 64-13731  Hal Fogle 1982 V333 Skycat Tilt-Rotor Experimental, 01

Inventory by the Air Museum
About a 1998 visit

You may want to have a look at the other vintage transports encountered on this trip or my travel account of this trip.

External links which may be of interest:
T-28 Trojan website by Norman Crocker
Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star by Joe Baugher
F-84 Thunderjet by wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Douglas D-558 and NASA's fact sheet on the Skystreak
Cessna O-1 Bird Dog
The CH/HH-3 Jolly Green Giant and 12797; HH-3E Tailnumbers
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Created: 17-5-05 Updated: 3-6-05