Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Parco Tematico dell' Aviazione, Rimini

Museo dell' Aviazione / Aviation Theme Park

While on a non-aviation trip to Italy, I found myself near this museum and could not resist a visit.
It is a large museum, neatly planned, and well documented: in the shop is a handy little book available in various languages, detailing the aircraft and exhibits.
The admiration for the people who set up this museum can only increase when it is learned that there is no runway nearby and all aircraft arrived here in dismantled state...

Near the entrance one finds this Fiat G.46A. This aircraft was Fiat's first new project after WW2.
The aircraft on display is a G.46-3A single-seater and has the identification numbers & markings of the airport of Florence-Peretola, where it was operated from 1951 - 1959 (later being civil registered I-AEKE).

This museum was started in 1995 and over the years expanded and improved.
Unfortunately, all aircraft are parked outside which no doubt will have a negative long-term effect. The only exception is a unique SAIMAN 202M, which is covered by a tent structure; it was first flown in 1938.
In a 2016 article I read that of the 50 aircraft on display, 17 are shown to have a fake registration.


The Douglas DC-3 (c/n 12679) on display here, N242AG, was purchased from the US Navy (designated an R4D-5, serial 17174) by Hollywood actor Clark Gable (1956 - 1963). The flightlogs show that many celebrities have flown this DC-3: John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Ronald Reagan (when he was still a young actor)!
In 1986 this classic aircraft made its last flight, from the USA to Venice,Italy.
[Information provided by the museum in a brochure]


DC-3 N242AG
Douglas DC-3


DC-3 cabin
DC-3 cabinseats


Italy joined NATO in 1949. Expansion requirements for the Aeronautica Militare Italiano (AMI) in late 1948 resulted in a request for DC-3/C-47s which were being flown by almost every other nation in Europe.
The MDAP board however turned down the request and directed that such aircraft be sourced through the open market. Hence 12 C-47s were obtained through civilian sources.
However, at some point a more benevolent MDAP board authorized the transfer of 124 (!) Beech C-45 Expeditors to the AMI. These aircraft had been derelict in West Germany since the end of WWII. Italian engineers worked on salvaging the C-45s and by the end of 1949 27 were operational.

From: 'Fairchild C-82 & C-119', by Alwyn T. Lloyd (Aeroffax, 2005)


Douglas DC-3

This DC-3/R4D-5 was sold in 1963 and operated by various parties; at some point it was reregistered N711TD, which is the tailnumber that is marked inside the cockpit (see photo).
It was ferried to Italy with the intention to reregister it as I-COFR and operate freight (fish) between Italy and Yugoslavia. But its CofA was denied and at some point it was purchased by the museum.

The authoritive source for individual DC-3 airframe histories, is the Air-Britain publication about the DC-3. In 2006 an updated and expanded edition was published, 'The First 70 Years' from which I quote on c/n 12679-
42-92834 - 17174 USN R4D-5 07Mar44 - VR-11 (Aug44) - Pearl Harbor Aug45 - San Diego Sep45 - Jacksonville Feb46 - Struck off charge 30Apr46 - N2084A On-Mark Engineering Co.,Burbank,CA - N242AG Aerojet General (1956) - N123H Aero Finance Corp (1963) - Biffs Inc, Beverley Hills,CA (Jan64) - N7124 Lockheed Aircraft, Burbank,CA (Dec68) - N711TD T J Dayharsh, Woodland Hills,CA Jul69 - D Davis, Mesa,AZ Apr77 - Sky Sales & Service, Oklahoma City,OK (1977) - Air Indiana, Detroit,MI (Jul78) - W Stroud, Portland,OR (Jun79) - Nevada Airlines Inc, Las Vegas,NV registered 15Nov79 - Agricultural Farms Inc, Las Vegas,NV R19Sep80 - R S Bond, NV bought Aug83 - Registration cancelled Nov84 - I-COFR delivered 21Jul84 - Italian CAA refused to give CofA, even for freight - D-CDRY Rund-u-Reiseflug Gmbh R13nov86 (not taken up) - stored Venice Sep88 - stored Loreto - stored Porto Recanati Air Park, 1993 - Museo Aeronautico Air Park, Loreto - Museo dell'Aviazione, Cerbaiola, Aug01 as N242AG.

But the history may not be as straightforward as that; was N711TD reconfigured with a cargodoor by/for Agricultural Farms Inc in 1980? Were two DC-3s made into one? What was the reason for the Italian CAA to deny the Certificate of Airworthiness?
See the photos by 'eLaReF', Heinz Rentmeister 7 Jürgen Scherbarth below...

This photos was sent to me by 'eLaReF' who added: "N711TD - Van Nuys Sept 1974 - very slightly different scheme, but door is the same as the 1978 shot as you would expect.. I can't believe that fitting a new rudder meant changing the position of the registration!


Heinz Rentmeister sent me this photo, taken at Las Vegas on 31Dec78, of N711TD (as described above the DC-3 which became N242AG) BUT WITH A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DOOR! The passengerdoor-equipped being more rare than the cargodoor-equipped DC-3/C-47, I find it unlikely that N711TD was modified with a cargodoor...


Construction number (c/n) 12679 belongs to a C-47A and it should have been equipped with a cargodoor from the start. It must have been modified later with a "passenger" door. To modify it again to a cargodoor seems strange.
Perhaps these modifications (and/or lack of proper documents of these modifications) were the reason why the CofA was denied?
But perhaps the entire cockpit panel stems from N711TD and is that how N242AG and N711TD were confused.

David Carter has this to say on the subject:
"A lot of the C-47s bought by Qantas, after World War II, were modified to have a pre-war style passenger door. The aircraft operated by Classic Wings in Perth Australia is one such plane and it still has the small door. But I believe others might have reverted to standard C-47 doors when their days as a frontline passenger plane ended. Maybe Qantas stored the C-47s doors it removed?

The re-installation of cargo doors would have been simple - the door design was already approved and required only the removal of the frames and sheet metal installed for the pax door conversion. It is highly likely the structural load paths of a C-47 remained intact after passenger conversion. In other words, the pax door C-47 didn't duplicate the structure of a pre-war DC-3 but was a case of rivetting some frames and skins into the existing C-47 door frame."


Jürgen Scherbarth wrote me in Oct.2008: "Maybe this photo is the missing proof that this airframe was indeed converted back to a cargo C-47 in the early 1980s. It was taken at Venice (Italy) in November 1988. Curiously there are no photos available for this period in the early 1980s, until its appearance in Italy. I've got a another photo of N711TD taken 11.1980 where she still looks like as on Heinz's photo."
Jürgen added a P.S.: "According to other sources the last flight should have been in 1985/86, from the USA to Venice, Italy."

There does seem to be a marked colour difference in the tailsection of Jürgen's photo!


Christoph Küberl visited the museum and he inspected the door, he wrote: "I've been on vacation in Rimini lately (2010), and also visited the Aviation Theme Park. I really fell in love with the DC-3 there, so I did some online-research and found your website.
The point about not being sure about the history of the plane was of special interest for me, and I think I might maybe have some small, but maybe new information for you.
As the cargodoor is one big point of confusion, I thought about it and looked at some photos of the plane we took, and guess what: all the letterings on the doors are printed in Italian!
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that rather unusual for a plane that came from America and never really went into the air in Europe?"
Thanks to Christoph (and his girlfriend!) I am glad to be allowed to make use of this photo.
DC-3 Rimini air museum

The question remains: what happened during those invisible years in the 1980s and were other DC-3s 'used' (in Italy) in an attempt to restore it to airworthiness?

Fernand wrote me in response to the above:
"I checked my files and newspaper clippings on this subject and found an article published in the Italian magazine 'JP4' (could not trace the year op publication, possibly 1985).
The article detailed the ferry flight from the USA to Venice,Italy.
Apparently the purchase had been made by Aeronavali (Mr. Gianni Bottardi).
N711TD was picked up in Phoenix by the crew (Bottardi + Aldo Locatelli, Daniela Camporesi, Mauro Cittadini en Masimiliano Mascioni). Some of them were well known as pilots from the local aero club.
The ferry flight proceeded from Phoenix,AZ to Wichita and onwards via Toledo, Buffalo, Seven Islands, Frobisher Bay, Søndre Strømfjord, Keflavik, Manchester, Milan and finally arriving at Venice.
The photo depicts N711TD already equipped with its cargodoor!
During the ferry flight a spare engine was transported on board the DC-3. It was intended to reregister the DC-3 as I-COFR.
Hope this helps."
Fernand van de Plas

Paul van den Berg wrote his contribution:
"My first reaction was: why convert from a neat, handy passenger door into an old fashioned cargo door? As said, after WWII most C-47's were recieving this modification the other way around!
But then (looking at it as a DDA DC-3 technician), I looked for little details other than the cargo door, and I feel this is indeed the same DC-3 with c/n 12679!
Look for and compare at the pictures of Jorgen and Heinz:
...the placing and appearance of (VHF) antennas on the roof, same style anti-collision light location at bottom and tail top, funny (not often seen) bracket above lh cockpit sliding window, pointed tailcone, ice detection view light in engine nacelle, same style exhaust stack. This must be the same DC-3, no doubt in my mind whatsoever!

Further more I would like to point out that it is not possible to 'split' a DC-3 fuselage forward of the door area: only aft, like done on the DC-3 PH-PBA. So the possibility of a 'mix' of two airframes can be excluded.
Please note that in the process of applying the C-47 style cargo door, they also got rid of the 'civilian' single cargo door, visible just below the registration on Heinz's photo."


Douglas C-47


Douglas Dakota
I have been unable to read the reappearing titles...


Antonov An-2

An-2 'Colt' The museum has two Antonov An-2 (NATO codename 'Colt') on display. This particular aircraft was previously owned by the Yugoslav Air Force, later absorbed by the Croatian air force. The An-2 is/was an incredibly versatile aircraft and this is also shown by this aircraft which was flown as a... nightbomber!

Paul Nann's website has the following information: 'preserved/Museo dell'Aviazione, Croatian marks, ex. SP-TCG/TTC, c/n 1G188-60, Cerbaiola-Rimini'.


Willy Hendrickx identified it for me: An-2 SP-TCD c/n 1G173-03


AA-31 mm

'MM53042/AA31', North American T-6C/D Harvard, preserved/Museo dell'Aviazione (ex. MM53145).
In 2016 I learned from an article by Ben Ullings this 'Harvard' is actually a North American AT-6C Texan and its original registration is MM53145.


I expect this MiG-21 (c/n 516915011) must have participated in the NATO Tiger Meets...

Mikoyan-Guryevich MiG-21UM Mongol-B, ex/ LSK 231.


There is much more to explore than what can be seen, photographed or read in two hours.


Douglas C-47
A military C-47 lies dismantled in a salvage yard across the road.
DC-3 remains
Serial MM61826
Douglas C-47
C-47 14-44

Petr Nesmarak published this (and his) photo in August 2019 on Facebook.
Petr wrote: 'Douglas C-47-DL, ex/ Italian AF MM 61826 (c/n 4380) was transported from Parco Tematico dell'
Aviazione in Rimini, Italy, few days ago. Now at Zruč Air Park, Czech Republic (11Aug2019).'

C-47 mm61826, to Zruč Air Park
C-47 14-44 Italian Air Force, moved from Museo dell'Aviazione in Rimini to a new home in the Czech Republic.
Glad it found a good home!


Grumman S-2 Tracker
There is also a Grumman S-2 Tracker in this yard. Perhaps M.M. 133069 (c/n 040) will one day be displayed in the museum too. has images while it was still in one piece, in 2004.

And indeed, in a 2016 article in Verenigde Vleugels (Nov-Dec.2016, by Ben Ullings) a photo was shown of
mm133069 exhibited in a fine display, the only naval aircraft on display in this museum.

S-2 Tracker
Serial mm33069?


Salvage yard


Unidentified.. Graham Robson suggested: '..looks like this is from a G-222..?'


Click here for more photos of aircraft on display


Paul Nann's visit in 2004



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