Richard Simms wrote me late 2005: |
" I recently acquired the cockpit of a C-47 & am desperately trying to establish it's identity. Unfortunately, there are no dataplates fitted so all I have to go on is a sketchy potted history.
I know that it's definately a C-47 and not a DC-3. I am told that it served with AAF ATC during the war & I can see from the post-war radio & electronic refit that it saw post-war military service. I am told that it spent many years in Spain before being sold to a German buyer in about 1995. It was then broken up & the cockpit & parts of the fuselage used as a ticket booth in a cinema in Germany (at which time it was painted in a bright red & white airline type livery).
The cinema closed about a year ago and it was disposed of.
Unfortunately I know nothing more than that!
Do these sketchy details mean anything to you? If they do, I'd be most grateful for any information you can pass on."
Richard wrote a follow up in Feb.2006: |
Whilst removing the red paint, I did uncover some of the USAF designation under the pilots window. It stated that it was a C-47D, so presumeably it was built as a C-47B the blowers removed at some point. Unfortunately, the aircraft serial number had been removed before the red paint was applied (I was optimistic for a moment though!).
I have attached a couple of photos. The first shows the aircraft in Germany just before it was cut up & was taken by the guy who did the dismantling. I believe that the serial number shown has been added subsequently by someone using a computer graphics package as that serial number relates to a DC-3
that is preserved elsewhere in Germany!
The second photo shows the cockpit section after it had been removed from the cinema in 2005.
N569R was a DC-3A (cn 10100) formerly used by Classic Air and last reported as preserved at Swabische Bauern und Technik Museum in Seifertshofen, Germany. On 25Mar06 I phoned the museum and it was confirmed to me that their DC-3 was sold 2 years ago to a Bavarian film company in Munich. |
This person described the DC-3 as having a white colour.
Our object of research was in use in a cinema in Munich, near the Munchner Freiheit. |
By chance, at this time Stephan Mayer from Germany wrote me and I asked his help in the search; he replied:
"Do you know if Rich talks about a DC-3 section that was in a cinema in Munich-Schwabing? The origin of that one interests me for a long time by now; I didn't know that it had gone. I always thought I could go there one day and visit it again to find out more details than after the films I saw there...
The people of the cinema didn't even know what plane it was, so it wasn't worth asking about more details. I saw it last time about 3 years ago, and I didn't know it was gone, and I didn't know the cinema was gone either."
In a 2nd email Stephan wrote: "I tried to find out more about the DC-3, but I could not, unfortunately.
I asked the Munich-DC-3 Specialist and he didn't know about this specific Cockpit section and even he didn't find out anything.
His guess was that it might be the rest of a DC-3 that was at a kids playground in Ismaning near Munich until it was broken up in the 1980s.
There I could find out the c/n.
But as the buyer said something about 1995 and from Spain this might be a completely wrong trace...
But I remember the name of the cinema: It was called "Airport", was situated in the Feilitzschstraße in Munich, and it was equipped with airliner seats and artwork and a part of the ticket booth was the cockpit of the DC-3..."
Maybe I misunderstood the person from the museum (my German is not very good) but I think he said the DC-3 was sold 2 years ago; or maybe he said more than 3 years go..? Stephan refers to the cinema as about 3 years ago. Anyway, it is very close. |
But with the unique cinema Stephan describes there must be photos around, there must be! -Webmaster
So... I think this is N569R. Unfortunately this could apply to 2 airframes... |
There is c/n 10100 and its history would read thus:
Delivered to the USAAF as 42-24238 on 23Aug43 and transferred 11Sep43 to RAF as FL517 (511 Sqdn 17Sep43, 1381 TCU 14Nov45), 33 MU 01Oct46 and to scottish Aviation 27Nov46.
Registered G-AJAZ for Westminster Airways Ltd, which bought this C47A-45-DL on 13Jan47. Iberia became the next owner and operator, on 03Dec48, registered it as EC-ADR; Spanish service continued for an extended period, including service by the Spanish Air Force (as T.3-61) as of 16Dec65; its service ended on 10May77 and found itself parked at Cuatro Vientos.
This C-47A was registered as N8041B for Air Classik (R Korastinsky) of Dusseldorf,Germany on 01Aug79, with a delivery on 03Sep79; it was displayed at Dusseldorf. At some point it moved to Lohausen Airport Museum.
The above info was written in the DC-3 book by Air-Britain, published in 1984.
My personal files, started in the early 1990s, have c/n 10100 at Swabische Bauern und Technik Museum in Seifertshofen, Germany since 29Aug93.
There has been another DC-3 airframe that had N569R painted on it at some point:
Below comments, reference the Spanish AF number '61', seems to confirm it concerns c/n 10100 here.
Richard sent another update in Mar.2006: |
"I was removing the paint from under the lifting nose section this week and came across the original black painted serial number "61" from it's Spanish Air Force days as T.3-61 !
The photo references on your Spanish Air Force Museum pages were invaluable in comparing the lettering styles & number positions.
I was initially confused as that airframe is shown on numerous websites as being preserved in the museum you mentioned, but I did find mention on a German language blogging site that it had long since moved on.
As to the lettering on pilots side of the fuselage, I can now see that there is a large gap between the "C-47" and the letter "D", so I guess that if it were all present, it would read "C-47A-DL".
I've managed to find a little more about it's prior service. 511 Sqn were formed at RAF Lyneham, which is just a couple of miles from my house (a coincidence!). I believe that they were utilised flying between the UK & the Mediterranean, but I'd like to find out more.
Whilst with Westminster Airways it flew 184 trips in support of the Berlin Airlift (as mentioned in "60 Glorious Years" by Arthur Pearcy).
I have so far found I photo of it in Spanish Air Force colours circa 1966 and another of it whilst registered as N8041B (circa 1980). So a good start, but lots more to do.
At this time I am still very much at the 'cleaning stage' and have thus far removed about 2/3rds of the external paint. I have about 3/4 of the internal fittings ready to be stripped & restored & all the correct wartime instrumentation and radio equipment.
My aim is to restore it to its 1944 appearance, but that is going to be a very long term goal!
Asko Iivonen wrote me in Oct.2006:
The fact that Richard seems to have established that his aircraft has a Spanish history and all reference books seem to indicate c/n 4828 is preserved at Munich IAP: for now I'd stake my guess on c/n 10100 as the identity of Richard's DC-3.
Lothar Grim of Darmstadt,Germany wrote me in Nov.2007:
"I have a b/w press photo showing N569R and STEIG AG -titles, together with a PAN AM 747.
Please note the panorama / “Viewmaster” windows, so for sure this aircraft has no link to the fake MUC display!"
Photo on Airliners.net
Richard sent an update on his 'Work in Progress', in Dec.2007:
"The cockpit restoration is progressing slowly. I've finished the stripdown earlier in the year and repainted the interior in the correct shade of "cockpit green". Since then, the rudder / brake pedal assembly has been overhauled & re-installed. It now works as it should do.
Am now presently waiting for the correct shade of Olive Drab # 41 to arrive, so that I can spray the exterior, after which I can get all the new glazing back in place.
I've overhauled lots of the smaller assemblies and they are waiting their turn to be installed, but for obvious reasons, everything has to go back in in the right sequence.
After the glazing, the next big step is to overhaul the control column assembly (it has to be installed before the floor can go back in). I've worked out how I can modify the control cables so that it functions correctly, so fingers crossed it will work..!
I have no date for completion. I'm enjoying doing the restoration and like spending time getting the details correct, so there is no rush.
I've attached a photo showing some progress."
|P.M. Gerhardt wrote me this in Dec.2009, on the multiple use of registration N569R:
"DC-3 c/n 7390, which belonged to Kurfiss in 1974 (as N569R) and was sold to Hemet in 1976 (as F-BJBY). It is that aircraft which in Apr81 'disappeared' over the Mediterranean Sea. More on this.
Kurfiss later used the former reg. N569R as 'fake' markings on at least two of his Air Classik exhibits, among them DC-3 c/n 4828 ex N65371 (now preserved on München airport as 'HB-IRN')."
Dennis Konijn wrote me in july 2014:
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