During December and January of this year I was contacted by Mexican aviation consultant Luis Alfonso Flores Ramos, who is also president of SMEAL (Sociedad Mexicana de Estudios Aeronáuticos Latinoamericanos). He brought to my attention that an airworthy Mexican DC-3 registered XA-UDY (c/n 12192) took part in a small event, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Douglas DC-3. For the full story check out the SMEAL website here: http://smeal.com.mx/evento.php?id=1
See also this link: Sociedad Mexicana de Estudios Aeronáuticos Latinoamericanos
Also Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/4sdjktr
Douglas DC-3 XA-UDY, with c/n 12192, was originally built as a C-47A-1-DK model under contract number AC-28405. She was delivered to the USAF on the 23rd December 1943 with tail code 42-92396. During February the following year (1944) she left for the Royal Canadian Airforce with tail code FZ635 based at 32 sq OTU Vancouver. Later on she moved to Comox Airforce base. On the 1st of May 1946 she was sold to Trans Canada Airlines and received a civil registration CF-TDZ. Fifteen years later, winter of 1961, she joined the Canadian Department of Transportation as CF-TDV. During 1975 she was sold to Millardair Ltd as C-FTDV. In September 1991she was cancelled from Canadian registration and was sold to Mexico as XC-BCE, its unclear to which company she went to.
As XA-RZF she was seen in service with TANSA (2001). During July 2007 she was seen as XA-UDY with full California-Pacifico titles at Ensenada Airport, Baja California Mexico. She was used to carry tourist from Esenada to the Shores of Laguna San Igancio for whale watching tours. Acc to the owner, Captain Rogelio Velasco the a/c is currently standing idle and is for sale!
Last year another exciting DC-3 development started: The Chathams Pacific Douglas DC-3 A3-AWP ( c/n 33135)named "Tangaloa" started scheduled passenger services between the Tonga Island in the Pacific. As of November 2010 the DC-3 was scheduled on daily scheduled runs between the main airport off Fua'amotu International airport on Tongatapu Island to Ha'apai on Lifuka Island. Under the care of ace mechanic Brendan Odell, A3-AWP made a successful test flight on the Saturday the 7th August 2010. Under the dedicated care of Brendan Odell and his team, they have restored A3-AWP to full airworthy condition, fitted with a new interior, including 25 passenger seats and completely overhauled the engines and cockpit. For more information and pictures check out the Chathams Pacific website:http://www.chathamspacific.com/
Douglas DC-3 A3-AWP (c/n 33135) was originally built as a C-47B-30-DK model under contract number AC-2032. With tail USAF code 44-76803 she was delivered on the 25th April 1945. She started her military career with the Royal New Zealand AF as NZ3543 with the 41 squadron during May that same year. During July 1952 she changed to a civil career and was purchased by NZ National Airways with registration ZK-AWP "Pawahitere". The name later on changed to 'Skyliner Kaitai'. She reregistered to Polynesian Airlines as 5W-FAI during February 1970. Returned as ZK-AWP during July 1973 and flew with Southern Air Super, Fieldair Ltd, Classic Air Services Ltd/ Field Freight Ltd. During the early 1990's she flew with Alpine Fighter Collection and Classic Air Wellington. She was seen Wigram (August 1998) with the NZ Aerial Mapping Ltd. Then with Pioneer Adventures in full NZNAC colours at Christchurch July 2000 and later on with Future flight Ltd at Admore. Left for Peau Vavaú Air Tonga June 2004 and became A3-AWP. Noted at Toga (August 2009) still in Fieldair colours running up both engines, after being abandoned for 2 years.
The DC-1/DC-2/DC-3 the First Seventy Years 2006 Air Britain publication – Jennifer M Gradidge
The DC-3 is unique, for no other flying machine has been an active part of the international aviation scene for so many years. It has cruised every sky known to man, fought in almost every big war, has been admired, cherished and glamorized by millions of people. Who would have thought back then on December 17th 1935 that we now in December 2010, we would still see the familiar shape of the DC-3 still flying and even earning its keeps! Hereby I like to congratulate the Douglas founding fathers and the man himself Arthur Raymond (chief engineer on the DC-3) a happy 75th anniversary…and many years to come.
Douglas DC-3 (c/n 19434), originally built as a C-47A-75-DL, PH-PBA belonging to DDA Classic Airlines is seen here its new 1960's KLM livery. It was unveiled on the 7th of December 2010 in a ceremony at Schiphol Amsterdam International Airport in The Netherlands. Since 2006 PH-PBA had flown with a dual vintage livery with KLM & Air France, to commerate the first flight of a KLM DC-3 service to Paris The aircraft was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) in 1944 and came into action for the Normandy landings. In 1947 it went to The Netherlands as PH-PBA and was commissioned as government aircraft, to be used extensively by Prince Bernhard, husband of the then Queen Juliana of Holland. It was then known as "The Royal Dakota" painted as PH-TCB. In 1975 it was phased out and exhibited in the former Aviodome museum at Schiphol Amsterdam airport. After 21 years on exhibition it was restored to airworthiness by Air Atlantique in Coventry. Parts of DC-3 G-BVOL (c/n 9836) were used to restore PH-PBA. During the unveiling she received the official name Prinses Amalia. Source: DDA Classic Airlines December 2010 & Air Britain 2006 DC-3 the first 70 years.
Sol de America, Caracas/Los Roques Venezuela, March 2006
Build at the Oklahoma City production facilities, under contract number AC-2032, as a C-47B-25-DK model, she was she was delivered on March 1945, with tail code 44-76429. She joined the Royal Air Force with code KN387 the same month serving with 96 and 48 squadron. Two years later she with the Pakistan Air Force as H-712. Then she returned to the UK with Field aircraft Services as G-ANLI. During 1954 she crossed the North Sea to fly with Aigle Azure under a French registration F-AOPB. A year later on the 13th July 1955 she was sold to Aer lingus with yet another registration EI-AHG. Almost 10 years later she ventured south and took up Portuguese marking CS-TAE with SATA airlines. On the 13th November 1975 she was allocated a US registration (N47028). Between 1976 and 1994 she flew with LANSA as HR-LAL and later as HR-AMJ. She was seen at New Tamiami airport during February 1994 for sale. Caribbean Flights of Venezuela became the next owner and she received a new registration VY-911C. Then in 2003 she was sold to El Sol de America CA of Maiquetia (Venezuela). Sol de America has moved on to jets and VY-911C was stored at Valencia airport Venezuela.
Oakland International Airport, San Francisco, September 1995
Manufactured as a sole C-41 at the Douglas-Santa Monica plant, she was delivered for service on 22 Oct 1938. Soon after she was assigned to the Air Corps with serial '38-502'. The C-41 was identical to the civil DC-3A except for some internal furnishing installations for its intended role for assignment with the Firsts Staff Squadron at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C.
She was delivered with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-21 radial engines rated at 1200 horsepower each. The C-41 was the first DC-3 type to be purchased by the U.S. military services and thus was the forerunner to the more than 10000 examples of the C-47/DC-3's which were eventually operated by the U.S. armed forces. Some sources indicate GENERAL H.H. "Hap" Arnold may have used her as a corporate transport. In early 1945 '38-502' was deemed surplus to USAF needs and she transferred to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). On 03 May 1945, she was loaned by the Defence Plan Corporation (DPC) to Alaska Airlines with its initial registration NC15473. Returned for disposal in 1948, the aircraft was transferred to the Civil Aeronautical Authority (CAA later changed into the FAA) on 12 Apr 1948 and reregistered as NC12. In the late 1950s she was configured as a Type II DC-3C and thus fitted with the 1350 horsepower R-1830-94 engines. On 04 Mar 1973 she was reregistered as N43. Her career with FAA service continued through 1974, primarily as a facility flight inspection aircraft with the FAA's Central Region.
Surplus from FAA needs in 1977, she was released on 08 Aug 1977 with 24,811 flight hours to the General Services Administration (GSA) and its registration cancelled. Given its historic significance, the unique twin engine transport was originally slated for the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson, Dayton, Ohio on its withdrawal from FAA service. However, she was instead transferred into the civil fleet through the GSA to the Southern Missouri State University on 15 Feb 1978 for use in university transport, reregistered as N54595 on 05 Apr 1978. She was seen stored at San Diego Montgomery Field in Southwest International Airways colours as N54595. Sold on 10 May 1985 to Red Stevenson DBA Red (S) Aircraft Sales of Jenks, OK. She was hastily resold again, on 22 May 1985, to Condor Aviation of Tulsa, OK, who again sold it on 27 Jun 1985 to Trans Ocean Airways of McAllen, TX. This outfit wanted to use the C-41 on the smuggling trade routes to Mexico. But the demand fell trough because of the change in tariffs and devaluation of the pesos and the poor C-41 was offered for sale due to her historical significance. On 15 Mar 1989 it Bought by Bill Celli Leasing Company of Lafayette, CA who, in turn, leased the aircraft to the Otis Spunkmeyer Company for operations with its Sentimental Journeys aviation fleet based at the Oakland, CA airport registered as NC41HO.
She was ferried from San Diego to Oakland in March 1989, still painted in the FAA red, white and black with fictitious SIA titles and logo on her fuselage. The aircraft has been refurbished to its 1941 appearance and remains airworthy. As off April 1999 the a/c was registered to Next Century Aviation Inc.
Servivensa – Empresa Servicios Avensa SA, Canaima, Venezuela, September 1999
Was built at the Oklahoma city plant as 43-48017 and originally delivered to the US Army Air Force on 7th of July, 1944, but instead diverted as a Lend-Lease transport to the Royal Air Force as a Dakota MK.III KG734. It was delivered to the RAF, arriving in the UK after its Atlantic ferry flight on 27 July, being assigned to No.147 Squadron based at Croydon Airport, Surrey 1944. It was placed in storage with No. 22 Maintenance Unit at Silloth, Cumberland, on the 8th of May 1946. Several months later in July she was sold to TACA of El Salvador and subsequently re-registered YS-36 and later as TI-119 with TACA de Costa Rica. In 1948 she went to TACA de Venezuela as YV-AZC and changed again to YV-C-AZC. 10 years later she was transferred to Linea Aeropostal Venezolana (LAV) who took over TACA following its financial difficulties. She later joined the Venezuelan Navy as TR-0102 in the small fixed-wing transport unit during the 1970s. After becoming surplus to requirements, she was sold as YV-218P to Rentavion CA, but no dates are available. Again reported sold to CARACA as YV-147C? Joined the Servivensa fleet during November 1998. (Aircraft wfu at Puerto Ordaz seen May 2010)
Douglas DC-3 in the 21st Century. Excellent Douglas DC-3 (Pioneer ZK-AMY) air-to-air footage March 2001. With kind permission of Aviation Worldwide - www.aviation-worldwide.com