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80 GLORIOUS YEARS

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In the fast paced world we live it today; it is refreshing to pay tribute to an airplane the term obsolete and not reusable may never apply: the legendary Douglas DC-3 /C-47 still linger on.
Although it has been over 80 years it has first flown, as many as a 900 examples still survive as wrecks/relics in museums and some even keep hauling passengers and cargo. This page pays tribute to the different Dakota's, DC-3s and C-47s from around the world, restored show-birds, nostalgic airliners, VIP transports, tired cargo haulers and decaying hulks from the past and present. According to the latest Air Britain worldwide DC-3 survey as off October 2010, there are 164 derelict airframes, 219 stored examples, 336 preserved airframes and 281 active airframes, totalling 991 DC-3s and 9 DC-2s. n.

Photos from Mark Bruce – Hans Wiesman – Dietmar Schreiber n.

Douglas logo′s and production factory logo's by Arthur Pearcy ′Douglas DC-3 Survivors′ Motorbooks International – Aston Publication Volume 1-2 (1987 and 1988) and Sixty Glorious Years 1995 Airlife Publishing Ltd. Aircraft reference and data: DC-3 history and aircraft date from2006 Air Britain, The Douglas DC-1/DC-2/DC-3 ′The First 70 Years′ and the 2011 75 Years Celebration Edition + 1996 The Legacy of the DC-3 by Henry Holden. n.

All rights reserved, no pictures and or contents from this page may be reproduced and/or copied in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical…without prior permission by the owner of this website.

* * * * * PART – 8 * * * * *

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Four Star Air Cargo was a local cargo airline based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It operated regular cargo services to and from the British Virgin Islands and to Puerto Rico. Its main base was Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The airline was established and started operations on January 1, 1982 in Saint Thomas, the Virgin Islands with a single Beech 18 freighter and three DC-3 Dakota′s. Several years later it relocated its base of operations to San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Puerto Rico. During its height of operations Four Star operated 6 Douglas DC-3 freighters. During the mid 1990s Four Star also operated a Convair 440 twin propliner for daily bread flights to St. Thomas. Four Star suffered several accidents (1989 & 1991) whereby two DC-3 where lost. n.

On April 26, 2009 Douglas DC-3C N136FS was damaged beyond repair when a fire broke out in the cockpit at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The aircraft was taxiing for take-off on a mail flight to Cyril E. King Airport, Charlotte Amalie, US Virgin Islands and she lost the complete cockpit.n.
Sadly Four Star Air Cargo ceased operation in December 2009 and the whole fleet was left stored at San Juan. n.

According to Jorge Toledo, president of Tolair Inc, the company started its operations May 6, 1983 with a single Cessna 182, at that time, operating between Puerto Rico and Beef Island. Later additional Beech-18s supplemented the fleet. This increased capacity to 2.500 pounds per trip. That same year, the company extended the service to St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and St. Kitts. Due to a big increase in activity, the company bought three more airplanes in the shape of the Douglas DC-3. That year 1988, Tol Air started flying from San Juan to the Dominican Republic. Owing to continuous growth (1992) in the cargo sector, Tol air bought its first Turbo-Prop, a Metro II, to be used between San Juan and the Dominican Republic. During it peak, the fleet included four airplanes Cessna 402B, capable to transport 1.500 pounds, three Convair 240-440 capable to transport a load from 10 to 13 thousand pounds, five Be-18a and six DC-3s. With a fleet of 18 airplanes, Tol-Air had the capacity to handle up to 100 pounds of daily load to any destination in the Caribbean. Since 2006 Tolair has gone out of business and been taken over by Four Star Aviation. n.

During 2014 Tradewind Aviation (US) bought up the remaining DC-3 fuselage and parts stored at San Juan and offered them For Sale and/or scrap parts. During March 2015 two cockpits of DC-3, N135FS and N87T where taken off from the fuselage and trucked away by an American owner Mark Bruce who shipped both cockpits to his private home in Berlin Massachusetts US. The remaining parts where sold off as scrap metal.

 

Four Star and Tolair aircraft details

N133FS DC-3C (c/n 27202) Constructed as a C-47B-20-DK by Douglas at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. Douglas C-47B-20-DK 15757/27202 – United States Army Air Force with s/n 43-49941 - ex CF-PIK

N135FS DC-3C c/n 20063 built as C-47A-85-DL, 1944 del USAAF 43-15597 ex NC63107 Southwest Airways

N136FS (10267) suffered extensive damage by fire on the ground (while taxiing) at its home base San Juan-Luis Muñoz Marín Int'l Airport (SJU, Puerto Rico). It will probably be considered a write-off. (Cockpit fully burned off)

N783T (c/n 4219) Constructed as a C-47-DL by Douglas at Long Beach, California, USA. to US Army Air Force with s/n 41-7740. ex N77U and CC-CAO

N87T (c/n 6148) Constructed as a C-47-DL by Douglas at Long Beach, California, USA. Douglas C-47-DL to United States Army Air Force with s/n 41-38689. ex N65601 and N31MC. Operated with Air Charter Inc and MBD Corp out of San Juan

N131FS Vintage 1944 Skytrain constructed as a TC-47B-30-DK by Douglas at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. Douglas TC-47B-30-DK with c/n 16172/32920. to United States Army Air Force with s/n 44-76588. ex N88916, N67PA

Info via Michael Prophet and From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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