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» Smilin' Jack   » Specific Airline Discussions   » TWA   » Never too old for a dream to come true!

   
Author Topic: Never too old for a dream to come true!
Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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Boring to the "older" hats...

...But. I just finished qualifiying on a DC-3/AC47 configured as a Vietnam era "Spooky: gunship.

She was built in 1944 and served in WW-2. Provided paratrooper and cargo support at the Battle of the Bulge. We have the old logs from WW-2.

What a wonderful down and dirty, simple, manual, stick and rudder airplane. Made for a pilot like me who loves to FLY. I wouldn't want to earn my living in one. But what a thrill. The culmunation of a dream I have held since a teenager. Only had to wait 50 years.

Ahh the rumbling of 1,200 h.p. Pratts as we cruised over Alabama. Low and slow.

Another in a long list of dreams come true.

Tell your stories of "real" DC-3/C-47 pilots.

Bob

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
Irish
Post Captain
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Don't have a DC-3/C-47 story. Too young. [Big Grin] But I certainly have warm feelings for a pilot who obviously LOVES TO FLY. Congratulations, Bob.
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Roger Moore
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Reminds of the old days (1966) at Hawaiian Airlines chasing deer in the DC3 freighter going into Molokai. Some of my best and worst landings were in the DC3, Roger
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Robert Dedman
Post Captain
Member # 366

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When I left the Air Force in 1958, I went to work with Panagra (Pan American Grace Airways) and was assigned Lima Peru as base. We flew Hyper (Hi-perfomance T catagory) DC-3's throughout Bolivia and Ecuador. We needed the power at those altitudes so the aircraft was fitted with R-2000 engines and with a modified DC-6 prop for the extra horse power.
I agree with Bob, what a delight to fly and that was the way I had always dreamed it should be. DC-3 was and is a "pilots" aircraft.
Does anyone happen to know what happened to these airplanes? My old log book says the N numbers were 39334, 28335,49550,and 54311. [Cool]

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extwacaptain
Prop Wash
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Captain Dedman,

Since you have joined this conversation concerning the DC-3 being “a pilot’s aircraft”...the following story may be of interest:

Long before TWA purchased the L-1011 with the all weather landing capability, a DC-3, belonging to Delta and being operated by TWA out of YIP was being utilized on a training (instrument check) flight. The Check Captain, Jack Robertson was in the right seat and also acting as observer/safety pilot.

Weather was clear, no wind. Instead of breaking off at the usual 300’, the plane continued to touch-down and roll-out with the hood covering the flying pilot’s windshield the entire time. You and I will remember similar training flights prior to the introduction of fancy auto-pilots.

And, was that a big deal? No way. That was/is probably the easiest airplane to fly, ever built. It is my belief that anybody who couldn’t fly a DC-3 was in the wrong profession. [Wink]
It should be mentioned that the approach was made with both engines operating, and the pilot flying was only an average TWA pilot.

Edited to mention....Those yellow birds weren't around at that time, but we did have the raw data. Come to think of it, those things didn't even have a stick to go with the rudders..We'd moved up to control wheels or something like that.

[ 04-01-2012, 18:29: Message edited by: extwacaptain ]

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Subsonic Transport
Post Captain
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My first job at a major airport was handling cargo. A DC-3 would arrive at Buffalo from Canada and we'd unload it. It usually carried very large boxes of rubber gromets. One night, the box broke and hundreds of gromets spilled everywhere.

I can't say I've flown one but at least I can say I worked on one.

Have you been watching the weather channel series called Ice Pilots? Lots of DC-3 footage up in Yellowknife, Canada.

Good luck and have fun.

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Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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Randy brings back a memory...

...of another early "manual autoland." In about 1973 I was the copilot on an Ozark FH-227-B flying into Galesburg IL. The weather was clear and winds calm. About 5 miles out CA Yocum put a panel over my windscreen and said...."continue heads down and complete the ILS to touchdown."

Down the old glideslope/localizer we went....all the way to touch down. Cat I airplane...hand flown zero/zero landing. Worked like a charm.

Many years later I was on a test flight in a DC-9 with the Director of Training at OZA...CA Pete Sherwin. It was also a CAT-I airplane....manual throttles. In this instance Pete left the autopilot on all the way to touch down. Worked fine...with a slight bump upon landing. Something that was nice to know if one ever had to do it...certified or not.

Flying is fun. It is great to reminisce. Even better to be blest with continued flight. And once again...the old DC-3 was the thrill of a lifetime for me. I will be flying it throughout the coming summer.

We have all done them both....but for my money no CAT-III autoland will ever compare to good ole stick and rudder flying.

Bob

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Dedman:
When I left the Air Force in 1958, I went to work with Panagra (Pan American Grace Airways) and was assigned Lima Peru as base. We flew Hyper (Hi-perfomance T catagory) DC-3's throughout Bolivia and Ecuador. We needed the power at those altitudes so the aircraft was fitted with R-2000 engines and with a modified DC-6 prop for the extra horse power.
I agree with Bob, what a delight to fly and that was the way I had always dreamed it should be. DC-3 was and is a "pilots" aircraft.
Does anyone happen to know what happened to these airplanes? My old log book says the N numbers were 39334, 28335,49550,and 54311. [Cool]

CA Dedman,

Sounds like a great airplane. Must have been a real thrill in that environment. It seems that the R-2000 produced between 1,300 and 1,450 h.p. depending upon the octane of fuel. Do you remember what fuel was available at Panagra?

Also any idea why it was called the "Twin Wasp"? Only one row of cyl.??

Anyhow Panagara was a very interesting airline and I would love to hear more of your stories...including DC-3 experiences.

Off the subject but I am reminded....during the TWA/AA takeover Mr. Arpy(AA CEO) spoke in STL. With Bill Compton standing next to him he commented...

...."CA Compton's father was a Panagra DC-8 captain." "More than 30 years later he still complains about how the Panagra pilots were screwed by Braniff." "That won't be the case here at TWA/AA"

Well for me...Mr. Arpy was right. Retiring #6 on the TWA list in STL was as anticipated. For the majority of the TWA pilots however...it was far worse than Panagra/Braniff.

Stories to be told. Ears open.

Bob

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
Robert Dedman
Post Captain
Member # 366

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Bob:
Have been on a river cruise on the Elbe for 18 days and back home now.
As to Panagra Hyper 3's, they were fun to fly and we took off from El Alto field. As I remember, we used 130 fuel as did the DC-6.Knew Capt Compton and he was a fine gentleman. I left (furloughed) before the Braniff merge but I know Panagra guys got screwed. Not the last to be screwed either. Wonder if AA/US air merge takes place, what kind of screwing can we expect.
There is a good web site for Panagra. Panamericangrace.com. I have posted there and it is a small site but growing slowly. not many of us left. Cheers.

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Tom Girtman
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There was nothing close to the AD Skyraider! 3350 HP. And could carry more weight in bombs/rockets than an F-4. It was the machine!
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Robert Dedman
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Bob: to further answer your question about the R-2000. It is called the twin wasp because it has 2 rows of 7 cylinders. Also had blowers and we used high blower above 10,000ft for T/o and Lnds. With the use of 100/130 fuel, we developed 1450 hp @2800RPM so the ole 3 was quite powerful. As a back up at high airports, we had 2 JATO bottles in case we lost and engine after V 1. Never used one except in training. We could out run a DC-4 but the penalty we had is that one fuel tank was removed for weight and balance so we didn't have as long a range as a regular DC-3. We also used these planes in Ecuador at high altitudes. In Bolivia, most of the flying was out in the jungle in short grass strips. Ecuador had more the normal airports with regular runways. [Cool]
Posts: 406 | From: Virginia Beach, VA.  |  IP: Logged
Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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CA Dedman,

Thanks for the clarification on the Twin Wasp. Wow...what an engine and what an airplane. I had never heard of such a modification. Wonder if any are still in existance?

I'd love to hear more and more about your experiences at Panagra. Must have had some incredible adventures. I love the panagra.com web site that you listed. I clicked on it and was amazed at the history, perspective and especially the picture album.

What a different era in the 30, 40, and 50s. Famous personalities...the Prince of Wales!!! The glamor of early aviation cannot be fully appreciated today.

All things mature I guess and become common place. I am still passionate about aviation....but our forefathers would hardly recognize the airborne bus lines of today.

Take care. Stay in touch.

Bob

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
Robert Dedman
Post Captain
Member # 366

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Bob:
I too have a passion for aviation. Are you a QB by any chance? We swap stories every month and our hangar has some WWII laddies around and we love hearing their adventures, if you can call them such. I worked for 8 airlines after I got out of the air force so if you want to chat, love to speak or communicate with you.
I love this forum because of the varied things people have done and where they have been. Captain Kramer is a great example of that and I love his posting. Wish I lived in CA so I could meet him and you. [Smile]

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Rocky Dollarhide
Post Captain
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My first flight was on a DC-3 from LGB to LAX. I was 5 years old and scared to death!
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Roger Moore
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The first airplane I ever flew was a USAF C47 at Hickam AFB in 1962 in Air Force ROTC at Univ. of Hawaii, 4 years later I flew it again as a F/O for Hawaiian Airlines. As a side note I should have stayed there as I would have had 30 years as Captain instead of 11. Roger Moore
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