Friday 21 June 2013

Douglas LC117D Bu17188

Continuing the occasional deviation away from NZ civil aviation.
But still with strong NZ connections.
Among a large batch of Douglas C47A-20-DK aircraft ordered by the U.S.A.A.F was c/n 12847.
This was allocated the USAAAF serial number 42-92986.
In April of 1944 it was transferred to the US Navy with a new designation of R4D-5 and is known to have served with the following units:-
 VMR-253 in Aug 1944;  to VMR-152 in Mar 1945.
To AIRFMFPAC in Apr 1945;  to  NAS Corpus Christi TX May 1945.
To  MAG-15 in Jan 1946; to VMR-152 in Feb 1946.
To MAG-25 in May 1946; to CASU-12 in July 1946.
To CASU-44 in Sept 1946; to FASRON 118 in Oct 1946.
To FASRON in Nov 1946; then to NAS Pear Harbour in May 1947.

It was then converted to R4D-8 in early 1950s with a new Douglas c/n of 43384.
This conversion involves a longer and strengthened fuselage, a new horizontal and enlarged vertical tail with square tips. It had smoother engine cowling covering its Wright R1820-80's of 1475hp.
Then followed mods to bring it to R4D-8L status for assignment to VX-6 Squadron in 1958 and it was used during Operation Deep Freeze III an IV; followed by the ODF 1960, 1961, 1962.
Another designation change in 1962 listed it as a LC-117D and it then served the early part of the ODF 1963 season, but it crashed on Sentinel Ridge in the Ellsworth Mountains on 22 November 1962. (not far - as the LC117 flies - from the Vinson Massif - Antarctica's highest hill).
The first view shows her at Wigram.

The photo below was taken (I assume by the Otago Daily Times or Evening Star) shows 17188 parked beside the control tower at Taieri airfield.
 [and that is where I went for my first job interview - away back when Men where Men].
Then two views of her in the field.
It was aircraft number 7 of VX-6 which carried the tail letters of "JD" and it was know to have carried at least three names during its time in NZ and Antarctica.
"LouBird II",  "Big Daddy",  and "The Losers".

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post...remember lots of 'Deep Freeze' aircraft going through WGN in the 60s.