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Thread: (moved) Private C-133 cargo aircraft for the bush of Alaska

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    AlaskaAV's Avatar
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    (moved) Private C-133 cargo aircraft for the bush of Alaska

    http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/geta-p/C/C-133/C-133.htm

    Many years ago, a friend of mine determined the bush of Alaska needed a large cargo aircraft for his bush operation. After lots of thinking it over at happy hour with friends, he decided to head for the boneyard in AZ. They started looking over the old retired C-133s and finally they picked out three that they liked and a very good deal was made like almost nothing. They arranged to have them towed to a work area where they stripped one aircraft to get the other two ready to fly, no small feat in itself and took lots of time needless to say. No powers at be ever asked questions, whether by choice or oversight, I have no idea. A case of Crown Royal does wonders at times.

    Somewhere my friend found a current certified flight crew that could test fly them and do some crew training.

    Anyway, test flights were conducted with the two flyable aircraft and still no one said anything. Than one night, a fuel company was called to top off both aircraft and along about daylight or before, both left VFR with no flight plan to indicate direction and at low altitude and than much later and at a higher altitude, they filed an inflight IFR flight plan for Anchorage. They left the third aircraft behind but I understand the loads taken out were lots and lots of spare parts including spare engines. I am not sure if they had to stop for fuel but suspect if they did, it would have been in Canada. Remember, that is just what I suspect and not factual. Once they got to ANC, they started getting one bird ready for charter operations. Sounds good, right? Wrong. The powers at be finally caught up with them and were very upset with the guy because he pulled the wool over their eyes in the deal in AZ. The FAA would not give them certification for commercial operations with the C-133s because "they felt they were underpowered" which I suppose they really were however they would authorize operations for government charters. Hey, sounds good, right? Correct this time. You would not believe the loads into the bush that suddenly became government shipments, mostly local city government loads. Lumber for a construction company was sold to the city for $1 and than the city sold it back for $1 plus other considerations after the "government" charter had been completed. Many, many homes were built that way and many vehicles including trucks were hauled. The cost of living in the bush went down because of the C-133 operation. I suppose this was on the fringe of being illegal but who in Alaska ever reads the laws?

    For those that live in Anchorage or the bush of Alaska, I am sure you have heard that aircraft depart. It has a very distinctive sound from those 4 turbo props. Unbelievably quiet really for the size but what a load they could carry. To my knowledge they only used one of the two aircraft flown to Alaska. They are parked at Stevens International Airport in Anchorage now.

    It is my understanding, and I suspect this is true, that my friend received more revenue from his first government charter flight than the entire project, including the cost of 3 aircraft, had cost him. Who gained? Those living in the bush. Who lost? The powers at be that could not control the situation. Hmmmmm, Interestinggg, Buttt Trueeee as said by the guy on Hee Haw on TV.

    I love it when a plan comes together and the little guy beats the big guy.

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    Only the A module C-133 remains in Alaska. The B module hade a cracked spar and was retired. The A module made a few trips this summer. The C-133 was never certified as a civilian aircraft. Simular problem with the DHC-5 Buffalo. The C-133 "loadmaster" can haul 12'x12'x88' with the rear door closed and 100' long with it open. The fuselage is 60' longer than the C-130.

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    AlaskaAV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dello400
    Only the A module C-133 remains in Alaska. The B module hade a cracked spar and was retired. The A module made a few trips this summer. The C-133 was never certified as a civilian aircraft. Simular problem with the DHC-5 Buffalo. The C-133 "loadmaster" can haul 12'x12'x88' with the rear door closed and 100' long with it open. The fuselage is 60' longer than the C-130.
    Thanks for the new information. I really appreciate the update.
    The C-82 had much the same problem until the jet pod was installed on top. The airline I worked for, Wien, flew one for several years and talk about a great bush aircraft to haul outsize loads and with the jet, it could actually operate safely at full gross. We called it 02 boom boom (02B). I had heard, and I could be wrong on this, that the C-82 with jet was better to operate into bush airstrips than the C-119s.

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    C-133

    I sure do enjoy your stories about the bush of Alaska. I started flying in the bush in the early 70's .I had a trap line in The Eastern Brooks Range. The closest village was Arctic Village that was 70 miles as the crow flies. It took me 3 days to snowshoe over to the village from my cabin on the Wind River. I managed to save enough money to buy a pa11, and that is where it all started. I loved to fly and found out I could make a decent living at it so I started an air taxi. After a few years of flying for hire I got hired at Northern Air Cargo. My first airplane I flew at Northern was the C82.The owners of the company had just bought the three 133's.
    You were wright about the people in the bush benefiting from this airplane .There were hundreds of homes,several schools and many public utilities for sanitation and clean water.Many of these projects would never hapened if it weren't for the 133 and the C82.The owners of these airplanes {Sholten and Carlosen}have helped the people in the bush live a much better life. I never got to fly the 133, I went from the C82 to the DC6, by then the Owners had split the Company up so I stayed working for Bobby Sholten.After 20 years flying the C82,DC6 and the 727 I am like most pilots you have to fly something bigger, so I am currently flying a 747.
    But I sure do miss the old bush days so every once in a while I jump in my PA 12 and take the kids for a ride. Keep up with the stories they are great to read.
    Ernie V.
    Ernie

  5. #5
    AlaskaAV's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed your sharing of you aviation stories as I am sure many others do too. That is what this site is for and thinks for stopping by. Please share more of you life with us. I have part of the history and you have lots to add. Please jump in and share with us at any time.

    Was that 82 you flew 02B? Of course I know Sholten and his aviation work in Alaska. Carlosen I knew of course but not a close friend and if I recall right, he flew for Wien for a while..

    I am sure you ran into Don Brugman along the way? A friend of mine in the old days. That is a long story in itself and fun to read. Don was a great guy and a true asset for Western Airlines.

    Did you ever get into the porcupine creek area of the Brooks? If so, we have a lot to talk about from the gold there. I bet there are many around here that would really enjoy hearing about the old gold mining days there. Let us know.

    I remember the story when one of the Wien family flew in a boiler to a gold mining camp in the interior of Alaska. They had to cut the side of the aircraft out in Fairbanks, load the boiler tank and than weld the side back on and than a Wien brother flew it to the mine and the process was done again. I am thinking a tri motor but that is probably not correct but a very large aircraft from the 1930s.

    I have never been to Arctic Village but Wien flew there and know the area very well just as I do the Anatuvuk Pass area. Ever been to Umiat in the winter where I used to exist? We did the gravel certification for Boeing on the 737s at Fort Yukon. I see they may get natural gas soon.

    Who are you flying for now if you feel like saying? What a difference from a C-82 to a 747. Ever think about having to slide the 747 in on a short final ie. the old Hong Kong airport? Of course not, it is not in the manual, right? But if you could, sure would be fun to make it work. I had some great Wien bush pilots that showed me how to do it in a 737.

    Our senior flight crews flew our 737s like they were super cubs and it was really something to watch. When I got in a position to start talking in selected flight crews of 737s in at Deadhorse as an end of runway visibility observer, it really became a pleasure to work with such professional flight crews that trusted me so much. We completed every flight with those three crews and with never a problem and always a safe operation and of course, legal since I had the certification.

    I am sure you know guys like Richard Wien, Merrill Wien, Bob Wien, Doug Millard, Bill English, Tommy Richards, Benny Ulen and so many other old time bush pilots that helped build the bush of Alaska. Add to that Noel and Sig Wien and someone I never know, Ralph Wien, the namesake of the airport of Kotzebue. Noel, Sig and Ralph, three brothers and all from Minn, started up the Wien operation back in 1929 after some first flights in Alaska in 1927.

    What a life aviation was in Alaska in the early days.

  6. #6
    Ursa Major's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaAV
    ...I remember the story when one of the Wien family flew in a boiler to a gold mining camp in the interior of Alaska. They had to cut the side of the aircraft out in Fairbanks, load the boiler tank and than weld the side back on and than a Wien brother flew it to the mine and the process was done again. I am thinking a tri motor but that is probably not correct but a very large aircraft from the 1930s.
    I don't know about the Wien's, but there is a famous old photo of Bob Reeve loading a huge boiler into his Boeing 80A trimotor for the construction of the Northway airport in 1941. The story is that he had to cut the side out of the Boeing to load the boiler and recover that part of the fuselage after unloading it.
    Mike

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    AlaskaAV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Major
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaAV
    ...I remember the story when one of the Wien family flew in a boiler to a gold mining camp in the interior of Alaska. They had to cut the side of the aircraft out in Fairbanks, load the boiler tank and than weld the side back on and than a Wien brother flew it to the mine and the process was done again. I am thinking a tri motor but that is probably not correct but a very large aircraft from the 1930s.
    I don't know about the Wien's, but there is a famous old photo of Bob Reeve loading a huge boiler into his Boeing 80A trimotor for the construction of the Northway airport in 1941. The story is that he had to cut the side out of the Boeing to load the boiler and recover that part of the fuselage after unloading it.
    Mike
    Knowing a little about Bob's operation in the past, I am sure that is a true story without question. Thank goodness I never had to compete with the Reeve family on routes. It would be hard to figure who would have won. I also suspect there are other operators that did much the same thing in those days to make the gold country work.

    Ohhh, if we only knew the "rest of the story". The Reeve family did almost the exact thing the Wien family did only in different areas of Alaska.

    Bob had such an informative office in downtown Anchorage and a tremendous lady to explain everything. Not posable now days with the new carriers. Never enough time. Only us old fogies have had the privilege or honor, if you will, to have been part of the making of Alaska as it is today and enjoy telling about it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mike.

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    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Aside from the memory of the 133 being the most gargantuan airplane every to plop down on R/ W 08 and 26 in OTZ, I have one memory of that bird that will endure forever.

    You could be walking noth down third avenue (back to the airport). The old 133 could swing in on a right base from OME or ANC. You didn't even know it was there......UNTIL that baby hit down and slammmed into reverse. Literally the ground underneath the whole damn village shook, not to mention the sound. One of the BEST airplanes for alot of things in Alaska...except SNEAKIN' into town!!

    Braniff, Western, the original Frontier, along with TWA, Eastern, PAN AM and others. All original and trailblazers in their own unique ways. But Wien and Reeve....while having much in common with all the others listed here; shared a common bond the others did not. They were ALASKANS serving ALASKANS, and we are all the poorer for their loss.

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    skukum12's Avatar
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    Is this the C-133?

    http://www.airliners.net/photo/Untitled-(Cargomaster-Corp.)/Douglas-C-133A-Cargomaster/1351869/&sid=af81b62463dd39d284479a393d1b2a68
    "Always looking up"

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    supercub's Avatar
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    I believe they made the last flyable C-133 airworthy a couple of years ago, and ferried it to Travis AFB for the museum there.

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    Marty57's Avatar
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    Here are some links I found. First link is pictures of the plane being operated in Alaska. The second is a video from the last flight to Travis AFB.

    http://www.ruudleeuw.com/c-133_by_sibitzky.htm

    http://vimeo.com/channels/inversionaviation#6194717

    Marty57
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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Both links are superb - Thank You!
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)

  13. #13
    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    I remember those two C133's well from my days flying in Alaska! They hauled a grader for my uncle Chuck Reader. I think they had to cut the cab off to get it in though.
    Thanks cliffy thanked for this post

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