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Off loading a C-46 in the bush of Alaska at Dahl Creek, 1966

AlaskaAV

GONE WEST
Mission, TX
At one point, Wien was shipping me an International crawler tractor, personally owned by Sig Wien, with a combo forklift, dozer and bucket attachments. As usual, good old Wien 92853 C-46A (still flying out of Fairbanks on fuel hauls today) was used to haul it from Fairbanks to Dahl Creek. Oh the stories I have about 92853 in Alaska.
http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/registry/c46registry/c46-42101110.html

http://aviation-safety.net/database/2000/001220-0.htm

http://www.evertsair.com/airfuel/default.htm

The flight was made in the winter although a rather warm day, probably only 0F degrees and shirtsleeve temperatures.

To offload, Kennicott Copper offered the use of a truck. They had some old Army all wheel drive trucks but for this, I forget if it was a 2 1/2 ton or 5 ton truck but suspect 5 ton. We loaded the back up with empty 55 gal drums which we covered with plywood to give them some support. We backed it up against the double back door on the C-46 and a Kennicott Copper operator started driving the crawler out the door. Took lots of back and forth movement as he made the turn onto the truck and because he wanted to come off as straight as posable with the truck to keep the barrels in place. As it came off, the machine was moving all over the place as the barrels moved around. Once the crawler was completely on the truck, the aircraft Captain looked it over. He decided he would crank up the right engine only and swing the tail around away from the truck and than taxi out on one engine to clear the truck. That done and the truck out of the prop blast, he cranked up the left engine and left us scratching our heads trying to figure out how we were going to get the machine on the ground. I did have some rather high snow piles near the parking ramp and one was almost directly behind the truck. Finally, we called for a D-8 Cat with dozer from Kennicott across the mountain. Once that got there, we very slowly backed the truck up against the snow pile and locked and blocked it up. Once that was done, the operator on the dozer started pushing up a snow ramp to the height of the truck plus the height of the drums on end. As of yet, the crawler had hardly moved and the barrels were holding solid, probably because of the plywood. We knew the snow bank would compact so it was built up about 2 foot higher than the barrels before the machine was fired up and started backing it off. The dozer operator had turned his machine around and stated backing his machine, back and forth, into the truck trying to pack the snow down before our crawler got to it. When it hit the snow, it did sink in a little but with the extra height, it actually came off the truck level and than down the ramp. Once on the ground, it was mine. I never did figure out how the State of Alaska got their Alas Chalmers Model DD grader that I used and was responsible for into Dahl Creek. Probably a C-130 national guard aircraft.
It was always great for me to work around guys like that in the bush. It is unbelievable what some of them could come up with as a group. I sure learned a lot from them that would really help me down the road in my different aviation assignments across the state. Kind of like a student pilot learning from his instructor. Keep your mouth shut, listen and watch, if you have a good instructor.

I believe I mentioned before about the flight in 92853 with 250 cases of TNT on board that took 7 hours for me to offload in the dark. Than there were all the flights with the same aircraft hauling bagged cement into Dahl Creek. One hundred fifty three bags per flight with temps inside the aircraft about 90 degrees and no wind. One hour ten minutes turnaround for 13,500 pounds per load plus taking on 106 gal of fuel, hand pumped. I suspect at that time, I could have matched Arnold what's his name for Mr. USA or whatever title the Goveranator had at the time.

Kennicott Copper loaned me a D-8 dozer to help in snow removal at the Dahl Creek Airport. Back in the late 50s and working on Interstate 80 near Omaha, Ne, I was taught how to operate a dozer and many other type of construction equipment. That is how much snow we had at times, fifteen feet one winter. Maintaining that Cat sure helped when operating my own Cat electric generators at Prudhoe Bay and along the Haul Road to Prudhoe Bay from Fairbanks.
 
I believe this is the airplane. I took pictures of her when she landed in Kotzebue two winters ago. I believe they were hauling heating fuel up to Noatak that winter. Here she is.

everts2.jpg


She is still looking good.
 
Torch said:
I believe this is the airplane. I took pictures of her when she landed in Kotzebue two winters ago. I believe they were hauling heating fuel up to Noatak that winter. Here she is.

everts2.jpg


She is still looking good.

I am sure it is Torch. I have three great stories about fuel hauls by that aircraft for Wien from one of our retired Captains. If I can get him to realease them, it would sure give an idea of what flight crews went trough in the early 60s in places like Anaktuvuk Pass. Back in those days, the flight crews made do with what they had, nothing.

We had another C-46, 48V which was a super model with bigger engines and 4 blade props. For some reason, that machine never did what old 853 did even though it had a bigger payload available. Or was it because the ground crew thought all C-46s were all alike and loaded the A model up as if it were a Super.
I posted earlier about a C-46 that probably had, at the time, the most remarkable history in Alaska. Good old 60V, sixty volts as everyone called her. I was there at Prudhoe Bay when she made her last flight other than a ferry flight from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks and than parked.
 
I looked at the tail number and the picture is of 37M. For three winters I loaded and fueled several of Evert's C46's. I thought 853 was the one that crashed across the inlet 4-5 years ago. I wasn't here when the wreck happened so may be mistaken on which plane it was.

What an impressive plane. Ther load hauling and landing speed are awesome. Kenai used to have a dirt strip between two taxiways. I heard one of the Evert pilots landed on it as a stunt. It was 900 feet long. I do know that because of a dispatching error they landed a C46 at Farwell Lake once. I think it is about 1500 feet. They only had a few barrels of fuel on at the time and went out empty.

Good story Ernie
 
Bear Bait said:
I looked at the tail number and the picture is of 37M. For three winters I loaded and fueled several of Evert's C46's. I thought 853 was the one that crashed across the inlet 4-5 years ago. I wasn't here when the wreck happened so may be mistaken on which plane it was.

What an impressive plane. Ther load hauling and landing speed are awesome. Kenai used to have a dirt strip between two taxiways. I heard one of the Evert pilots landed on it as a stunt. It was 900 feet long. I do know that because of a dispatching error they landed a C46 at Farwell Lake once. I think it is about 1500 feet. They only had a few barrels of fuel on at the time and went out empty.

Good story Ernie

I could be wrong but believe 92853 is based out of Fairbanks.

I saw 853 lift off empty at Dahl Creek with no wind in about 800 foot one day (the Dahl Creek strip is just short of 5,000 foot) when the Captain was demostrating a short field departure to a new hire.
When he pulled it off, the tail went back on the ground.

I was on our 749 Connie out of Barrow to Fairbanks with 853 just behind us. In those days, the Connie was a rather fast aircraft of course. That C-46A actually passed the Connie inflight and landed before us. As I recall, there was a double engine change the next day.
 
The one that crashed across the inlet was not 853. It was 1419Z. They are awesome planes. A buddy of mine is a captain for them and I tag along sometimes. Pretty heavy on the controls but what a blast to fly Lake Clark pass at a about 500' in it.
Shawn
 
ak2711c said:
The one that crashed across the inlet was not 853. It was 1419Z. They are awesome planes. A buddy of mine is a captain for them and I tag along sometimes. Pretty heavy on the controls but what a blast to fly Lake Clark pass at a about 500' in it.
Shawn
Thanks for the comment Shawn

One of my good friends that flew for Wien and who has shared some of his stories here explained his feelings between the DC-3 and the C-46.
He spent lots of time in the DC-3 in support of the DEW line radar sites and then when he moved over the C-46, he said 92853 flew just like a big Super Cub. I have never flown one but from watching the guys on approach, they made it look so easy. Needless to say, good visibility. For being heavy on control, try a PC-6 Porter. Almost takes two hands on the stick at times until a person really gets used to it.

We had both the A model and the Super. The A had a smaller engine and three blade prop and the Super, with the bigger engine, spun a four blade. The super could out haul the A but not all that much.
 
C-46 ops

Hey guys....
Does anyone know of current C-46 operators in the US?
I don't know too much about Everts, is it a pretty closed deal or would they possibly hire applicants with 135 minimums?

Ive read a lot about the C-46 and what it has done and still can do. I'd tear my right arm off to fly one, but then again from what I've heard u need both hands, and possibly one more!

Thanks!
Philip
 
Evert's Air Fuel flys them on a 125 certificate and Air Cargo Express flys them on a 121 certificate. Evert's is owned by Cliff Evert and Air Cargo Express is owned by his son. They work closely together and share employees sometimes. They also run a 135 out of Fairbanks but not with the C-46's. You definitely want to keep both arms it takes two hands on the yolk to get much action out of it. Now might be a good time to apply they are now running Brazillias and some of they senior captains have moved to that and may have caused some slots to open up in the C-46. Good luck.
Shawn
 
Hey Ernie, I just talked to that buddy of mine and he said 853 is still sitting out at Tobin Creek wrecked.
Shawn
 
ak2711c said:
Hey Ernie, I just talked to that buddy of mine and he said 853 is still sitting out at Tobin Creek wrecked.
Shawn
Shawan
I don't know whether to thank you or cry so if you see drops on you monitor screen, conside them rain drops. Needless to say, I really apprecialt the position of 92853.

To those that believed me when I said good old 853 was still flying, I offer my most humble appoligy. An aircraft like that just doesn't give up and I missread her.

In my entire life in the bush of Alaska, two aircraft will never leave my memory. Good old C-46A 92853 and my competitor's C-46 Super 60V. Those two aircraft and of course their flight crews are what built the bush of Alaska as we know it now. I have posted a story about the last commercial flight of 60V but now I have to find someone that will share the shory about how 853 deceided to quit flying. Any offers?
Shawn, can you help me with contacts or facts?
After all, 92853 needs to be sent off with some history.

Ernie
 
hey ernie, good pics and story. how much difference is there in flying the c-46 compared to the dc 3?
 
Here ya go ernie!

http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/registry/c46registry/c46-42101110.html

NTSB Identification: ANC83FA119 . The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 23017.
14 CFR Part 91F: Special Flt Ops.
Accident occurred Sunday, July 10, 1983 in BETTLES, AK
Aircraft: CURTISS C-46A, registration: N92853
Injuries: 2 Serious.
JUST AFTER TOUCHDOWN THE ACFT ROLLED OVER A FROST HEAVE ON THE RWY SURFACE AND BEGAN VEERING TO THE RIGHT. THE PLT APPLIED LEFT BRAKE AND ADDED PWR TO THE RIGHT ENG BUT THE ACFT CONTINUED GOING RIGHT UNTIL THE RIGHT WING STRUCK A HILL ADJACENT TO THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE RWY. THE ACFT CAME TO REST IN A DITCH 110 DEGREES TO THE RIGHT OF THE LNDG RWY HEADING. EXAMINATION OF THE RIGHT MAIN LNDG GEAR TIRE REVEALED A LARGE JAGGED OPENING IN THE SIDEWALL WHICH EXTENDED INTO THE TREAD AREA OF THE TIRE. THIS OPENING MATCHED ONE OF THE SIDES OF A ROCK FOUND IN THE VICINITY OF THE FROST HEAVE. THE ACFT MAINTENANCE LOGBOOKS WERE REVIEWED AND FOUND TO HAVE NO RECORD OF COMPLIANCE WITH AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
DIRECTIONAL CONTROL..NOT MAINTAINED..PILOT IN COMMAND
GROUND LOOP/SWERVE..UNCONTROLLED..PILOT IN COMMAND
Contributing Factors
AIRPORT FACILITIES,RUNWAY/LANDING AREA CONDITION..ROUGH/UNEVEN
AIRPORT FACILITIES,RUNWAY/LANDING AREA CONDITION..LOOSE GRAVEL/SANDY
 
behindpropellers said:
Here ya go ernie!

http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/registry/c46registry/c46-42101110.html

NTSB Identification: ANC83FA119 . The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 23017.
14 CFR Part 91F: Special Flt Ops.
Accident occurred Sunday, July 10, 1983 in BETTLES, AK
Aircraft: CURTISS C-46A, registration: N92853
Injuries: 2 Serious.
JUST AFTER TOUCHDOWN THE ACFT ROLLED OVER A FROST HEAVE ON THE RWY SURFACE AND BEGAN VEERING TO THE RIGHT. THE PLT APPLIED LEFT BRAKE AND ADDED PWR TO THE RIGHT ENG BUT THE ACFT CONTINUED GOING RIGHT UNTIL THE RIGHT WING STRUCK A HILL ADJACENT TO THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE RWY. THE ACFT CAME TO REST IN A DITCH 110 DEGREES TO THE RIGHT OF THE LNDG RWY HEADING. EXAMINATION OF THE RIGHT MAIN LNDG GEAR TIRE REVEALED A LARGE JAGGED OPENING IN THE SIDEWALL WHICH EXTENDED INTO THE TREAD AREA OF THE TIRE. THIS OPENING MATCHED ONE OF THE SIDES OF A ROCK FOUND IN THE VICINITY OF THE FROST HEAVE. THE ACFT MAINTENANCE LOGBOOKS WERE REVIEWED AND FOUND TO HAVE NO RECORD OF COMPLIANCE WITH AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
DIRECTIONAL CONTROL..NOT MAINTAINED..PILOT IN COMMAND
GROUND LOOP/SWERVE..UNCONTROLLED..PILOT IN COMMAND
Contributing Factors
AIRPORT FACILITIES,RUNWAY/LANDING AREA CONDITION..ROUGH/UNEVEN
AIRPORT FACILITIES,RUNWAY/LANDING AREA CONDITION..LOOSE GRAVEL/SANDY

Sorry, a great lady like 853 didn't give up her life that early. She flew many more years. Maybe a captain dinged her but her life was not over yet.
Since Wien is no longer flying, I can tell some stories that might be beyond the books about 853 when I was on the bush end of her flights. OK, so there was a flight crew along but it was her that made the flight.

Since Shawn says she is down for the ten count, maybe I can tell some more rather odd stories about one of the most respected aircraft in the old days of Alaska along with 60V. Anyone interested? No one interested? No sense in taking up bandwidth.
 
Keep them coming Ernie, let them live on in stories! I sure hate to see an old classic like 853 given up for dead and left to rot. Who knows maybe some day C-46's will be rare enough and valuable enough that some one will restore it. I haven't seen 853 my self, maybe it is way too far gone. Although you see what those guys do with those rare war birds and I guess it is never too far gone if you have enough money.
Shawn
 
ak2711c said:
Keep them coming Ernie, let them live on in stories! I sure hate to see an old classic like 853 given up for dead and left to rot. Who knows maybe some day C-46's will be rare enough and valuable enough that some one will restore it. I haven't seen 853 my self, maybe it is way too far gone. Although you see what those guys do with those rare war birds and I guess it is never too far gone if you have enough money.
Shawn

I have probably a dozen more stories of the beautiful lady from a Captain that flew her for so many years and considered her an overgrown Super Cub and he should know. If I can get him to release them, they will show up.
To most people Shawn, 853 is not beautiful at all but to others that know the history, Alaska would not be what it is today without her and of course C-46 Super, sixty volts.
 
I bought diesel from Everts several times in the early 90's and had it delivered to Golden Creek north and west of Tanana. It was always delivered in a C-46 I dug up some old photos and could only read tail # on 1 plane looks like N1837M. I flew back to Fairbanks with the crew once with very low cieling and rain. We flew up the Yukon at tree tops all the way past the junction with the tanana river nearly to fairbanks before we could lift up. I was in a jump seat and held a chart over the pilots head to keep the rain out of his lap. What a plane. That plane could really trim willows along the runway.

S.
 
stretch said:
I bought diesel from Everts several times in the early 90's and had it delivered to Golden Creek north and west of Tanana. It was always delivered in a C-46 I dug up some old photos and could only read tail # on 1 plane looks like N1837M. I flew back to Fairbanks with the crew once with very low cieling and rain. We flew up the Yukon at tree tops all the way past the junction with the tanana river nearly to fairbanks before we could lift up. I was in a jump seat and held a chart over the pilots head to keep the rain out of his lap. What a plane. That plane could really trim willows along the runway.

S.

I believe 37M was an old Interior aircraft. Wien flew both 853, a cargo only A model and 48V which was a passenger supper.
I see you were riding on one of the higher altitude IFR (I follow river) bush flights then. :wink: It will be interesting if I can get some of my other C-46 stories released by the Captain that flew them.
 
Just a thought Stretch. If you have any odd photos of any C-46 flying, loading, etc., upload them and I will link them to my 46 stories. People might like to see them. I would give anything to have the photos taken of that crawler tractor on top of drums on the back of an old military all wheel drive truck and probably 2 stories high. Lost all of my early photos in a flood at Galena when the Yukon River ran into an 18 mile ice jam and flooded the entire place.
 
In '92, I had the pleasure of dealing with Evert's in support of our operation at Icy Bay out of Yakutat. Have quite a bit of video of their fuel flights onto our 3200 ft strip. I made one round trip with them to Yakutat and back and was in the right seat for a while. What a tank to drive!!! Also had the great pleasure of meeting Don Holshizer and Merrill Wein on one of the flights. Don left my hometown of Yacolt WA in 1946 and never returned. I knew his relatives in Yacolt.
On my Cub trip to AK the summer of '03, I saw the remains of the C46 and what I assume is a C119 Globemaster at Tobin Creek. Looking at the map of Tobin Creek will show you that there is over 250' of elevation gain in the length of the strip and it's deffinitely one way with no go around for anything but a Cub. I'm told that the surface was razor sharp rock which is backed up in the C46 accident report.
Somebody tell me how to post a pic!!! I have one of the strip and wreckage of both. PM me.
Thanks, Mike
[/list]
 
85Mike said:
In '92, I had the pleasure of dealing with Evert's in support of our operation at Icy Bay out of Yakutat. Have quite a bit of video of their fuel flights onto our 3200 ft strip. I made one round trip with them to Yakutat and back and was in the right seat for a while. What a tank to drive!!! Also had the great pleasure of meeting Don Holshizer and Merrill Wein on one of the flights. Don left my hometown of Yacolt WA in 1946 and never returned. I knew his relatives in Yacolt.
On my Cub trip to AK the summer of '03, I saw the remains of the C46 and what I assume is a C119 Globemaster at Tobin Creek. Looking at the map of Tobin Creek will show you that there is over 250' of elevation gain in the length of the strip and it's deffinitely one way with no go around for anything but a Cub. I'm told that the surface was razor sharp rock which is backed up in the C46 accident report.
Somebody tell me how to post a pic!!! I have one of the strip and wreckage of both. PM me.
Thanks, Mike
[/list]

I will e-mail you shortly Mike. It is easy and almost automatic.
 
stretch said:
I bought diesel from Everts several times in the early 90's and had it delivered to Golden Creek north and west of Tanana. It was always delivered in a C-46 I dug up some old photos and could only read tail # on 1 plane looks like N1837M. I flew back to Fairbanks with the crew once with very low cieling and rain. We flew up the Yukon at tree tops all the way past the junction with the tanana river nearly to fairbanks before we could lift up. I was in a jump seat and held a chart over the pilots head to keep the rain out of his lap. What a plane. That plane could really trim willows along the runway.

S.

Nothing unusual Stretch, but I am wrong about 1837M. She actually flew for Wien for a while. Check photo on this link by scrolling down to near the end.
http://www.supercub.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=55512#55512
 
Bear Bait said:
I looked at the tail number and the picture is of 37M. For three winters I loaded and fueled several of Evert's C46's. I thought 853 was the one that crashed across the inlet 4-5 years ago. I wasn't here when the wreck happened so may be mistaken on which plane it was.

What an impressive plane. Ther load hauling and landing speed are awesome. Kenai used to have a dirt strip between two taxiways. I heard one of the Evert pilots landed on it as a stunt. It was 900 feet long. I do know that because of a dispatching error they landed a C46 at Farwell Lake once. I think it is about 1500 feet. They only had a few barrels of fuel on at the time and went out empty.

Good story Ernie




You are right. I looked at the high res pic later and it is 1837M
 
The Fate of N92853

She came to rest at Chandalar Lake, Alaska on 7/10/83 with my brother in law (who started me flying at age 6) in the left seat. Had a payload of 2000 gallons of fuel on board. She hit a large rock and gashed the right main tire. They used full left rudder and brake and right engine too. Still slammed into the side of the mountain and tore the cockpit open. In the photos you can see the wheels broken off of the yoke. Tom was laid up for 6 months. I will try to post some photos of her later.
 
I really like the C46, They have such unique looks. Got to do formation flying with one once...
 

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It's good to know that good old birds like DC-3's and these C-46's are still out there working.
Hopefully they'll continue to do so for many years to come.
I see an occasional DC-3 around the Puget Sound area but have never seen a C-46 in the flesh.
 
I am sure glad some one brought this thread alive again. This is just some of the best reading if you love airplanes and flying as I do. Keep this going.

Jon
 
Regarding the round motor transports in general; They are alive and well in AK; it ain't over yet ! - But if the EPA gets to kill AVgas 100LL it for sure will be... - I do not believe the "Avgas Ersatz" will work out. Maybe for 150hp engines, but not for 2200hp engines...
Anyway, see here scenes in Palmer, AK.IMG_9530b.jpgP1000699.jpg
 

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