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Curtiss C-46 Civil Air Transport, Southern Air Transport, Air America, Air Asia Company, CIA
Photo ID: 1011563
click image to enlarge
Model: Curtiss C-46F-1-CU
Commando, CW-20-B4
Registration: N23AC
Year: 1945 Serial Number: USAF 44-78628, c/n 22451
Engine(s): P&W R2800-51M1, 18-Cyl. Twin Row Radials, 2000-Hp, B-Series Owner: Tatonduk Outfitters
Fairbanks, AK
Location: PAFA, Fairbanks International, Fairbanks, AK Photographer: Ken Stoltzfus
Date: July 2004 Present Registration: Same Present Owner (FAA info): Same
Notes: 12/14/04 - I don't know if Everts ever named this aircraft like his others, but it would have to be "Top Secret", "Been There", "Mystery Man", "Can't Tell" or something like that. Few people or aircraft have lived a life of intrigue like N23AC! The info I found is all public and is decades old, so I'm not revealing any secrets here.

Ever hear of companies like Civil Air Transport, Southern Air Transport, Air America, Air Asia Company (China), Intermountain Aviation or Rosenbalm Aviation? Or places like China, Laos, Rayo Base in Guatemala, or Panama? Who was George Doole

Have you ever heard of an aircraft having four Airworthiness Certificates issued in one day, by three FAA offices, with four N-numbers? Hardly!

If you think you're having an identify crisis, how about an airplane that has had all of these tail numbers: 478628, XT-850, N8369C, B-850, N74811, N18AC, N23AC, N777AF, HP-316 and/or HP-317 - - and some of them more than once?!

N23AC passed from one CIA front/entity to another. Sometimes it was done in a very proper-appearing way with formal sales agreements and even a (certainly) fake repossession. At other times there is incredible incongruity in dates, ownership and identity on sale, registration and airworthiness documents.
Curtiss C-46, N74811, Intermountain Aviation, Rosenbalm Aviation, CIA, Bay of Pigs
Photo ID: 1011564
click image to enlarge
Notes: N23AC as N74811 in Intermountain colors. Intermountain is well known to have been a CIA front. Some of these companies did commercial freight hauling to give them a legitimate face. (Photo purchased from Aviation Photo Files Worldwide)
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
Curtiss C-46 478628, XT-850, N8369C, B-850, N74811, N18AC, N23AC, N777AF, HP-316, HP-317, CIA
Photo ID: 1011565
click image to enlarge
Notes: N23AC is a C-46F, thus the right hand door. More historical details are below the photos and main text. I hope N23AC gets back in the air. It has only been in Alaska since '2000 and deserves the chance to work there a while before being turned into beer cans. Actually, there's hardly a better candidate for a C-46 Warbird to fly the circuit. All it would take is passion and a pile of money.

Click here for more information on C-46's used by Air America and Air Asia. Scroll down and you will find this aircraft as B-850.

Click here for a fantastic site on all the aircraft of Air America.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
History from FAA files: 12/19/49 Application for Registration, Civil Air Transport, Dover, DE, and then on 12/29/49 to CAT with a Washington, D.C. address, for Curtiss C-46F, s/n 2560-CU, N8369C; 12/19/49, Certificate of Registration issued to CAT, Dover address; (Documents at this time cover the sale of 51 aircraft, N8343C to N8393C.)

2/50 Application for Airworthiness Certificate by Civil Air Transport, Dover, DE, for C-46F, N8369C, s/n 2560-CU; 3/50 Letter from Civil Air Transport to CAA, saying that the Hongkong CAT office advises that s/n 2560-CU should be 22451.

5/50, Attorney for Civil Air Transport requests CAA to cancel registration effective 5/10/50. (Aircraft probably went to Air America's, Air Asia Company operation based in China, and was registered as B-850.)

10/60 Letter on sale and delivery of four C-46 aircraft to Los Hermanos Sebastian Y Gomez, S.A., Panama. Includes s/n 22451 which was Chinese registered as B-850 at the time. Price was $75,000 each, $3,000 down and $3,000 per month; Various documents at that time show s/n as 44-78628. (Gomez was apparently a CIA front for aircraft used in the Bay-of-Pigs operation.)

Several documents show aircraft was Panamian registered as HP-317 and/or HP-316, but then repossessed. It was deregistered there in 3/61. ("Repossession" was certainly only a way to move the aircraft from one CIA entity to another.)

11/60 337's on various work on aircraft, Southern Air Transport as owner.

4/61 Application for Registration by Southern Air Transport, N74811; 5/61 337, Southern Air Transport gives aircraft major overhaul and converts it to conform to Aircraft Specification A-789; 7/61 Application for Original Airworthiness, Southern Air Transport is owner, 16067-TT, N74811, Standard Category.

9/61 Bill of Sale from Air Asia Company Limited to Southern Air Transport, signed by George A. Doole, Managing Director; 1/63 Certified Extract from Articles of Incorporation says that "Air Asia Company is a corporation organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Republic of China"; 5/62 337 shows Southern Air Transport as owner, N74811;

3/63 SAT writes FAA trying to clear up issues so they can register it Identified as N74811, MSN 22451, USAF 44-78628.

Four Airworthiness Certificates issued on the same day by three different FAA offices, using four different N-numbers! (1) 5/17/63 Application for Airworthiness by Southern Air Transport, shows it as N74811, signed off by FS-2320-32. The change was made to reflect change in certificate no. from FW-428 to SO-428. Airworthiness Certificate dated, 5/17/63 Exchange, issued by SO-ACDO-32, shows it as N74811, Normal Category; (2) Airworthiness Certificate dated 5/17/63(R), issued by NM-FSDO-09, shows it as N18AC, Normal Category; (3) Airworthiness Certificate dated (R) 5/17/63, issued by NM-FSDO-09, shows it as N23AC, Standard Category; (4) Airworthiness Certificate dated 5/17/63 Exchange, issued by SW2-68/MAU, shows it as N777AF, Normal Category;

7/69 To Intermountain Aviation, Marana, AZ, for $60,000; 1/70 337, major rebuild to N74811 by Intermountain including 10,000 hour inspection, at 28,921-TT; 11/73 to Rosenbalm Aviation, Medford, OR; 9/75 To International Airlines Academy, dba Trans Continental Airlines, Ypsilanti, MI for $65,000, aircraft 33,097-TT. Aircraft picked up at Greater Wilmington Airport, Wilmington, DE; 8/78 to F. A. Conner, Miami, FL; Same day to Cryderman Air Service, Pontiac, MI, who subsequently changed the name on the registration to Century Airlines;

12/81 to Air Tram Leasing, Bossier City, LA; 8/85 To American Air Freight, Laredo, TX, who changed registration to N777AF; 11/89 To Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation, Anaheim, CA; 2/95 To Erickson Aircrane, Central Point, OR, who changed registration to N18AC, and subsequently to N23AC; 12/99 To Richard E. Foy, Medford, OR; 1/00 to Airtime Corporation, Medford, OR; 9/00 To Tatonduk Outfitters,, Fairbanks, AK, Cliff Everts, Pres.;
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