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Photo ID: 1011338
click image to enlarge
Model: Douglas C-47B, DC-3TP Registration: N467SP
Year: 1945 Serial Number: 16200/32948, 44-76616
Engine(s): P&W PT6A-65AR, 1230-HP Owner: Samaritans Purse
Boone, NC
Location: Nairobi, Kenya, and various locations in Sudan Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
Date: 2004, March Present Registration: Same Present Owner (FAA info):
Notes: 4/21/04 - What a spectacular machine the turbine DC-3 is! It represents the best of the old and the new.

This aircraft was delivered March 28, 1945 as a C-47B-30-DK. Douglas Construction Number is 16200/ 32948, with military s/n 44-76616. It went straight to the RAF and was given their identification KN472. Its last military service was with the SAAF (South African Air Force) where it was assigned number 6868.

The SAAF converted a number of their DC-3's to the PT6A turbine, using the AMI conversion from Texas. The easy way to distinguish an AMI aircraft from the Basler conversion is the exhaust. Basler runs it out the top of the nacelle instead of out the sides like this aircraft.

My son Brian Stoltzfus is serving as Training Captain on this aircraft for two years, concluding June '04. The DC-3 supports the medical, educational, agricultural, relief and church planting efforts of Samaritan's Purse. It is operated in conjunction with Aim Air, based in Nairobi, Kenya, and does trips for them when not flying for SP. Much of their flying is in the war zones of Sudan, and in Congo. In May 2003 Brian and crew evacuated 900 Congolese from Bunia, Congo, when they were caught in an ethnic cleansing catastrophe. Over 1000 people died and many of these were saved only by the evacuation effort.

An excellent site for more info on the SAAF DC-3's is: here
 

Photo ID: 1011339
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Notes: What a load! Tractor tires, mattresses, hospital equipment, propane tanks, boxes of personal items, crates of fruits and vegetables and much more. It will go to several locations in Sudan.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011340
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Notes: There are passenger seats at the front, so the load is well secured. Even more than you see here! This is something these guys take very seriously.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011341
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Notes: Here's the kind of strip the '3 flies into. The shortest one they use is 2300' long, none are paved. People and animals are a constant challenge. We had to wait for some goats to cross before taking off from here.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011342
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Notes: Unloading. The arrival of the DC-3 is always a welcomed event for the people in the field. Most of them depend on it for food and other supplies and for evacuation when things get too hot in the war there. Samaritan's Purse won't put people in locations where they cannot be evacuated.

One of the advantages of the turbine DC-3 is the availability of JetA. AvGas is essentially unavailable in these places. You would have to transport it all yourself. This airport out in the middle of "Podunk" had a 5000 gallon JetA tank at very reasonable prices. We were not full going to the next stop so Brian filled some drums to take along.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011343
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Notes: Here's how you load drums in the bush. They keep fuel at many remote locations, and when they have room weight-wise they carry some in. The barrels come off the airplane a whole lot easier than this. Out the door and "kawump"!
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011344
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Notes: They have special straps to secure the barrels. A pilot who doesn't like to get his hands dirty shouldn't be a missionary pilot. "White" doesn't describe Brian's shirt at the end of a day!
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011345
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Notes: Okay, some of you saw this airplane at the end of the runway, several photos up. It's a Russian Antonov AN 32. Russian aircraft are laying all over Africa. They are cheap and are commonly overloaded. Combine that with maintenance and piloting issues and you come up with piles of aluminum everywhere. Depending on where they are, they are scavenged for the metal but this one just seems to lay there.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011346
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Notes: As said earlier, Brian moves fuel to many remote locations. In this case he put extra fuel in the internal tanks so he could transport more or it instead of carrying the barrel weight. They have large dump valves under the aircraft and he fills drums on-site, which they had used to refuel the DC-3 or a Caravan on a previous flight.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011347
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Notes: Yeah, barrels. I'm not sure, but it seems that Southern Sudan has more barrels than people. They are all over Africa. Countless barrels used to transport and store gasoline, diesel, avgas, JetA and who knows what else!
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011348
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Notes: While we were unloading and reloading the '3, this UN contracted Buffalo came in and dropped a bunch of barrels. He never shut down - - they lowered the cargo ramp, rolled the drums out and away they went. Sort of like a hen laying eggs. (Now that would be some hen!)
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011349
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Notes: People. Yes, people are what this is all about. These Sudanese have lived in a war zone for many years. They had fled to the hills and only recently have come back to the low lands. SP is committed to helping them in many ways. There have been no schools in parts of Sudan for at least a generation.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011350
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Notes: Agricultural projects are an important part of what Samaritan's Purse does. They have purchased a number of big, 4-wheel drive tractors in conjunction with USAID and have some very successful projects going. You can learn more about SP at  Samaritan's Purse
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011351
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Notes: One of the points of deep satisfaction in this project is the degree to which the Sudanese are being trained and learning to run it themselves. Welding skills are part of the program.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011352
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Notes: Lui Hospital - - you might have read or heard about it being bombed by the Khartoum government. These folks are committed to meeting human need, regardless of religion. People will walk for days to receive treatment here.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011353
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Notes: This sign is not a joke and not to be taken lightly. You must leave your gun, spear or bow and arrow here when you enter the hospital compound!
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011354
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Notes: Unloading the hospital equipment and other items for the one-hour, bouncy trip to Lui.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011355
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Notes: I soloed Brian in a 1946, Piper J-3 Cub. I would send him out to the airport to fly on days when other guys would stand in the office and watch him, rather than venture out themselves. Learning to "work his feet", as Father used to say, stands him in good stead on runways like this. It's either the center, or the bushes. (That is not what is intended by the term "bush flying".)

I know of three turbine DC-3's that have been destroyed or received major damage in operations in Sudan. In the first one the pilot lost it on takeoff. He jerked it into the air and then went through two Cessna Caravans before impacting the ground. The aircraft was destroyed. I believe that the fuselage came off of the centersection on that one. Another time a pilot lost control and went off the side and over an ant hill, doing significant airframe and engine damage. In the third case they hit a tree on approach to a typically short strip, then slid across a ditch and tore both gears out. Because of their value the latter two aircraft were patched up and ferried to South Africa for repairs.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011356
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Notes: Gitten'. Brian is heading back to the border, about 1.6 hours away for a second load and I'll wait here until he gets back. This is my only chance to get some take-off and landing shots.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011357
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Notes: Ten minutes later, here he comes! Now what!? Turns out that when he contacted home base (Nairobi) by HF they said the load wasn't cleared out of the country yet. He returned, picked up the small load that was going back to the border, I hopped on, and away we went. As we neared Kenya we got word that the stuff was cleared. We loaded up and headed back in for the second trip of the day.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011358
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Notes: This time it was about two tons of Bibles in a local language for another mission. For many of us that is an important part of what this is all about. Even if one doesn't buy into that, it would be hard to not appreciate the work of Samaritan's Purse because of the multitude of ways in which they respond to human need. It is people with resources responding to people in need - - in Jesus' Name. It is hard work and often risky, but rewarding beyond description.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011359
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Notes: The DC-3 crew gets into some interesting "airports" in Sudan! This is a very demanding operation and the Samaritan's Purse and Aim Air pilots are "top drawer".

Temperatures of 110-120F are not unusual. The rainy seasons add to the complexity of the operation and some runways become unusable. ATC is unheard of so calls are made in the blind in areas of higher traffic. Cultural anomalies and dealing with local authorities add variety to one's experience. It is not for the faint-hearted, nor for the over-confident.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011360
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Notes: Another airport. Your pre-takeoff briefing here includes something like, "If we lose one after takeoff we'll shut it down and head for the border". That's over 500-miles away! This would hardly be possible in a piston DC-3 but it is very doable in the turbine.

That is a World Food Program tent on the right at this end. The UN contracts with a C-130 operator to air-drop food and it is stored here while being distributed.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011361
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Notes: A real missionary pilot doesn't just fly the airplane. He does whatever needs done. We were "weathered in" one day by a "haboob", a major duststorm that extended for hundreds of miles and went up to 13,000'.

Here Brian and Missouri farm boy Tim W. are working on the diesel engine on a grain mill. It wouldn't start, so the local mechanics had taken the head off and then cranked it over, messing up the timing. They put the head back on and bent a valve while trying to start it. Brian and Tim took it back apart and took the damaged pieces back to Nairobi to find new ones.

There are always broken things to fix in the bush. Pilots who are ready to serve others, and who will dig into that kind of stuff, find a special place in the heart of people "out there".
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011362
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Notes: Maintenance on the turbine '3 is a fraction of the piston aircraft. The PT6's are extremely reliable and the airframe needs less maintenance because engine vibration is reduced so much. However - - things do fail and here Brian is changing a starter-generator in the bush. They carry a spare unit, plus a built up tailwheel assembly and a few other things.
Photographer: Brian Stoltzfus collection
 

Photo ID: 1011363
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Notes: Two of the three finest young men I know. Son Brian on the left with his brother Ken on the right. Ken and family spent a couple of weeks with Brian, Sandi and family over the 2003-04 New Year holiday. They and their sons and some other friends spent most of a week in Sudan building a chapel on a hospital compound. Son Mark was in Kenya earlier and made a trip into Sudan with Brian.
Photographer: Brian Stoltzfus collection
 

Photo ID: 1011365
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Notes: A modified DC-3 wing tip which enhances performance and shortens the span just a tad.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011366
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Notes: Note the fairing in the tail gear well. That is a little speed mod that you won't find on many DC-3's.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011367
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Notes: Sort of like "father and son". Nothing will ever surpass the legacy of the DC-3, but the Cessna Caravan is also establishing itself as a tireless workhorse in the bush. Dozens of them operate across East Africa, from Nairobi. Every evening just before dark they come in from all directions like birds returning to roost for the night.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 

Photo ID: 1011368
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Notes: The DeHavilland DHC-5 (CC-115, C-8 series) Buffalo should not be left out of the picture either. While far fewer in number they have earned a place of respect as an extremely short-field aircraft.
Photographer: Stoltzfus, Ken
 
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