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N996DM Douglas DC-6B c/n 45563 l/n 1034 - Red Bull - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 27 April 2006 more at Groningen Airport Eelde

On 27 April 2006, Flying Bulls came in at Groningen Airport Eelde with their ancient Douglas DC-6B. This aircraft has a long history. The airliner was delivered first as YU-AFA to JAT - Jugoslavenski Aero Transport on 24 October 1958. In 1961, the aircraft was transferred to the Yugoslav Air Force (Jugoslovensko Ratno Vazduhoplovstvo) as 7451. The DC-6B was converted to a luxury plane and operated as a VIP aircraft for Yugoslavian president Marshall Tito and his guests. In service with the Yugoslav Air Force the DC-6B became the JRV marking 73101 and finally 71511. In 1975, the aircraft went to the Zambian Air Force where it was used as a VIP aircraft for President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. When the Zambian Air Force moved to jet transport, the DC-6B was withdrawn from use and parked in a corner at Lusaka's airport next to another ZAF DC-6B with c/n 45564. It was not until 1992 that Chris Schutte, manager of NCA - Namibia Commercial Aviation in Windhoek/Namibia, came across these DC-6B's in Zambia. A British aviation supplies agent offering forty tons of DC-6 spares from surplus Zambian Air Force stocks approached NCA. The offer was only valid on one condition: the buyer had to removed also the pair of Zambian Air Force DC-6Bs which had not flown for the last fifteen years and which were lying at Lusaka. Although NCA was not actively seeking further aircraft to add to its fleet, Chris Schutte inspected the two aircraft. He discovered that both airframes, with the ZAF markings GMB-110 and GMB-112, were preserved in a rather good condition in the hot and dry Zambian climate. The condition of the airliners was that good that both aircraft were capable of being flown out of Lusaka. Schutte bought both airframes and first restored the DC-6B with frame-number 45564. Within seven working days this aircraft was restored by a NCA team to airworthy condition. With the new Namibian registration, V5-NCG, the airliner was flown to her new base at Windhoek. As NCA didn't need the aircraft earlier, it last until September 1994 before an NCA-team started with the recovery of the DC-6B with frame-number 45563. After seven working days period at Lusaka Airport, this DC-6B was declared airworthy. With the new Namibian registration, V5-NCF, she was also ferried to her new home base of Windhoek. The V5-NCF and V5-NCG remained in service with NCA until 1999. Due to lack of work Schutte was forced to sell the V5-NCF. In March 2000, the Flying Bulls business director draw up a preliminary contract and in July 2000, the plane was ferried from Windhoek to Salzburg. In the period 2001 until 2004, the DC-6B was brought in a splendid condition. On 4 April 2001, the registration in Namibia was cancelled and was registered N996DN in the U.S.A. Nowadays the Douglas DC-6B is operated by the Flying Bulls and stationed at Salzburg in Austria.

page last updated: 28-06-2006
Photo Copyright © Jack Poelstra, the Netherlands
 

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