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Howard DGA -
Featured aircraft, c/n 858, N858H

Take me back to the Howard DGA page I just came from

c/n 858, DGA-15P N858H, ex N62016
U.S. Navy NH-1, BuNo 29533

howard dga-15 seaplane, n858h, lake hook, alaskaPhoto ID: N858H_1

howard dga aircraft, floats, n858h
Photo ID: N858H_2

howard dga float plane, lake hood, ak
Photo ID: N858H_3

howard dga aircraft on floats, lake hood, alaska
Photo ID: N858H_4

9/14/10 - About 10:00 p.m. on Aug. 2, 2004, my wife Elaine and I were doing another of our countless circuits around Lake Hood in Anchorage to see if there was anything new or something with a special sun angle, etc. And there it was - - this beautiful Howard DGA-15P. Wow - - now THAT makes my heart race! I just love those old birds.

FAA Spec A-717 says that the NH-1 was a “Blind Flying Trainer” which was identical to the DGA-15P except for a fuel capacity of 122 gals. (instead of the standard 88 gal.); two passengers instead of the standard four; and a third set of controls and instruments in the rear cockpit. Now that must have been some instrument trainer - - with a long time between potty stops!

Photo 2: Howards were built with cabin and baggage doors on the right side alone. A November 2001, FAA ‘337 covers the installation of a left door on N858H. It, and the right-hand door now swing upwards for floatplane operations. They also installed a left hand baggage door, modified the right door and made numerous other practical mods and improvements. It is my guess that the aircraft went on floats at this time. Aircraft total time was only 720.9 hours! The Howards’ fuel tanks are in the belly, and you can see three fuel caps on the right side there.

Photo 3: As with many aircraft, the Howard floatplane needs more vertical tail than the wheeled version. N858H appears to have the wider, AG100 prop blades.

Photo 4: The next morning when we got back to where the Howard was tied up, it was gone. But then when I was walking around some other airplanes I heard the unmistakable roar of the Howard from behind me. I ran for my telephoto lens but couldn’t get myself in gear before he was nearly out of sight.

Elaine and I were in Alaska again in May 2010 and I chatted with two guys who were working on some Beavers at Lake Hood. It turns out that one was John Burton, who was flying with the Venalecks when we saw N858H in 2004. Small world!

Here's some history from the FAA file: In January 1947 the aircraft was sold by the U.S. War Assets Administration to Woolley Aircraft Co., Pier 12, Honolulu, T.H. (Territory of Hawaii, for the younger generation) for $633.00. It was promptly resold to Hugh MacDonald, also of Honolulu, for $900, with registration NC62016. James Hudson and John Clark, Navy Housing, Oahu bought it from Hugh MacDonald in February for $1566 and had all but the wings recovered in 1947.

Next owner was Harry Shank of Honolulu who bought it for $1,000 in March, 1950. A July 1951, FAA ‘337 covers extending the engine cowling aft by five inches. Apparently the military Howard cowling was different from the civilian in this regard and he was modifying it to the civilian style for better cooling in cruise. The military cowl was designed for lower airspeeds.

C. Baptiste bought it for $500 in January 1952. Airframe total time in June was 477-hours and the next June it was 547, making it one of the more active years for this Howard! Next was the MATS Flying Club of San Francisco in June 1952 for “ten dollars” (but it obviously stayed in Hawaii); followed by Edward Hart & Harry Hirao of Oahu, again for ten dollars (probably fictitious figures); Murrayair, Limited of Honolulu in February 1953; Clement Eckhart in July 1961 for $200; and Bernard & Edith Rahe in August 1963. All were in Hawaii.

The Rahe estate sold it to Leslie Sargent, Ewa Beach, Hawaii in November 1992, and he had it registered as N858H. Most certainly the aircraft sat idle for many of those years. Sargent’s address was soon changed to Hermitage, TN. In 1994 he had the wings totally rebuilt.

In April 98, N858H was sold to John Venaleck of Painesville, OH, to whom it is still registered.

 

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