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Douglas DC-3's at Fremont Airport,
Fremont, OH, 14G

DC-3 N85SA, sn 11637
DC-3 N137PB, sn 4128
Last revised 1/3/13

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My wife Elaine and I were on our way home from Michigan on Nov. 5, 2011, and I decided to swing by the Fremont Airport. It had been many years since I was there and I wanted to check on the status of the two DC-3's that I knew had been there. I wasn't disappointed in what I found, and it was a spectacular photo day! We were there around noon time.

I talked with Rex Damschroder for a few minutes and he brought me up to date on the DC-3 status, as given below. Rex's father Gene Damschroder Sr. started the airport in 1963. A former Navy pilot, he taught many people to fly in addition to serving in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1973-83. He died in a Cessna 206 accident in June, 2008.

Rex is now running 14G. In addition to that, he served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1995-03 and was recently reelected.

Both DC-3's are FAA spec A-669 airplanes. Information below is gathered from several sources.BTW, iIf you are every out flying and get lost, and then find yourself at an airport where every hangar is of the quonset type, you're probably at Fremont. It's a privately owned airport and they did it their way, which appears to be very practical and functional.

sn 4128, UAL DC-3A-197E to USAAF DC-3-395, C-52B
NC33649, 41-7707, NC33327, N33327, N137PB


N137PB is one of only two Douglas DC-3-395, USAAF C-52B’s built. Douglas CN (Construction Numbers) 4127 and 4128 had been ordered by United Airlines as DC-3A-197E’s, which were P&W R-1830 powered aircraft with the right hand passenger door and 28 seats. Our cn 4128 had been assigned CAA registration NC33649. They were “impressed” by the USAAF while still on the production line and were delivered in July 1941 as SN 41-7706 and 41-7707.

Photo 2
Yup, #37 she was! It was operated in the south for many years and doesn't have deice boots, even on the props. Gene E Damschroder of Fremont, OH, bought N137PB in Dec. 1989. It was sold to Northern Illinois Aircraft Museum, Gilberts, IL in 2010, with two years to take delivery, and I’m told (Nov. 2011) that plans are to fly it out next spring.  I'd love to be there for the event. (1/13, still waiting for a ferry permit, I think)
Photo 3 An interesting air scoop on the belly, under the cockpit. Its probably for the gas-fired heater.
Photo 4
The very reliable P&W R-1830, twin row radial, 1830 cubic inches, 1200-hp, with Hamilton Standard 23E50 propeller. My sons at Preferred Airparts sold the Damschroders a low time P&W R-1830 engine some years ago but I don't know if it has been installed.
Photo 5
"Heavy" landing gear, which is good for #26,900 gross. Note the forged upper truss and drag brace which are very different from cn 11637, N85SA below. This one was most likely built with light gear and converted along the way, which many were. It is probably certificated for #26,200 with passengers and #26,900 for cargo. It has the Bendix expander tube brakes.
Photo 6
The Airstair, passenger door. The passenger door was originally on the right side but it was moved to the left, like most DC-3's. The original passenger doors were hinged on the front and steps were rolled up to the aircraft. In the late 1940's the Airstair door was developed and most aircraft were converted. My Aviation Week magazines of the late 1940's to early 1950's report on several occasions of airliner doors coming open in flight and stewardesses or passengers falling out. This was essentially rectified with safety devices on the doors.
Photo 7 The typical DC-3 airline type baggage door, probably a new concept in the late '40's too.
Photo 8

I’m told that the engines have been run regularly. Over the years I have ferried several DC-3’s that had been parked for as long as this one, and with no protection at all. My guess is that it will take less effort to get N137PB ferriable than a Beech, Cessna or Piper twin that sat that long, would take!

Photo 9 The Damschroder’s have cared for the aircraft by providing this very unique shelter.
Photo 10
Braniff's N33327 in the 1950's. This is an official Braniff photo. In July 1944, 4128 joined Northwest Airlines as DC-3A NC33327, fleet number “327”. It went to Mid-Continent in April 1948; Braniff in August 1952 as N33327; and Trans Texas Airways in April 1959. It was owned by Gulf American Land Corp. in June 1965; Modern Air Transport in 1966; Spremich Enterprises, Fun Leasing, of Houston in  1968; and Hi-Flyers of New Orleans in Sept. 1968.
Photo 11
N137PB in PBA colors, landing at Miami. In July 1974 it joined Provincetown-Boston Airlines as DC-3A-295 N137PB; was leased to Air Sunshine in Dec. 1976; leased to Bar Harbor for use on Eastern Express routes; by April 1988 it was in Florida Express colors, and withdrawn from use in Sept. 1988.
sn 11637, DC-3A-457, USAAF C-53D Skytrooper, 42-68710
NC45370, N45370, N85SA


Douglas cn 11637 was delivered to the USAAF on March 5, 1943 as C-53D Skytrooper, 42-68710, and it joined the 8th Air Force in April. It is reported to have participated in the D-Day Invasion in June 1944.

Only 159 USAAF C-53D (sometimes C-53D-DO), Douglas model DC-3A-457 aircraft were built. They had the 1200-HP P&W R-1830 engines; were equipped with 28 seats and a 30” passenger door on the left side, and had a 24-volt electrical system.
Photo 2
A DC-3 is a DC-3 is a DC-3. Yep, that's "the look." That's the air intake for the gas-fired cabin heater, on the side of the fuselage behind the co-pilot's window. (This is a pre "First-Officer" airplane!)
Photo 3
The P&W R-1830 is covered to keep the mags dry. It was built with a long tailpipe back along the nacelle under the wing, but has been modified with this short exhaust outlet. This was only possible after the gas-fired "Janitrol" heater was installed, as the cabin heat was originally generated by a heat intensifier tube that ran through the tailpipe and was then ducted into the cabin.
Photo 4 11637 was built with the light landing gear which limited it to #25,200 takeoff and landing weight instead of #26,900 on later aircraft. Many were converted to the heavy gear, which upped the gross weight but 11637 was not. Note the welded, round tubular upper truss above the wheel, and the welded drag brace behind it, both indicators of "light gear." N85SA also has the Bendix expander tube brakes.
Photo 5
Needing some TLC, which it is apparently now getting. As of 11/7/11 it is in the process of being registered to “Saving Lulu Belle Inc” of Fremont, and they have plans to preserve it and paint it in its D-Day colors. From what I understand, present plans are to make it airworthy but they do not plan to fly it. Their web site is   
Photo 6
Yes, "November Eight Five Sierra Alpha" it is!
Photo 7
Preferred Airparts recently sold them an elevator to replace this damaged one. When I was there the restoration team was removing the ailerons and taking them inside for recover. The plan is to do all of the surfaces.

By 1953 11637 was NC45370 for Continental Airlines. It next served Southern Airways as N85SA until 12/63, after which it was owned and/or operated by Houston Aviation Products in Dec. 1963; Jack Richards Aircraft Sales, Oklahoma City, OK; R.H. Prim, Sarasota, FL; Jack Adams Aircraft Sales, Wales, MS 1966; Byrne Aircraft Sales, White Plains, NY, 1968; C. E. Wheeler, McLean, VA 9/68; Distribute Aire, Albuquerque, NM 1/70; Aviation Materials, Memphis, TN; Zephyr Aviation, 9/70; A Broussard, Waco, TX 5/72; G. Lewis, Baytown, TX 12/73; Tejas Aviation, Baytown, TX, 1975; R. Branch, Morresville, IN 3/75; G. Gibson, Indiatlantic, FL 3/77; Sky Diving, Mason, OH 3/78; S. M. Moran, Marietta, GA 12/82; Rolling Meadows Aviation, 2/83; to Gene Damschroder of Fremont OH in 9/88.

There's a really sharp May 1979 photo of it here and I understand it was used to lift skydivers.




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