Explore our vintage fleet.
In addition to our modern aircraft, we maintain a fleet of 10 vintage aircraft, including the iconic Miss Virginia, one of the world’s most immaculate DC-3s, two Beechcraft Model 18s, a T-6 Texan, a Stearman Model 75 and a Travel Air 4000. among a few others. These timeless classics serve as a testament to our rich aviation heritage and the preservation of aviation history.
Douglas C-47 / DC-3
Name : Miss Virgina
Year Built : 1943
Model : C-47 converted to DC-3
Miss Virginia was built in 1943 in Douglas’s Long Beach factory as part of contract AC20669 for 122 C-47-DLs for the USAAF. Allocated the construction number 13816, she became 43-30665 with the air force.
She remained in the USA with training Command putting in time at Pope Field, North Carolina, an air base used to train troop carrier crews with paratroops from Fort Bragg. At the end of the war, she moved to the Air Material Command at Davis Monthan air base before joining the Arizona National Guard as 0-30665 in the 1950s. The Army later reclaimed her to use as a test platform until 1966 when she returned to Davis Monthan for storage.
On 21st May 1975, 0-30665 moved from her first ‘family’, the US military, to her second extended family, the Summer Institute of Linguistics with support from the Stoltzfus family. Registered N48065, she was issued with a ferry permit and departed Davis Monthan on 27th May 1975 piloted by the well-known missionary pilot Bernie May on a flight to Waxhaw, North Carolina.
William Cameron Townsend, born in 1896 in Southern California, had commenced selling Spanish language Bibles in Guatemala before moving-on to areas of the Amazon and Mexico. His belief that a reliable translation of the Bible would be beneficial to those speaking all languages led him to found the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) in 1934. Their initial aim was to provide Bibles in translation to multiple South American Indian languages and the creation of SIL was followed by Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1942. The two institutions were joined by a communications and logistics arm, Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS) in 1948. Over the years JAARS operated a range of smaller aircraft in addition to the larger C-47s. Helio Couriers, Cessna 206s, 207s and King Airs were employed, often from remote airstrips. Their US base was established at Waxhaw in 1961 and much work was carried-out in Colombia and Peru.
Miss Virginia, initially with SIL, was re-registered to JAARS on 18th August 1977 and remained with them until 5th November 1980. 1981 was a turbulent time for the charity in Colombia with one of their missionaries, Chet Bitterman, kidnapped and murdered by the M-19 terrorist group. Their demand was for Wycliffe to leave Colombia and this may have been instrumental in the ownership of Miss Virginia transferring to the Institute Linguistico Verano and her appearance on the Colombian register as HK-2540P on 17th July 1981. the registration, slightly modified to HP-2540W, was cancelled on 6th December 1988 and, six days later, she reappeared on the US register as N7043N, owned by JAARS and based at Waxhaw once again.
The following year, a new CofA was issued on 5/5/89 as N47E. She operated briefly for California Air Tours from Burbank in California from 30th November 1989, possibly on lease. California Air Tours was the holding company for National Park Airways which, under the ownership of Mike Suzuki, operated scenic tours to the Grand Canyon, largely for the benefit of Japanese tourists. Although inaugurated with 9-seat Cessna 404s and Piper Navajos, by 1989/90, California Air Tours was operating DC-3 N54542 in a 30-seat configuration under FAA Pt135 air charter regulations. Passengers were embarked at Burbank’s Martin Executive Terminal for the 2-hour flight to the Grand Canyon with on board commentary and assistance provided by a Japanese steward. The flights operated all year round in all weathers and sometimes had to divert from Grand Canyon Airport to Kingman, Arizona. there was at least one spell of mechanical downtime for their DC-3 and it is possible that N47E was chartered to fill the gap.
During the Spring of 1990, N47E moved to K&K Aircraft, a branch of the Stoltzfus family dynasty. Chris Stotzfus had a pioneering start in the aviation world, spraying crops during the 1930s. His company, Chris D.Stoltzfus and Associates, created the family’s start in agricultural aviation. In 1967 his twin sons, Karl and Ken, formed K&K Aircraft Inc at Harrisburg, Virginia. The new company was also a parts business which built training aids and resources from the remains of fighter aircraft wrecked during the Vietnam War. K&K moved to Kidron, Ohio in 1974 and commenced gysy moth spraying operations up and down the east coast in 1981 with Beech 18s. In 1982 the spares and components side of the company was separated out into Preferred Airparts, a company which remains based at Kidron and, under the leadership of Brian Stoltzfus, branched-out into DC-3 turbine conversions.
K&K’s involvement in large area aerial application to combat gypsy moth, mosquitoes and other pests had led to the purchase of a small fleet of C-47s to complement the Beech 18s. These remained in use until a very large fleet of Beechcraft King Airs was purchased from the US Army in 1996 (6). Although N47E was due to join the spraying fleet, she continued to work for the JAARS operation and is seen in Ken Videan’s photo (see above button) at Oshkosh in 1993. The Stoltzfus family have deep links with many religious organisations such as JAARS and the Samaritans Purse. N47E was eventually converted for agricultural operations during the 1990s and was fitted with spray bars which kept her in employment until the arrival of the King Airs.
By the turn of the century, the C-47 spraying fleet had been retired and put out to pasture at the Company’s home base of Bridgewater, Virginia. K&K had been renamed Dynamic Aviation in 1997 to reflect its changing functions and N47E was re-registered to the new company.
Following the end of agricultural operations, N47E remained out-of-service at Bridgewater for a staggering eleven years. The intention had always been to restore N47E to exhibition condition and the Stoltzfus family planned to have her flying in time for the 2010 ‘The Last Time’ historic gathering of Dakotas at Rock Falls, Illinois – an event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the DC-3’s first flight.
The restoration reputedly took 7000 man hours to complete and involved new avionics, instrument and control panels, a reconditioned starboard engine, new firewalls, hoses, overhauled propellers and reconditioned oil coolers and carburettors. The work was completed a mere 8 days before the scheduled appearance at Whiteside County Airport, Rock Falls. Registered to Dynamic Avlease on 23rd July 2010, N47E appeared at Rock Falls the following day piloted by Karl Stoltzfus. She subsequently took part in a 21-Dakota formation at EAA Airventure Oshkosh fly-in on July 26th. Since then, she has been an Oshkosh regular appearing at the 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 events.
More Bios of our Vintage aircraft fleet are coming soon. Check back for updates that will include.
Travel Air 4000
Beech 18 (2)