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Turbine Engines On A DC-3?  
User currently offlineACYWG From Canada, joined Feb 2005, 265 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6927 times:

I was talking to my brother (lead painter for Kenn Borek Air ltd.) and he was telling me about a DC-3 they just picked up. Supposedly it's got Turbine engines in it and 6-bladed props! Anybody heard of this? Some sort of upgrade kit for it like they have for some old King Airs?

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21415 posts, RR: 60
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6896 times:

Yes. DC3 can be retrofitted with prop-jets. It also entails adding a fuselage plug for increased length in front of the wing.


Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6866 times:

Basler Aviation in Oshkosh, WI does the conversion. I believe FourStar Cargo has a few of them.


Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineAKelley728 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2160 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 6864 times:

There is a company called Basler Turbo Conversions based out of Oshkosh, WI that specializes in converting DC-3s to turboprop power. Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67R engines with a 5 blade propeller power the converted airframes. In addition to the new engines, Basler updates the cockpit and avionics with digital instruments, puts in a 40 inch fuselage extension ahead of the wings, and modifies the wings, among other things.

If you want more info on the conversion, their website is: http://www.baslerturbo.com/

Here are some of the converted aircraft:


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Photo © Michael Blank
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Photo © Gary Chambers



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Photo © Brian Spurr
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Photo © Malcolm Anderson - t.dot photography




[Edited 2005-09-09 05:35:52]

[Edited 2005-09-09 05:36:28]

User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1606 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 6796 times:
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There is a second PT6A conversion for the DC-3, similar to the Basler conversion. These conversions were done in South Africa. You can tell the difference as the nacelle is more rounded:

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Photo © Vivian A Watts



Some of AKelley728's pictures show the Basler conversion (square top nacelles), while others show the South African conversion (rounded nacelles). Interestingly, the engineering for both mods was done by Aircraft Technical Services in Van Nuys California.

Some DC-3s were reengined with RR Darts in the UK for BEA:


Jack Conroy did a similar mod in the US as the Turbo-Three:
http://www.air-and-space.com/Conroy%20Turbo%20Mods/19720412%20Turbo-Three%20a%20l.jpg

This was followed by the Super-Turbo-Three:
http://www.air-and-space.com/Conroy%20Turbo%20Mods/19740612%20Super-Turbo-Three%20a%20l.jpg

Lastly, he also put three PT6As on a DC-3 as the Tri-Turbo-Three:
http://www.air-and-space.com/Conroy%20Turbo%20Mods/19811207%20Tri-Turbo-Three%20a%20l.jpg

[Edited 2005-09-09 07:18:17]

User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12032 posts, RR: 47
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6739 times:
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I saw the Tri-Turbo at Van Nuys back in 1978! It also visited Farnborough Air Show that year.  old 

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Photo © Steve Brimley




Hey AA, the 1960s called. They want their planes back!
User currently offlineCOSPN From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Oct 2001, 1602 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6711 times:

Royal Thai Airforce Has Several In Operation....Nice....

User currently offlineAKelley728 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2160 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6587 times:

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 4):
Some of AKelley728's pictures show the Basler conversion (square top nacelles), while others show the South African conversion (rounded nacelles). Interestingly, the engineering for both mods was done by Aircraft Technical Services in Van Nuys California.

Thanks for the clarification. Other than the nacelles, what other differences are there between the Basler and South African conversions?


User currently offlineGg190 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6515 times:

BEA's RR Dart fitted DC-3's were called 'Pionair's'

User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21415 posts, RR: 60
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6468 times:

Quoting AKelley728 (Reply 7):
Thanks for the clarification. Other than the nacelles, what other differences are there between the Basler and South African conversions?

Some didn't seem to have the fuselage plug, so the props were nearly in front of the nose of the craft.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1606 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6467 times:
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Quoting AKelley728 (Reply 7):
Thanks for the clarification. Other than the nacelles, what other differences are there between the Basler and South African conversions?

I just checked my copy of Jane's Aircraft Upgrades 2001-2002. The South African conversions are listed as being performed by either the SAAF or Wonder Air (Pty) Ltd - its hard to tell, but I think Wonder Air actually did them.

The SA mod is listed as having a 1m fuselage plug ahead of the wing, while the Basler mod is listed as having a 1.02m plug. The difference might be just an inaccuracy in the listing. The SA mod has PT6A-65ARs, while the Basler mod uses PT6A-67Rs. Both are listed as having the same power output (1,424 hp). The Basler mod has new wing tips, which the SA mod doesn't have.


User currently offlineCaboclo From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 203 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6338 times:

Personally, I think it's immoral to put turbos on a fine old classic like the Gooney Bird. There's plenty of old turbo-prop commuters around, why do you have to go mess with perfection?


Freight dogs have more fun
User currently offlineWhiteHatter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 6318 times:

Quoting Caboclo (Reply 11):
Personally, I think it's immoral to put turbos on a fine old classic like the Gooney Bird. There's plenty of old turbo-prop commuters around, why do you have to go mess with perfection?

simply because there were plenty of them around to mess with!

It made sense too, as Douglas built them like tanks. What other wartime aircraft is still in frequent commercial use in 2005 like the DC-3? There really has never been anything quite as robust and flexible, so just like the way car enthusiasts update their old Fords and Chevys it was a no-brainer to use the DC-3 as the platform for a low cost updated aircraft.

Nothing like the roar of those old radial pistons though...I'll be sad when the day comes that you cannot hear them in the sky any more.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13044 posts, RR: 78
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6188 times:

The South African AF DC-3's also had a basic maritime patrol tasking, as well as transport, just with a surface search radar.
To replace the Shackelton aircraft, which soldiered on as long as possible after the UK refused to supply the apartheid regime with the preferred replacement Nimrods.
(And later France refused to supply Atlantiques).


User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6142 times:

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 4):
Lastly, he also put three PT6As on a DC-3 as the Tri-Turbo-Three:

I worked for Kal Aero back in the eighties and we reconstructed the Polair Triturbo DC3. I've got some photos somewhere in the archives. It had had a cockpit fire on the ramp and a crew went out to snag the front end while another crew went south to florida to snag another fuselage.

It may interest you to know that the guy who put this entire deal together was Maurice Hovious.

The triturbo components were mounted on the new fuselage along with a number of improvements and an avionics suite. My end in all this was the care and feeding of the center engine and otherwise making myself useful. One of the crew had managed to drop it on its nose ruining the propshaft.

After the work, the transformed fuselage was trucked out west and a rigger was hired with a crane to lift off the hulk of the fuselage from the wingset, and the reconstructed fuselage was mounted and secured.

It was test flown and subsequently delivered back to Polar Research Labs, the owner at the time.


User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 6013 times:

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 4):
This was followed by the Super-Turbo-Three:

The Super Turbo DC3 looks like those are RR Darts....in addition, there's a Viscount in the background that looks like it's missiing some engines.....hmmmmmmmm....I always heard Conroy was something of a cheap charlie....he did his work in LGB did he not?


User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1606 posts, RR: 52
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5955 times:
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I think Conroy operated out of the Santa Barbara airport (SBA). Yes he operated on a shoestring - I heard a story that he did the initial Guppy conversions out in the open.

User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5894 times:

One comment that the guys made after they got home from the Polair job in Santa Barbara I alluded to was that the lazy PT6 windup definitely made for some careful planning when power was called for...there was not going to be any of that instant on like you'd get from slamming the throttles forward with a nice big R1820 or R1830.

I did not know that Conroy was involved with the Guppy. I always thought it was Aero Spacelines....any way, he was a guy who thought big.

The one who I was thinking about in LGB was Carstedt-he did the TPE331 DeHavilland Dove conversions. A/K/A Carstedt Jetliner

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;...nktext=Aero%20Spacelines%2C%20Inc.


User currently onlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29693 posts, RR: 59
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5873 times:

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 10):
Yhe SA mod is listed as having a 1m fuselage plug ahead of the wing, while the Basler mod is listed as having a 1.02m plug. The difference might be just an inaccuracy in the listing

Sounds like Basler used standard measures to engineer his airplane while the South Africans used that screwed up metric system in lengthened it by a meter. Which makes no sense, since nothing else in the rest of the aircraft is metric.

The DC-3 aircraft is a tank, but it is hard to argue that an engine that has been out of production for 30 years isn't showing it's age.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6707 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5820 times:

"BEA's RR Dart fitted DC-3's were called 'Pionair's' "

They never carried scheduled passengers on Dart DC-3s, did they? Or if they did, not for long?


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