02/28/2011. Remarks by Jack McKillop: "This Douglas Model DC-3-253 was ordered by the USAAC on June 2, 1938 as the sole C-41, s/n 38-502. It was delivered to the USAAC on October 22, 1938 and assigned to the 1st Staff Squadron at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. as a staff transport for Major General Henry H. 'Hap' Arnold, Chief of the Air Corps.
The DC-2 was developed into the military cargo version, the C-33. From that was developed the C-39, combining the DC-2/C-33 fuselage and wings
with the DC-3 center-section, tail unit and landing gear. The sole C-41 was similar to the C-39, but powered by two 1,200 hp
Pratt & Whitney R-1830-21 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder, two row, air-cooled radial engines.
Declared surplus, it was transferred to the Reconstruction Finance Corp. on April 16, 1945 at Bush Field, August, Georgia. It was loaned to the
US airline Alaska Airlines of Seattle, Washington by the Defense Plan Corporation (DPC) in April 1945 and registered as DC-3A NC15473. It was
returned to the DPC in 1948 for disposal and was transferred to the Civil Aeronautical Authority (CAA, renamed FAA, Federal Aviation Administration
in 1958) on 12 Apr 1948 and re-registered as NC12.
In the late 1950s NC12 was configured as a Type II DC-3C and thus fitted with the 1,350 hp R-1830-94 engines and re-registered N43 on
March 4, 1973. Its career with FAA service continued through 1974, primarily as a facility flight inspection aircraft with the FAA's Central
Region. Declared surplus in 1977, it was released on August 8, 1977 with 24,811 flight hours to the General Services Administration (GSA) and
the registration cancelled.
Given its historic significance, the aircraft was originally slated for the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio on its withdrawal from FAA
service. However, it was transferred into the civil fleet through the GSA to Southern Missouri State University at Cape Girardeau, Missouri on
February 15, 1978 for use in university transport, and re-registered N54595 on April 5, 1978. In 1987, it was seen stored at Montgomery Field
Airport, San Diego, California in Southwest International Airways colors as N54595.
The aircraft was sold to Red Aircraft Sales of Jenks, Oklahoma
on May 10, 1985 and hastily resold again on May 22, to Condor Aviation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who sold it to Trans Ocean Airways of McAllen, Texas on
June 27, 1985. Trans Ocean wanted to use this aircraft on the smuggling trade routes to Mexico but the demand fell through because of the change
in tariffs and devaluation of the pesos.
It was offered for sale due to its historical significance and on March 15, 1989 it was bought by Bill
Celli Leasing Company of Lafayette, California who, in turn, leased the aircraft to the Otis Spunkmeyer Company for operations with its Sentimental
Journeys aviation fleet based at the Oakland, California airport.
The aircraft was ferried from San Diego to Oakland in March 1989, still painted in the FAA red, white and black with fictitious Southwest
International Airways markings on the fuselage. The aircraft was refurbished to its 1941 USAAF markings and re-registered NC41HQ in May 1994.
The aircraft was purchased by Next Century Aviation, Inc. of Sausalito, California on April 27, 1999 and as of this day, they still own it."