Piedmont Airlines N56V DC-3
Date: February 23, 2002 09:28PM
This DC-3 was manufactured as a C-53 by Douglass Aircraft Company on March 20,1942. The C-53 was a version of the DC-3 with a Maximum Gross Weight of 29,300 pounds. The serial number is 4900 and air corps number 41-20130. During World War II the aircraft remained in the United States and on January 10,1945 was returned to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. It later went to Western Airlines and was registered as NC18600.
On January 12, 1956, Piedmont Airlines acquired NC18600 and name it the Potomac Pacemaker and reregistered it as N56V. It was the last DC-3 operated by Piedmont Airlines. Following it’s Piedmont service the airplane became the property of Charlotte Aircraft Company in Charlotte, North Carolina on February 20, 1965. When it retired from Piedmont in 1963, it has logged 48,000 hours of service. It remained in Charlotte for many years and eventually became a derelict.
In 1978, Mr. **** Wescott obtained the remains for The Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina. It was moved to Durham by Mr. Roy Teer and was assembled by the staff of the museum and Piedmont Employees. Piedmont provided $20,000 and technical assistance in addition to engines, propellers, rugs and miscellaneous parts to complete the static display in 1979.
Later Piedmont Airlines provided about $7,000 to repaint the aircraft. In addition some of the fabric controls have been recovered by Piedmont. Joe Fix was to help recovering them again but developed cancer and passed away.
When Piedmont Airlines obtained N46BF which became the present N44V there were no drawings to paint N44V as an original aircraft. N56V had the paint scheme as it had not been touched since it left Piedmont. Mr. Wescott restored it and Piedmont engineering made drawings of this paint scheme. These plus various photos of old Piedmont aircraft were used to paint N44V.
Later when N44V needed a radome the nose cone of N56V was used to make a mold so a radome could be made for N44V.
The aircraft is still on display at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina.