3-01..R4D buno 17221 has found a very nice
I understand LC47H Buno 17221 is now on display in the Christchurch Antarctic museum. Paul Panehal is the real historian as well as a fine radioman. Back in those days Paul and the other crewmembers always looked sharp. He and Ratliff were two sharp looking sailors.
They made me proud! Ray Berger
Hello out there I just found your website and hope I can use it to the advantage of BuNo17221...
I am Denys Jones Secretary of the Ferrymead Aeronautical Society and we are the custodians of 17221 on behalf of the City of Christchurch. We are a small band (hey aren't all volunteer groups) and we have just just about finished the hangar to house the old girl. Visit our corporate website www.ferrymead.co.nz and you'll find links to some now somewhat dated pix.
However the real thing is now we've got the girl under cover we are mapping our the restoration and of course that means we need dollars. Are there any old VXE-6ers out there who would like to get in on the project as fundraisers etc. We are a fully registered NZ Charity so everything is protected and above board. You can get to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Happy Landings...
Hi David thanks for yours and the other guys inputs over the last week. Great stuff and just what we want. Sure looking forward to getting Paul's pix. It's going to be a tough call as we are all pretty keen to redisplay the Kool Kiwi and had all pretty much agreed we would put the Yankee Tiki on the Stbd but now a third logo and name that'll phase the troops! I've attached some pix which show the story of the hangar for the old girl.
We got the roof structure of a British WW2 "Blister" hangar from the main brewery here in CHCH. They had acquired it in the late 1940s from some character who imported numerous of them (you can see them from Auckland in the north to Queenstown in the south). So with no cash but just a will we poured a slab, towed 17221 up onto it, put her up on axle stands and then built her in. The aerial shot is from November 2000 and you can see evidence of the foundations and floor of another building. This is a hangar for our Vickers
Viscount "City of Christchurch" and we are due to erect this in 2
weeks time. Thus we will have the two birds in their coops for winter. We aim to
have the public opening of the Viscount in spring (ours). 17221 will take a bit
Just the week we have been approached by a group who are recovering Admr Byrd's Fokker Universal from the ice and they have asked if it can come and join 17221. The other things we are keen to pursue are a chopper of the right period for 17221 and also the Connie down at Pegasus field.
Here is 221 being towed to Ferrymead via downtown Christchurch...
Keep in touch I think we can really get this thing on a roll. I did a spot on a local TV station last night using the old girl as backdrop.
Denys and Catherine
Ed note: Denys is Welch spelling for Dennis
Welcome to our pages Denys and Catherine....
Denys: We have next door neighbors on the DF net who are into saving a
Hercules from Deep Freeze days and since you two are in the same biz then why
not write to Jim O'Connell @ Old Antarctic Explorers Association email@example.com
and swap comms and links
Hawking from cyber space, this is Deep Freeze Dave..
' DF DF DF'...
Duty Free Deep Freeze Direction Finder........ We hyperlink 24/7... ( free )
From: Paul Panehal.... 3-01
I was first assigned to 17221 by ATC Glenn Hunt, our avionics shop chief
in late December 1965 and started flying crew training flights in March 1966
after the VX-6 returned to NAS Quonset Point RI. It would be October
before we would fly as a crew on 17221. Up to that time, we all flew on various
aircraft filling in for other regular crewmen. I had flow as a trainee
radioman on C-121J, LC-47, LC-117, and In-Flight technician on LC-130F aircraft,
and performed repair of all avionic systems in those aircraft.
In February 1966, 17221 was sent to Christchurch to have it's wing root bolts replaced and other structural work by National Airways Corporation at the Harewood Airport in Christchurch. Jim Wright ADR2 and I (Paul K. Panehal ATN2) returned to Christchurch on the mid-winter flight from the U.S. to N.Z on a VX-6 LC-130F piloted by CDR. M.E. Morris. I believe it was June or July 1966. Jim and I were sent to accept the aircraft from NAC, and prepare the aircraft for the flight to the Antarctic (projected for early November 1966, as soon as #092 LC-117 arrived from the U.S. - Jimmy Clark ATR2 was the radioman on that aircraft). Some of the preparations Jim Wright and I performed were installing the two 450 U.S. gallon and one 200 U.S. gallon fuel tanks inside the fuselage, tuning the engines, repairing and peaking up all the electrical and electronics equipment. Not to mention waxing the aircraft to gain a few extra knots flying speed. After the aircraft was assigned to VX-6 Det. Ch-Ch the waxing was almost a weekly routine. Waxing that aircraft was a passion with Chuck Ratliff, much like most folks waxing their car.
17221 made a number of flights in and around Christchurch and Invercargill, piloted by Lcdr. Ray E. Berger and a Lt. from RNZAF Base Wigram. He was a delight to know and fly with. Lcdr Berger was the Officer in Charge of the VX-6 Detachment Christchurch. His det consisted of 9 enlisted personnel whose skills were required to maintain and replenish the equipment and spaces after the squadron departed for the U.S. These folks were hand picked to serve a three year assignment in Christchurch.
During these days before the squadron came down, we were kept very busy ferrying JATO bottles and provisions to the Invercargille Airport, which we stored in the firehouse. Our temporary crew had many interesting flights during that period, which I will not address at this point.
After our regular crewmates arrived in NZ, we flew quite a number of crew training and familiarization flights getting ready for our flight to the Ice. The LC-117 #092 arrived in early November and both our aircraft launches were held off due to bad weather between NZ and the Antarctic. We did make some false starts, preparing the aircraft, flying to Invercargille, loading fuel, provisions, and JATO, only to return to Christchurch. On Thanksgiving Day Jim and I were informed our aircraft was scrubbed from the launch to the Ice and the LC-117 was launched. We were told the choice was made to send #092 as it had slightly better engines and had a better chance of making the trip. Some of our friends in VX-6, hearing of the schedule for a LC-47 and a LC-117 flying to the Ice that year, dubbed our scheduled flight as the "Great Goony Bird Race". As it turned out only the LC-117 participated in the race. This left the question with many, concerning the caption under the cruise book picture of the arrival of #092 on December 2nd 1966, dealing with the Goony Bird Race.
Jim and I flew 17221 until the end of the 1966 season (February 1967). I was the sole radioman assigned and flew on all but one flight, during that period. There were two flight engineers (or plane captains as they were reffered to back then) attached to Lcdr. Berger's VX-6 Detachment Christchurch, Earl Rudder ADR1 and ARD2 Chuck Ratliff. These two swapped off with Jim as PC on 17221 between December 1966 and February 1967.
I returned with the squadron to NAS Quonset Point in February 1967. In May I was informed that I had been selected to be the independent duty electronics technician for VX-6 Det. Christchurch and continue flying as radioman on 17221. I arrived back in NZ in July and assumed my position as radioman on 17221 with Lcdr. Berger as Pilot, and Earl and Chuck swapping off as PC.
Again our copilot was the young Lt. from RNZAF Base Wigram. This crew had total care and custody of 17221 until they departed the Det with new orders and no one relieved them. When Lcdr. Berger left 17221 became a sad static display item. I remember standing in front of 17221, with the VX-6 Det Ch-Ch and other Deep Freeze Det personnel in late 1968 or 1969, as the last of the 17221 crew witnessing the turn over of the aircraft. Ambassador Henning turned the aircraft over to the NZ Prime Minister (I believe it was his representative), and he turned the aircraft over to the Mayor of Christchurch, who turned it over to Ferrymead Transportation Museum. (I believe I have the names of those dignitaries, somewhere.)
Ray, Chuck, Earl, Jim, and I can attest to many flights and adventures we had flying on that fine bird. And guys, feel free to jump in correct and supplement the above information. This is just, sort of an overview. There are sufficient stories concerning this aircraft and crews to fill a book.
This is a rough timeline dealing with this bird.
1963/64 to Jan. 1966 Assigned to VX-6 on the Ice Side number JD 14
Navy Buno. 17221 Type LC-47H
Nose Art A Goose with a long neck
Aircraft Name "Mutha Goose"
Art at the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) exhaust on the port side of the aircraft just aft of the cargo doors: The back side of the goose, looking over his shoulder, with the exhaust opening appropriately placed.
Pictures are available. Some of our group have pictures of this plane's art while the aircraft is in flight. I have pictures of it on the line at Williams Field Antarctica. About five miles North of McMurdo Station on the Ross Ice Shelf.
Dec. 1965 Assigned crew for 17221 (until November 1966)
Pilot Lcdr. Stanley W. Jones (nicknames: "Zorro" and "South West Jones")
Copilot Lt. S. J. Wegert
Navigator Lt. N. C. Shannon (or Shanahan?) His position was across the table from mine. Made it very easy to pass his position reports to me for transmission.
Plane Captain Jim K. Wright (great mechanic and he seemed to create very interesting stories for others to tell concerning his adventures on liberty.)
Flight Radioman Paul K. Panehal
Jan. 1966 Artwork was removed prior to leaving the Ice - considered not appropriate for public display
Feb. 1966 Returned to Christchurch for rework
Jun/July 1966 Jim Wright and I came up with two names and designs Puckered Pete and a picture of a penguin on skis, and the Kool KiWi with a Kiwi on Skis, while we were staying at the White Heron (affectionately known as the "Dirty Duck" by VX-6 personnel). The "Kool Kiwi" was picked and used as the nose art. Lcdr. Berger had a small Kiwi bird painted just aft of the nose radome seal, port side, at a point about midway from top to bottom. It was accompanied by the words "It ain't no big thing". A favorite saying of the commander.
Still Assigned to VX-6 on the Ice
Side number JD 4 (changed to shorten call in NZ, but would have been renumbered to JD 14 in the Ice, one of the helos on the Ice already used the JD 4 side number)
Navy Buno. 17221
Nose Art A Kiwi on skis, and a small Kiwi lower and at the radome seal line
Aircraft Name "Kool Kiwi"
Dec.1966-69 Pilot Lcdr. Ray E Berger
Copilot Lt. (unkn) RNZAF from Wigram
Plane Captain ADR1 Earl Rudder
Plane Captain ADR2 Chuck Ratliff
Flight Radioman AT1 Paul K. Panehal
Late 1969 just before the aircraft was transferred to NZ the nose art, aircraft name and crew names were changed. The aircraft was to be a silent memorial to our close friends who died in an LC-47 in Feb 1966.
Late 1969 Navy Buno. 17221
Nose Art A Green Tiki
Aircraft Name "Yankee Tiki Au Te Hau" (loosely translated to: Yankee good luck charm of the air)
Memorial Crew names:
Pilot Lt. H. M. Morris
Copilot Lt. W. D. Fordell
Navigator Lcdr. Ronald Rosenthal
Plane Captain ADR3 C.C. Kelly
Plane Captain ADR3 Wayne M. Shattuck (was only along for the flight time)
Flight Radioman AT1 Richard S. Simmons (a very close friend of mind - we spent the night previous before the accident studying for a rating exam)
In my storage boxes I have many pictures (slides) of 17221 from all points and with the various nose and tail art. Some of which I shared with our group a couple of years ago. When I get time to get organized, I will catalog my "stuff" consisting of a few thousand slides and photos from the Ice and NZ from 1965 to 1970.
Say Ray, do you remember the fly-over the aircraft carrier USS America when it was in Wellington Harbor and the Press photographers wanted you to fly lower and lower so they could get a good picture of the ship. Not realizing how high the ships antenna towers extend above the ship. Or Chuck trying to keep them back from the rear hatch, until he could get a safety harness on them. How about those flights to Wellington to take the squadron Marines to their Ball. Or the squadron baseball team to Invercargill. Or the VIP trip to the Manipouri power Project? Or flying chauffer for the U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk's support personnel? Or the trip to Dunedin when you and the passenger had business in the city and Chuck and I decided to stay with the plane - then ten minutes after you folks left in the cab, we decided to walk into Dunedin to look around, and didn't have a cent between us? Yes, if that good ole bird could talk, it would have some interesting tales to tell.
The Electric stove, source of many pots of black coffee and a number of dinners. It operated off the 28 VDC power bus. It may have had a sub-bus of its own. It drew lots of current. It was behind (aft) of the Navigator's wall and in the main cabin area. As a matter of fact it was on the opposite side from the radar shelf.
Gotta have JATO bottles (15). I know where there are quite a few. About 14 years worth, I would guess. Probably some there from the first DF flights in the mid fifties. But, seriously the best source is the NYANG in Ch-Ch. They might be able to fly some expended ones back from the Ice. Just make sure they ARE expended. A live one could ruin someone's day. Ask the crew from 148321, what damage can be caused from a live, unanchored JATO bottle and how long it takes to expire. Definitely not a fun item. But, a necessity for an authentic display. Including the skis. Yes Ray, I do believe you are right, those appeared to be skis inside.
I also seem to remember acquiring and wiring up speakers in the main cabin so we could send local music back to the passengers. I am sure if we had a longer tour with 17221, we could have done more than glue a rug to sheet metal and screw it over the corrugated deck in 17221. Although, the table, curtains and C-121 seats were better than the long troop seats along both bulkheads from the front of the cabin to the rear door.
I just hear Maurice Chevalier (sp?) say in my minds ear - "Ah yes, She was a wonderful girl". I have been thinking much about 17221...
Later, my good friends, Paul
Ray, feel free to add in and correct information. I am running from memory as I don't have time to search through all my stuff just now. Most of this information, I have passed before to other interested OAEs, and I didn't get too much flack. But, this is perhaps more than I had passed to Dave, a few years ago @ www.radiocom.net/vx6 .
As Ray mentioned, we had experienced an emotional, almost reverent reunion with 17221. We spent an awful lot of time with her and have an attachment to her. I am pleased that someone is interested in saving this bit of history for future generations. I will be pleased to help in any way possible.
An after thought. The pictures of 17221 which appear in books concerning the LC-47/C-47/DC-3/R4D aircraft were take by a Kiwi who worked at NAC and had visited the aircraft when Chuck and I were changing plugs and waxing the bird. It was parked on the grass near the left of the wash rack. I remember him clearly as he asked if it was ok to take pictures of her. It is sad that so many of the captions and information concerning 17221 in those books, was contrived. Most likely some publisher or editor trying to increase interest in the aircraft, while actually knowing so little.
From: Ray Berger
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2001 2:59 PM
To: Catherine Coulter / Denys Jones
Cc: Paul K. Panehal
Subject: Re: 17221
I am surprised that there were names on the bird, because it did not belong exclusively to one crew. My crew consisted of myself, ADR2 Earl Rudder, ADR2 Charles Ratliff, and ATN2 Paul Panehal with CDR Johnson Deep Freeze headquarters or a young Kiwi RNZAF Lt as co-pilot.Wish you had some paperwork showing his name. I don't recall names painted on it while I was there. We flew it exclusively during the Austral winter but during the Austral summer, many VX6 pilots flew it on administrative flights. It was considered to be the Admirals plane and the crew kept it in mint condition including waxing the entire plane. It was a beauty. We carried the Admiral to many functions in NZ. On one occasion we even carried the US Ambassador to NZ from Invercargill to Wellington. If you look under the pilots window, there should be a bracket (unless they have been removed) to hold a plate with 2 stars, which I have and may donate to the society. We noticed the need for corrosion control on the cowlings, but I think they are too far gone for that. You should hear from Paul soon. He has the entire history of 17221.
All the Best, Ray
And who would have thought our beloved "Puckered Pete" would be replaced by a pirates head and the term 'Ice Pirates'? Are we a living legend, or what? PKP
See Ferrymead page...
This is 17221 "BC" (Before Christchurch). Notice the South end of a North bound Goose on the empennage, with the APU exhaust pipe in an appropriate place on the goose. He is looking back over his shoulder, at the observer (us). Under the cockpit, on a banner it states "Mutha Goose". And as you can see the Goose is "movin' on" in the nose art. I wish I had a better shot of the nose art and the crew list. I believe the nose and tail art were removed on the Ice prior to its flight to Ch-Ch in 66. I have some real nice pictures of 17221 from the time it arrived in Ch-Ch in late Jan/early Feb 66 just a few days after I got off the USNS Wyandotte trip from the Ice. (That was the longest rolling coaster ride I was ever on!) Until the aircraft was given to NZ in 69.
The last flight to the Ice was an LC-117, which had been flown down from Quonset with Jimmy Clark AT2 as radio. They arrived about the first of December 1966. I was on LC-47H 17221 as radio. Both aircraft were scheduled to fly to the Ice together (co SAR for each other).
Jim Wright and I came down to Ch-Ch with the win-fly in May/June 66 to receive our aircraft back from NAC. After our acceptance flights and tests (another story) of 17221, we started flying round-robin flights to Invercargill to build up the survival gear, food, and LOTs of JATO, for the flights South. The Goonies could load 15 JATO bottles under the fuselage, starting near the main wing joints in two banks (8 and 7). We stored all the stuff at the Invercargill Airport Fire Department. That must have been the biggest secret in the town, as nothing was ever missing during our periodic inventory flights. What is surprising today, about the airport was its security to the field. They had a few turnstiles attached to three foot fences. You could walk on the runway and use the restrooms day or night, I don't ever remember them being locked. During those days most people were very trusting.
The LC-117 arrived during mid November and we started waiting for the weather to break between Invercargill and McMurdo. The LC-117 flew to Invercargill to wait, while we waited in Ch-Ch. The weather didn't seem to be getting much better and the AGs (weather guessers) forecast was bleak. The best weather was forecast for the week following Thanksgiving '66. It was determined the best weather would be marginal at best for the LC-117. The LC-117 had slightly better engines than the 47. So the decision was made on Thanksgiving Day that the LC-117 would attempt the flight and 17221 would remain in Ch-Ch.
After the successful and celebrated flight to the Ice, the LC-117 crew continued to make flights on the Ice. At the end of the 66-67 season the remaining LC-47/117s on the Ice were boxed up and shipped back to the US. I am sure there is a number of Gonnies which still reside on the Ice, especially at LA where it was said there were a number of different aircraft left buried under the snow.
Jim Wright and I were really disappointed at having our flight scrubbed, as we started back-shipping to Ch-Ch the excess stores, we previously moved to Invercargill. Our last back load was a heavy one, mostly crated JATO. We then loaded excess JATO bottles under 17221 and made a JATO take off. Jim and I flew 17221 for the remainder of the season, until he was picked up on the Connie crew at Quonset and I received PCS orders to go back to Ch-Ch Det. and LC-47H 17221 as radioman. I arrived in Ch-Ch July 67 to continue my adventure with 17221 and VX-6.
I found these pictures in a booklet called C-47 Skytrain in Action by Larry Davis, a Squadron/Signal Publications #149, during my recent trip to Redstone Arsenal AL (yes RD, that's an Army base).
It is always nice to see our beloved aircraft preserved on hard copy. The only thing which tightens my jaw is to read a totally inaccurate or inappropriate caption.
For instance: of the two pictures of the Kool Kiwi 17221 one indicates it is a "LC-47H" which it is. In another it is called a "LC-47M". Not very good for a publication dedicated to C-47s. As you will read the Kool Kiwi was equipped with "The enlarged radome (which) housed a search radar to locate and track incoming missiles and payloads for NASA. (submitted by Jim Sullivan). We flew on 17221 on the Ice when it was the "Mutha Goose" and in Ch-Ch as the "Kool Kiwi" and "Yankee Tiki...". For three years I flew as radioman on her, I don't remember working for NASA or tracking incoming missiles. And I 'owned' the radar at the radio position. The old APS-42 was relatively good for identifying land mass, mountains, and weather formations but, missiles - now really. Now the APN-59B used in the LC-130F aircraft was a fine radar system.
The fellow under the aircraft is Paul Panehal, Chuck Ratliff was on the other wing - we were 'waxing' the bird. Chuck would swear the plane would fly 5 kts faster when waxed. I believed it did. If nothing else it looked sharp. That was one babied aircraft from June 67 to late 69. The fellow who took the picture came up and asked permission and said he worked for NAC and had seen the aircraft when it was in their hangar from Feb to May 66 having the wings inspected bolts replaced. Some of the crew were: 1966 - Dec 66 Pilot Lcdr Stan (Zorro) Jones, CP Lcdr (slips my mind), Nav Lt. Shanahan (I believe - as the Nav didn't fly with us very much - a couple of fam hops to Invercargil), Radio Paul Panehal ATN2, and FE/PC Jim Wright ADR2. 1966 Dec - late 69 (turn over) Pilot Lcdr Ray Berger, CP (any free Lt. from RNZAF Wigram or VX-6 flyer looking for time or sightsee), No Nav, Radio Paul Panehal AT1, FE/PC Earl Rudder ADR1/ASC and Chuck Ratliff ARD2. Need to dig through my 'stuff' to find my logs and pix.
The picture of the R4D-8L (C-117) is interesting. If you look closely you will see "wheel well doors" and an "air intake" for the oil cooler under the engine. The picture (original) does not indicate a "JD" or "XD" on the tail. Although it is modified with and APS-42 radome nose, a number "7" and apparently a "Puckered Pete" on a white shield. The caption indicates "It has an extended nose radome housing a weather avoidance radar". I always thought the APS-42 was search radar - must go back in time and change all the maintenance manuals. Sure wish it was a better day for taking pictures. It would be nice to know the Buno. The photo was taken by Don Garrett Jr.
I would sure like to build a library of pictures of all the VX/VXE-6 aircraft. Someone sent me some pictures of 17221 as the "Mutha Goose" 1963-65, on the ground and flying. Some how they have come up missing. Could someone resend them in high resolution to me. I would sure appreciate it.
Paul K. Panehal
"O", "I", & "Fly"
ATN - Flight Radio
LC-47H "Kool Kiwi" 17221