Paul Filmer's 2009 blogGAR Entries

NOV 15 2009

The first aircraft that jumped out at me as I drove up the main drag to the airport entrance was a pair of Russian built An-12s. These are really not the type of aircraft youíd expect to find at an American airfield but the surprises didnít stop there. There were also four An-26Bs and an An-24RV parked up. Youíd be hard pressed these days to find this amount of Antonovs anywhere except Russia, and even there these aircraft are becoming hard to find.

The two An-12s and three of the An-26s belong to AviaLeasing and, like all the other Russian machines here, have been used for services to the Caribbean.

The fourth An-26, N5057E, is an aircraft that I last saw being used by the USAFís 6th SOS out of Hurlburt Field, FL when I visited the base in 2007. It still sports its comical question mark roundel on the tail. It was well tied down and lacking pressure in the nose strut so may have been here for some time.

The final Russian transport on the field when I visited was an immaculate An-24RV belonging to Med Air.

The most numerous aircraft type was the ubiquitous DC-3 with seven airframes present - three of these were the Super Dak or C-117 mark with only the ex-Millardair example un-airworthy with no engines. The other two looked to be in really good condition.

Of the "normal" DC-3s there was a Venezuelan example (YV-1854) that used to be parked at Fort Lauderdale Executive plus N140JR that was the unfortunate victim of a past hurricane.

Four Convair twins were also present as well as three amphibians in the form of a pair of HU-16 Albatross and a Grumman G-21A Goose.

Apart from the older prop aircraft that I came to see there were also some of the older generation jets scattered around. By far the sorriest looking was the Air Lib Express DC-10-30 with all sorts of panels and control surfaces missing.

S2-AEK is a DC-8-61(F) and is painted in a rather unusual light blue colour scheme that I don't recognise. This aircraft however was used in the past by such airlines as Eastern Airlines, CTA (Spain), Sudan Airways and Fine Air. It still looked to be in pretty decent condition, although in these recession ridden days, its future must be in doubt.

Last but by no means least was an absolutely immaculate Mexican Air Force Boeing 727-200, fresh out of one of the hangars after being worked on, and Iím not sure Iíve ever seen a 727 this clean. This example has spent most of its life in Mexico as it flew with Mexicana previously.

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