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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:06 am 
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Awesome to see a somewhat unloved type rescued from the scrapper...

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Historic rescue aircraft to be brought to Israel

The C-46 airplane used in clandestine 1947 rescue operation of 100 Iraqi Jews salvaged from scrap yard in Argentina and will soon arrive in Israel, where it will be showcased at the Atlit Detention Camp Museum dedicated to pre-1948 immigration efforts.
A Curtiss C-46 Commando transport aircraft used in 1947's clandestine Operation Michaelberg, during which 100 Iraqi Jews were rescued and brought to then-British Mandate Palestine, will soon return to Israel after being saved from a metal scrap yard in Argentina.


During the mid-1940s, concerns grew for the fate of the Jews of Iraq, with reports of increasing persecution by their Arab neighbors. The British denied the Jewish community's petition to allow Iraqi Jews to enter Israel legally, and it was decided to mount a clandestine rescue operation and smuggle them into the country. The rescue operation was designed by the Aliyah Bet group, which operated as part of the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary organization that operated in Israel in defiance of the British Mandate.


Aliyah Bet members, some of whom would later form the Mossad, were able to purchase the aircraft and contract pilot Leo Sanberg and his co-pilot Michael, both American World War II veterans, to make two flights to Iraq. The secret operation, named for the pilots, was carried out in August and September 1947. However, later, as the majority of Jews seeking to enter Israel legally or illegally did so by sea, the plane was sold and all but forgotten.


Former Knesset speaker Shlomo Hillel, who was one of the individuals involved in Operation Michaelberg and later became, alongside Israeli businessman Meshulam Riklis, the driving force behind the preservation efforts of the Ayalon Institute -- a secret, underground Haganah bullet factory, now a museum -- recently learned of the whereabouts of the historic plane, and that its current owner had scheduled it to be scrapped.


Hillel and Riklis immediately began negotiating with the C-46's owner, with Riklis offering to finance its delivery to Israel. The negotiations were successful, and the plane is scheduled to arrive at its new home, at the Atlit Detention Camp Museum dedicated to the history of pre-1948 immigration efforts, in several weeks.


"Hillel explained to me how important this operation was to the heritage of the 'haapala' [illegal pre-state Jewish immigration], and I agreed to help raise the funds necessary to bring the plane to Israel," Riklis told Israel Hayom. "This is a worthy cause, and it is important to the history and heritage of the State of Israel. The plane will be showcased properly, as it should be."


Found it here:
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newslet ... p?id=22779

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:36 am 
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That's really fantastic news! It would be equally great to find the other C-46 which did much of the heavy lifting to get the initial batch of Avia S.199s into the country (one of the two crashed during the airlift effort), but I suspect it is long gone.

Wonderful to hear that such a significant airframe has not only survived but has been identified and will now be preserved in Israel!

Lynn


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:45 pm 
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With the exception of the three B-17s that were scrapped in the early 1960s, the Israelis / IAF have really done a commendable job in keeping and preserving their aviation heritage. I'm sure under just about any other circumstance, the C-46 in question was probably considered not worth restoring.

The IAF does acknowledge their mistake with not keeping even one of the B-17s. In Israeli circles, it was considered as colossal of a blunder as the U.S. Navy allowing CV-6 Enterprise to be scrapped. They've tried to obtain one for their collection, but there just aren't enough B-17s to go around. At one point in the late 90s, they were very close to a deal to purchase the B-17 that would eventually become the ill-fated Liberty Belle...close enough that a trans-Atlantic crossing with the original crew (then in their 70s) was planned. The deal fell through. One of the individuals that was privy to the negotiations would still, somewhat bitterly, refer to the Liberty Belle as "our airplane". They ended up with a PBY Catalina instead -- historically accurate but not as significant as a B-17.

At least the IAF learned from their mistake. The U.S. Navy, at this point, seems to be intent on repeating their mistakes, letting all kinds of treasures slip away.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:32 pm 
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Any guesses as to the ID of this C-46? "Scrapyard in Argentina" might narrow it down.
SaxMan wrote:
The IAF does acknowledge their mistake with not keeping even one of the B-17s. They've tried to obtain one for their collection, but there just aren't enough B-17s to go around.

Have they tried to get one of the USAF's outdoor displays? Made an offer on Lacey Lady? The one in storage in Brazil? Any of the ones in England or France? They did try to get the E model that went to Paul Allen, but that fell through as well. Money talks...

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:34 pm 
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Chris Brame wrote:
Any guesses as to the ID of this C-46? "Scrapyard in Argentina" might narrow it down.
SaxMan wrote:
The IAF does acknowledge their mistake with not keeping even one of the B-17s. They've tried to obtain one for their collection, but there just aren't enough B-17s to go around.

Have they tried to get one of the USAF's outdoor displays? Made an offer on Lacey Lady? The one in storage in Brazil? Any of the ones in England or France? They did try to get the E model that went to Paul Allen, but that fell through as well. Money talks...


It's been some time since I heard from my acquaintance in Israel, Zvi Avidror. He's probably pushing about 90 or more now. Real interesting guy. He was born in Palestine, served with the Royal Navy as an air gunner during World War II. Fought with the ground forces during the 1948 war, was wounded twice, once seriously. After the war, he joins the IAF and becomes one of the first graduates of the Israeli gunners school, and served on the B-17s during the early to mid 1950s. I believe he saw service in the '56 war, and was a reservist during the '67 and '73 wars. He was instrumental in founding the 69 Squadron Association, the squadron that flew the B-17s (and later Phantoms and F-15 Strike Eagles). He also published a book on 69 Squadron's history. It is probably the definitive account of the B-17s in Israeli service.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:19 am 
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How will the C-46 be returned to Israel ? Presumably as deck cargo on a freighter... or will there be an attempt to fly back???

www.fuselagecodes.com


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:48 am 
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jdvoss wrote:
How will the C-46 be returned to Israel ? Presumably as deck cargo on a freighter... or will there be an attempt to fly back???

http://www.fuselagecodes.com


Is their an ID on the airframe? Any pictures of it?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:48 am 
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DELETE Double post

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:28 pm 
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LQ-IYV c/n 30391?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:19 pm 
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Regarding our B-17 the Lacey Lady. It is not for sale or trade, in fact it is currently under restoration to airworthy. No the Israeli museum has not contacted us, but as I said she is not for sale or trade.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:59 pm 
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I'm sure you aren't selling, but it is interesting to know you weren't contacted - usually if some organization wants something as hard to get as a B-17, they'll ask everyone who has one.
And if I didn't say it before, congrats on getting the Lady into a nice cozy hangar! I don't envy you the task of getting rid of the wasps...

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:00 am 
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I will be more than happy if one of the following C-46 is the one which will be brought to Israel,Or shell I write BROUGHT BACK,Because these two are the last survivors of the IAF Air Transport Group's C-46 fleet of 1948 ( I am not sure about their current condition):

MSN 26805 USAAF 42-3672 Last operator LAO COLOMBIA as HK791
MSN 261 USAAF 43-47190 Last operator AMSA as HI-495SP.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:40 am 
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Think I found it:
Joe Baugher wrote:
(43-)47190 (c/n 261, line no. CK238) surplused to RFC at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas Nov 16, 1945. Bought later in Nov 1945 by Howard J. Korth. Sold to Transportes Aereos Centro Americano (TACA), registered as YS-01C Dec 15, 1945. Then to F. A. Conner in 1947 as N75393. Bought by a Hagganah front company and marked with spurious Lineas Aeras Panamenas SA (LAPSA) markings with fake registration RX-130 and flown to Israel as CU-T540. LAPSA was a "paper" Panamanian company that served as a clandestine conduit to Israel for planes refurbished by Zionist activists. Operated by Israeli AF as RX-130 for a time, then as 1701. While transporting cargo from Czechoslovakia to Ekron in Israel forced landed in Rhodes, Greece and was impounded until end of war of independence. Then to El Al Airlines as 4X-ACB,
later 4X-ALB. Then to American Air Export and Import Company (AAXICO) as N75393 Jul 27, 1955. Transferred Sep 1, 1955 to Howard J. And Geraldine F. Korth. Leased to TACA (Transportes Aereos Centro Americano, of El Salvador) as YS-35 Dec 1955. Bought by TACA Mar 19, 1956. In 1970 bought by Aeromar Airlines as HI-196. In 1978 bought by Aerolinas Argo. April 1987 bought by Aerolineas Mundo as HI-495CT. Bought by Cargo Aereas Dominicana and registered as HI-495SP. Aerolineas Mundo bought in 1990 as HI-495CT. WFU 1994 and stored at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Current status unknown.

Trouble is, how did it get to Argentina? I checked this blog: http://aerospotter.blogspot.com/2011/01 ... ntina.html but there seems to be only one C-46 left there - the aforementioned LQ-IYV - but it doesn't seem to have any Israeli connection. Hmmm...

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:53 am 
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Sounds to me like 'Argentina' may be a red herring, since the machine looks like the right one and it makes no sense that it moved all that way as a derelict.

Sadly too many of these vague stories doing the rounds, which I suppose is why folks waste their time taking holidays in Burma, Nikumaroro Atoll etc.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:20 am 
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I Just heard that the C-46 is to arrive from Haiti,Although it will take about 6 Months.
IAW Propliners survivors,2 are STD @ Port Au Prince. HH-AHA (MSN 26496) & HH-AHD (MSN 30454).
Any thoughts/current pics?
Avi


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