Scratch-built 1/8 Douglas C-47, FAC 1123, Satena
By Andrés Acuña
About the C-47
Undoubtedly, one of the most important milestone of civil and military aviation is the the octogenarian Douglas DC-3 / C-47. And in Colombia´s transport history it has not been the exception.
Eighty five years later, those planes are still flying over Colombian territories. There are still flocks of herons that, in the midst of the thickness of the Amazon jungle, startle each time the engines of those Skyhorses roar as they pass by. Reckless pilots and excellently maintained aircraft still make possible what no other means of transport has been able to more efficiently in these remote regions of Colombia: commercial exchange and passenger transport.
About the Model
The model is built mostly with balsa wood, as well as polystyrene sheets and is completely covered with aluminum tape. The wingspan is 3,6 meters; length, 2,5. The flaps are in down position, giving the model a restful attitude. The cargo bay door is open in order to see the completely detailed interior, including the cockpit. The engines represent two Pratt & Whitney R-1830, each of 14 cylinders, in double line.
The model blueprints were designed and drawn by Mr Sturla Snorrason, well known scale modeller of Reyjavik, Iceland, who also provided the fine detailed landing gears (rcsturladesign.com).
The fuselage, once finished, took to move it through the window of the room where it was constructed, because by its dimensions it was impossible to get it out by the door. The moving from the finished fuselage towards its final destination in the Fénix Air Museum, put the anecdotal mark. This was possible thanks to the support of my best friend and modeling coach Edward Fuquay, and Eduardo Valencia, Representative of the firm FallTech for Latin America, who not only accompanied us with his experience working at heights, but also he made available the necessary equipment to secure the landing of a C-47, which for the first time would land without wings and in reverse, without any setback.
The finished fuselage rested a few months in the Museum, waiting for its wings. It was perennial that the fuselage came out, in order to have enough space to make the wings. In truth, this is a very large scale model.
Already at the Museum, the FAC 1123 received its finished wings to be displayed together with a Stearman PT-17 and a North American Texan AT-6, scale models of the training planes that flew from the mid-forties until the end of the sixties, at the Marco Fidel Suárez Military Aviation Academy, in Cali.
In this way the Fénix Air Museum pays tribute with these models not only to the Colombian Aviation History, but also to those courageous men who wrote it flying through our skies in their glorious machines.
On the morning of March 9th, Saturday, while we were installing the wings to the model of FAC 1123,at the Museo Aéreo Fénix, the HK 2494, DC-3 of Laser Aéreo, was flying over the Eastern Plains zone of Colombia, to end in a fatal accident.
The aircraft took off from Taraira in Vaupés at 6:00 local time with 4 passengers and its crew. During the flight they landed in Miraflores de Guaviare at 8:00 local time, due to bad weather conditions.
Later they took off at 8:10 local time. The aircraft made its connection with Jorge Enrique González Airport in San José del Guaviare at 8:53 local time. There they boarded two passengers on the aircraft.
The HK2494 took off from San José del Guaviare towards its route to Villavicencio at 9:54 local time. It was not long before it landed when they reported to the Control Tower of the Villavicencio Airport that there was a fault in its engines, so it had to land in a place nearby.
The aircraft lost contact at 10:40 local time entered in a dive against a flat area of the sector of the Vereda, La Bendición, in San Martín Meta. The plane split in two, catching fire and causing death to 14 people who were on board.
© Andrés F. Acuña 2019
This article was published on Saturday, March 30 2019; Last modified on Thursday, April 04 2019