My opinions, my thoughts, my tribute and my memories of PAM and
only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3"
A resource for students and educators across the
Share the experience of flight, by offering rides in one of the most famous airliners of all time.
To gain the interest of youths and aid in their quest of aeronautical study.
To pass along the knowledge and experience of those who have spent years flying and maintaining the DC-3.
Picture of me below taken during 763A flight in 1998.
The following is a 'complete' history about this particular DC-3.
(I wrote the below history article in 1996).
This Aircraft was one of 219 military
C-53's (equivalent to the DC-3A) built by Douglas Aircraft at the
Southern Airways purchased the aircraft
in 1949 for it's southeastern
After Coffield's death in 1983, the plane
was transferred to Tradewinds Aircraft Sales, who sold the aircraft to the
Below- Final approach in 763A - 1997
Let’s talk about why I am writing this
article please. Obviously I am frustrated and
upset to see our DC-3 leave PAM. Why you may ask?
1996, I first joined PAM on my wedding
anniversary at the time and first got to fly on 763A in 1997. I was able to get
my family members to join PAM and become members. The whole story of that
wonderful day is HERE
– please read.
Later again in 1997, I flew on 763A for the
second time, this was my chance to invite a lot of friends to become PAM
members. The story of that day is HERE
– please read.
Below, two pictures, 1997, members I got signed
up for PAM, and a flight on our DC-3, that’s me on the far right in pic number
1 and second from right in pic number 2.
Romine & Norm Wingler in 1997 below
Below three pictures - Oh my, 1997, I looked so
much younger then!
is a picture I took in 1998 on the airshow circuit with 763A, Clyde Zellers was
flying in formation with us on the way back to BMI from a
Wisconsin Airshow in his US Navy SNJ.
picture below, 1998 our 763A with an unpainted rudder.
I was initially approached in Oshkosh
by PAM board director at
the time Dave Kiem at the 1996 airshow who knew of my DC-3 internet site (it was
the largest DC-3 site on the net way back then too). He told me to my surprise
that there was a DC-3 close to where I live (yes, even a 3 hour drive to a DC-3
is close to me). PAM was not too well advertised back then, it was 1996 after
all. This came about because I was designing and later, finally released a DC-3
flight simulation program that was an add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator 95.
PAM had an interest of being the first aviation museum to have a ‘hands on
DC-3 flight simulator housed in the museum for all to learn from. It took me 9
solid months to create and release this DC-3 Flight Simulator and I included
763A DC-3 as part of the package, in fact, the entire software was dedicated to
PAM and 763A, with 2% of overall sales going direct to PAM for to keep the DC-3
in flying condition as well as about 80 or so boxes of the software for free
that PAM could sell at the museum and on the airshow circuit.
managed to sell 150, 000 copies of the DC-3 Flight Simulation package world
wide. PAM finally had a global presence. The software worldwide came in many
formats as well as many different languages. Pictures below..
PAM DC-3 pilots helped me on some difficult
aspects to get the exact flight dynamics for the software, fuel burn related to
mixture settings was an issue at first, then I had issues with manifold pressure
versus prop rpm’s on the left engine that eventually got fixed before release
(it was actually a Microsoft bug I had to fix).
in 1996, here I am below,
My next venture with PAM was to get donations of PC hardware and flight
PC peripherals to install at the museum. It was a success for the most part,
only a few times I had to drive 3 hours every now again to do tech support. The
internet and PC hardware in 1998 was growing very fast and would often be
outdated within months however. PAM got a good run out of the DC-3 simulation
program. The Pantagraph advertised it as the first DC-3 flight simulator ever
and, it was available at the
PAM museum!, we made
history here, because years later, many other museum's followed suit around the
world. I also got an interview on the local
is one the
I did for DC-3 Flight simulation.
I was involved with 763A and designing and
releasing flight simulation software right through to 2004. And the subsequent
versions just kept on getting better. Pictures of the various DC-3 763A software
simulation programs are below..
DC-3 Cockpit in the 2004 version was so very accurate and very realistic.
shot below I created of the real 763A and the simulated 763A in the 2000 version
for Flight Simulator.
1998 was quite an expensive year for PAM and 763A, because
of DC-3 maintenance. Our number 1 engine was troublesome to start, almost like
we had to over prime it to keep it running, hence the flames out of the exhaust
the prop and throttles are not just at the right position, it becomes very
stubborn to start at all. Our Number 2 engine needed a new cylinder. We found
when performing a run up of the engines one day, vibrating at 2,000 rpm’s. We
usually run it up to 2,300 rpm’s during our tests. It was found we had a
sticking valve in the cylinder. $850 later, we got a new cylinder before flying
We purchased that third engine in the end.
We purchased that third engine in the end.
bad cyclinder is pictured below
In 1998 & 1999
I became part of the 763A flight crew on the airshow circuit, for the most part
I was the flight attendant, it was so much fun, but hard work selling souvenirs
or being the ‘clicker’ to keep tabs on “walk through’s”. The hard work
all went to PAM and to keep our DC-3 in flying condition, and we did very well. The best part was locking
up the DC-3 for the night and going to the bar wherever we were staying, sitting with other pilots and telling each other great aviation
stories. One time, Norm Wingler, myself, Bob Davis,
Ryan and Patti Wagstaff all sat together at the bar late at night, sharing
stories. Bob Davis was an old friend and
mentor to Patti Wagstaff.
Year 2000 was
quite a huge year for me, PAM and 763A. October 21st 2000, My son Alex was 4
months old. (he will be 9 years old this year). I made it a point that his first
flight ever, would be on a DC-3, I chose 763A.
son Alex's first flight of his young life and forever, he'll be able to say that
his first flight was on a DC-3 – N763A. He slept through most of the flight
and was given a certificate that celebrated the occasion. I still have the
certificate framed in my family room today. Two pictures below of that day, of
me, my wife and young son at the time.
I could not resist, the picture below taken in 2000 in an airplane I made out of
spare wood I had hangin’ around. The prop rotated and I installed an actual
bi-plane engine noise that was looped so it would play continuously.
In 2001 I
continued my PAM volunteer duties, was still part of the 763A flight crew for
airshow work (and I
mean, many airshows) and began advertising heavily for PAM using my own funds via the
internet and magazine articles to share with folks around the world, and mostly
all over the US. One such article can be accessed
I STRONGLY recommend you read it, you will find it very interesting. HERE
It is a comparison of flying
the real DC-3 N763A to that of using the DC-3 flight simulator, it shows my own DC-3 flight
simulator set up at home at the time.
By now and with the internet becoming a powerful tool, PAM & 763A was very well known world-wide, especially in the US . It was during this time I began attending and recruiting folks for the DC-3 Ground school each year, I of course passed and got my certification via PAM and Bob Davis. at the same time we we negotiating very good prices for airshow appearances. I was a part of those negotiations too. Oshkosh appearances were always a 'no-no' It was not financially profitable for us to take our DC-3 there.
I own a DC-3 throttle quadrant that I refurbished myself
cost me $200), and I would often offer it to PAM DC-3 Ground school to use as an
aid/prop for training. Picture below..
Below is an older picture I took of 763A before
the cockpit was upgraded.
In 2001 & 2002, many good things were happening, my DC-3 site www.douglasdc3.com was growing and growing with a vast mailing list of thousands world wide, and with many folks participating on the site. I never forgot PAM and 763A though, they were always featured on my main page and every year, I always offered free sponsorship to PAM as advertising and links to the PAM web site as well as 763A.
DC-3 site was expensive to run at this time and I was able to get sponsorship
money from other aviation organizations and
museums (PAM I always did for free). By now my DC-3 site was so large and packed
with DC-3 information, you could literally learn to fly a DC-3 just using my
site alone. I was getting near 2,000 hits on my site every day from all of the
countries and continents of the world. PAM and 763A was a global presence though
my DC-3 site alone. I was also getting into aviation photography and I had many
photographs published, including those
By now I was invited to fly on other DC-3’s, one in
2001/2002/2003, I was still part of the flight crew for PAM and 763A,
but this time, I often got to fly 763A on the airshow circuit in both left and
right seat. My DC-3 knowledge by now was vast, I was often asked to track down
DC-3’s by ex pilots or by the various military forces, or was asked to offer
assistance in keeping other DC-3’s in flying condition, it was quite a strain
because my allegiance was to PAM and 763A first and foremost, but always
enjoyable. My DC-3 photography was getting better too.
three pictures I took below were taken at a
I started dabbling with DC-3 graphics on the internet, using PAM and
763A I created this great graphic when I used to fund
design and run the very first PAM DC-3 web site, you can see some excellent graphics of 763A
And then one
of my best DC-3 photographs of all time that was published in a DC-3 book world
wide below. In
the summer of 2002 during an airshow visit at Wausau, Wisconsin, I had the
opportunity to take this photograph.
It is a
reflection of our DC-3, N763A of the
2001/2002/2003/2004 – Here I am below flying 763A during airshow duty..
I am flying our DC-3 on the way back from Whiteman AFB airshow in the summer of
2003, this time with the upgraded cockpit installed. Cruising at 7600 feet VFR.
When 2005 onward arrived, things changed somewhat for me. I continued as always
to support PAM and 763A but remotely and, via my web site. I have been a
musician since I was young and I found I could not continue to perform as a
musician and at the same time, spend a lot of time with PAM and 763A. Things
were starting to change a little at PAM, though I was still making large
contributions for PAM and 763A,a lot of focus was on the future of PAM, a new
home, a DC-3Hangar, the Challenger Learning Center etc.. and, besides, I just bought my
first boat and still have it today, it resides on the
Plus, my rock band was becoming extremely busy with gigs. So as
much as I loved PAM and 763A, I didn’t have as much 'hands-on' with 763A as I did in years past, but still, I always supported PAM
& 763A via my site and through other
channels. I also made my DC-3 web site much more interactive for the
folks that visit each day.
I average 2 to 3,000 hits a day. My rock bands web site today is www.wolfscrossing.net,
we are a classic rock band playing anything from
Hendrix to Van Halen. It is quite a nice site I put together rather quickly.
PAM had the capacity now to entice pilots from all over the US to support flight training in 763A and become DC-3 certified. This was something I advertised very heavily on for PAM and it was a success, I believe Bob Moss from CAF came in to be involved. We raised the prices for DC-3 flights and joy rides, we had to,but it was still well worth the money. Bob Davis wanted me to shoot & publish a Video of the DC-3 Flight School sitting in the DC-3, we somehow could not just get our arms around this however. The timing (weather), and consequent maintenance of DC-3 always seem to get in the way, not to mention I had a full time job as a network engineer.
our DC-3 based at (
April 23rd, 2009, DC-3 N763A made its final flight out of Bloomington for a new life in Florida, albeit a lonely send off for the grand ole lady. (Not many were informed of it being sold ). This began my frustration.
I have received many e-mails about the selling and departure of our DC-3
from the Mid West and the subsequent decisions made by PAM. Most are supportive,
some though, are from insider folks within Bloomington or PAM, who seemingly
feel that anyone living outside Bloomington are ‘outsiders’ with no
right to know what really
happened, participate in any decision making or even have an opinion
I would like to dissect some of the comments I
have read and have been sent recently. You might
first want to read the story so kindly reported by the Pantagraph HERE
The Pantagraph article contains pictures, a
video and the story of our DC-3 April 23rd, 2009. Thanks and credits
go to Steve Smedley & Mary Ann Ford for the Pantagraph coverage.
Ok, I assume you have read the excellent
coverage in the Pantagraph article by now? So now you can read on..
First, the use of the word “Bittersweet”
by current PAM members. "Bittersweet"
refers to a combination of sweetness and bitterness, used as a metaphor for
experiences of both happiness and sadness. Tell me.. where is the happiness
here? – Our DC-3 has gone! – sold for 80K! – not even a decent send off or
Then, there was a comment I read by a
PAM member that said “We
wanted to sell her to someone that would keep her in flying condition and
continue the airshow circuit?.
This is ridiculous to say the least, PAM had no control over who would purchase
763A when it was sold via a broker, for all intent and purposes, it could easily
have been purchased by a local scrapper, apparently, and more importantly, PAM
needed the $80,000 asking price – period, no questions asked.
Now granted, PAM is in some serious financial troubles, mostly though,
this was caused I am
told, by the deep dive into the creation and running of the “Challenger
Let’s talk about PAM for a minute here.
It is a great and perhaps one of the best aviation museum’s I have ever been a
part of. I am proud to have been a part of the museum for many years
and I am so glad they accepted me and opened there arms out to me, they changed
my life and made my dreams come true.
The people at PAM, past and present are very dedicated hard working,
nice folks. They do not
get paid for there hard work and dedication, it is a non profit and volunteer
operation. So it’s not the PAM people or past leadership I am disappointed in, it’s
the recent decision making by the present leadership,
the finger pointing to previous leadership and seemingly small mindedness and secrecy constantly portrayed that I
have an issue with and it is why I am very frustrated.
For two years now, I am told by many PAM insiders, “You do not know the real story Trev”, One PAM member said “I would never know, because I am not a “local”. Ok so I live a 3 hour drive away. See, this kind of mentality and blinkeredness is so frustrating to me. It is ‘inside politics’ and is very unfortunate.
PAM was meant to be a global presence, not a local insider’s joint.
PAM was meant to be supported globally and not just by
One PAM member (and this is the small mindedness I refer to), told me, “I'm sure if you have been around the museum or even have come to one of the monthly fundraiser dinners that we have to help pay the bills you would know this. " So, I interpret this again, in that you have to be a local or within the Bloomington area to support PAM or get an answer to a problem going on.
No mention or thought about being a global presence. Let me explain
further. A person living abroad with
a little internet site can support PAM by advertising, donating or
participating, that was always the goal. But no, “Come to
PAM have a web site, there is nothing on that web site, or ever has been
about huge debt, or the selling of it’s DC-3. Donations yes, but no real
reason why donations are desperately needed in such troubled times at PAM.
The folks at PAM are very well aware of my DC-3 site and no doubt aware of my help and contributions in the past. Yes it was hadr work, I am not the only one however, PAM members worked hard too.
How was I to know about the troubles?, oh, I know, “I
am not a “local”, that is why I guess.
Did PAM ever contact me for help?, no, yet I have run the largest DC-3
site on the internet for 12 years. I even started,
designed and personally funded the very first PAM web site myself many years
ago. The current
PAM web site is an issue for me, had I been running or at least
participating (again, if I had only known
the real issues), I would have strongly suggested that the PAM web site, carried the
headline on its main page in big red letters – HELP!! PLEASE !! - WE NEED YOUR HELP. And
guess what? I would have responded
quickly, donated and got massive support globally to at least save the DC-3 and
have it kept in flying condition with PAM.
The folks at PAM today need to realize that you
cannot rely on ‘locals’ or current
members for help, people who just love aviation and non-members would always be
willing to help, especially DC-3 enthusiasts world wide.
Marketing, e-mail, and the use of the internet is simply not one of PAM’s
strong points today, and that is quite a shame. PAM are missing out on such a
huge supporting audience globally.
PAM have spent too much time looking backward versus looking forward and keeping up with the times, especially from a technical perspective online and electronically . PAM often struggle via e-mail communication even today, I have a story here, just happened last week, but how on earth can a very high up person within PAM directorship, send me an e-mail that I cannot reply to? Hhe left me his cell number though.
Another example by a PAM insider, I am told
all that are concerned with the selling price of the DC-3, and the perceived
lack of notice...the airplane has been up for sale by word of mouth for almost
Oh my!! – “Word of Mouth”? This
is another example of ‘local participation only’ with severe lack of
marketing skills and no real use of there own web site to communicate globally.
It's why folks like me, and hundreds of others out there, perhaps thousands
are shocked, and dismayed at recent developments and in particular, the demise of our
You will have noticed by now, that I refer to
763A as ‘our’ DC-3 and not the ‘PAM
763A was helped over the years by thousands of folks (not just local
ones), all of us members and non-members donated, dedicated our time and helped
PAM keep the DC-3 in flying condition. “The DC-3 Challenge” was one such
supporting mechanism at PAM way back when.
It is our
DC-3 and always will be, granted, thanks to PAM for letting us share it with
them and be a part of it and its history.
This brings me to another PAM member comment…
“The sales price...unless the museum
wants to release it, is not of anyone's concern, but it was fair market value
for the condition of the airplane”.
What shear small mindedness, yet again, a
failure to communicate.
It was the broker selling the aircraft on PAM’s behalf that had the good marketing sense to place the DC-3 on the internet and advertise the DC-3 for sale along with spare parts for a price of $80,000. There is no secret here?. Why on earth would current PAM leadership think that 'word of mouth' would get them results? Why they don't share the selling price when it was all over the internet to begin with?
Again, insider secrecy when there is really no need for it, that is also
frustrating to me.
As for fair market value, I very much disagree, the asking price was way
too low in my opinion, some DC-3’s in Alaska that are in much worse condition
sell for up to $120,000. I only wish
I had $80,000, but I don’t, could I have raised that much in two years?.. absolutely
yes! .. easily!, through this web site, and I
would have been willing to do it too!
I was told that in a small
room, two years ago, a decision was indeed made by the new leadership via a
board meeting to sell the DC-3. But I am not a local, so I would never know that
would I? It was never on the PAM web
site either. Such is the mentality it seems and it is very unfortunate
at this point that PAM seemed to become an insider club with scars that became
open wounds from time to time.
I know how much money PAM plowed into this DC-3, dedication and hard
work, by the board and its members, both in the early years, and throughout 763A’s
life, DC-3 engine difficulties and, finally a much needed upgrade to the cockpit
which made it IFR compatible. The usual insurance, FAA and typical inspection
fees etc.. comes with the territory, and
you plan for that,
difficult at it is.
will remain a sad day for me and many others.
only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3"
Is the oldest known photograph of N763A
I have, in Southern scheme as NC73726, this was later verified as correct by ex
Southern DC-3 employees.
Below.. Here is another old rare picture as N70SA
Below - This was the state of our DC-3, N763A, and how it looked originally, when
we bought it back in Februaary 1984
Above – April 23rd,
2009 - N763A’s sad final flight out of BMI – phot credit Steve Smedley of
In closing - thanks you for all who have read this article, I only shared snippets here of the work and involvement I had with PAM over the years, its members and its leadership past/present, there was so much more I could have shared, because 99.9% of the time, it was just so much fun and I was so proud to be a PAM member and a very big part of DC-3 N763A.
I will continue to be a part of N763A using my skills online.
Below our DC-3 N763A, arriving at its new home in Florida.
Two Pics below is N763A on the ground at Marathon, Florida shortly after its arrival
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