At the moment the mostly elderly crew is stuck in Surabaya, Indonesia, until another engine arrives. The group has started a funding program to pay for the engine replacement.
“We lost the left engine yesterday at 1 hr 30min out of Bali over water. Smoke, 15 seconds later severe vibration, then fire. We were full fuel. We shut it down and diverted to Surabaya on Java where landed safely 30 minutes later. Engine totally destroyed. Threw #5 cylinder after crack at the base, put a hole in the cowling. We were barely able to maintain 8,500' and ran the right engine at 32" which is Max Continuous power.”
In all, 600 aircraft and 740 crew, many of them American, were lost flying resupply missions across “The Hump” to China during World War II. A museum already exists where Gen. Claire Chennault stood on a rock outside his command cave to observe aircraft. The cave interior was destroyed to keep it from falling into enemy hands, but there are plans to restore it. The museum is the Flying Tiger Guilin Heritage Park. The aircraft was acquired by Larry Jobe, 76, a California real estate businessman and retired United Airlines pilot.
The C-47 Skytrain is the military equivalent of the DC-3.
The annual inspection on the aircraft, nicknamed Buzz Buggy, expires at the end of October, so the crew is anxious to install the new engine and finish the journey. The project was on a limited budget when the flight began.