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Randy Treadway

World's Fair Helicopter model

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61220 (N4503E) is a smaller version S61N. Was it used by NY Airways? No idea, but looks too small.

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Carson Helicopters is leasing out some of their 11 S-61's (with a 1,000 gallon fixed belly tank installable in 15 minutes) to the L.A. County Fire Department to help with GPS-targeted water-bombing the wildfires in the Los Angeles Area. I just saw one on the evening news on TV. I didn't catch the tail number.

Could it be N4503E?

If so, it would mean a probable World's Fair helicopter is protecting Bill's World's Fair slide collection!

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Looks too small? You have a good eye Lambertus! Here's an explanation (in red), along with other changes they've made:

Perkasie, Pa.-based Carson Helicopters is in the final stages of STC certification for its composite swept-tip main rotor blade on the Sikorsky S-61. Having completed 160 hr of flight testing and all required fatigue tests, the company expects the FAA to grant certification on the new blades next month. When that happens, it will be the first STC of a swept-tip main rotor blade, according to company president Franklin Carson.

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“When I first started this project 11 years ago, I had already done all of the easy things to make the helicopter more productive,” said Carson. “It turned out that the very best thing we could do to increase productivity was to install a new set of modern rotor blades.”

The Carson blades, reminiscent of the swept-tip Blackhawk and S-76 blades, are made of a carbon fiber material with a partial honeycomb structure. In addition to the obvious design change–the swept tapered tips–the blades incorporate an increased twist along their length and a new airfoil that was developed and patented by NASA. Flight tests have shown a 2,000-lb increase in lifting capability over the original metal blades at the same horsepower. The life of the blade will be STC’d at 20,000 hr or double the life of the metal blades. Carson claims a figure of merit of .79 or 79-percent efficiency, as compared with a figure of merit of .70 for the original S-61 blades.

“If you put modern rotor blades on any helicopter, you’ll get better performance,” said Carson. “Since the manufacturers aren’t interested in putting more money into the older aircraft, it’s up to us operators to do so.”

The rotor blades are not Carson’s first foray into helicopter modification. Carson Helicopters operates nine S-61s in logging, heavy lift, firefighting and industrial applications and has made various modifications to its fleet. One of the company’s first modifications was to shorten the S-61 fuselage by 50 in., improving lifting capacity by 800 to 1,000 lb, according to Carson’s estimates. A redesigned tail rotor blade, to be STC’d in 2003 with a figure of merit of .80 compared with .60 for the metal blade, added another 400 lb of lift by using 25 percent less power during hover. Carson is also designing a set of strakes to disturb airflow along the sides of the rear fuselage area and tail boom to increase stability in crosswinds, and a modern landing gear system that will decrease drag and increase cruise speed by six to eight knots. Carson estimated that the combined increase in lifting capability with all modifications installed, as high as 3,400 lb, will result in a 25- percent increase in productivity during logging applications, a large component of his business.

“We think the S-61 is the best helicopter that’s ever been built,” said Carson. “We’re simply trying to bring the aircraft up to where it’s capable of going. With the new blades and other modifications, the S-61 will be competitive with newer aircraft.”

So given the fact that they shortened it, and Randy L's tracing of the serial number, I'd say there's an excellent chance that N4503E is one of the New York Airways World's Fair helicopters.

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Some of Carson's S-61's were also contracted by the Army Corps of Engineers recently to drop sandbags to rebuilt the levees in New Orleans.

Four S-61's were sent from Carson's Oregon base to Louisiana.

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I just found a reference that says that Carson's N4503E began it's service life registered as N4604G.

That sure is close to those World's Fair pictures!!!

Here is the apparent registration history:

N4604G,G-ASNL,PH-SBH,G-ASNL,N4503E

"PH-SBH" is a Netherlands registration number.

Here is something strange. I thought I would look up N4604G in the FAA registration database, just on a whim. (normally they don't list old numbers).

http://162.58.35.241/acdatabase/NNumSQL.asp?NNumbertxt=4604G

So who would reserve an old number? Very unusual. I looked up 800 Independence Ave.

Turns out that's the address of the FAA itself.

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G-ASNL was assigned to British Empire Airways, the forerunner to today's British Airways.

Here are three photos of G-ASNL in BEA service. Keep in mind this is the same aircraft that is now with Carson as N4503E, and was originally registered as N4604G- possibly New York Airways (World's Fair vintage). We know it was manufactured in 1963.

Next to the Queen Mary

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hovering

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over New York

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loading a cargo of flowers

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on a postcard

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Note that in BEA service the helicopter still had the landing gear fairings- just like NYA used on their World's Fair helicopters (standard S-61N configuration as delivered by Sikorsky).

According to the British Accident Investigation Branch, a report was filed on G-ASNL on March 11, 1983, that it had experienced a #1 input spur gear failure (whatever that is!)

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Carson Helicopters is leasing out some of their 11 S-61's (with a 1,000 gallon fixed belly tank installable in 15 minutes) to the L.A. County Fire Department to help with GPS-targeted water-bombing the wildfires in the Los Angeles Area. I just saw one on the evening news on TV. I didn't catch the tail number.

Could it be N4503E?

If so, it would mean a probable World's Fair helicopter is protecting Bill's World's Fair slide collection!

Yea,and another twist it would be protecting the New Orleans Convention Center

Yes the New Orleans Worlds Fair Exposition

Regards,Dave

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RANDY, HERE'S A MODEL I FOUND LAST WEEK OF A HELICOPTER THAT USE TO HANG FROM THE CEILING AS PART OF A DISPLAY IN ONE OF THE ADMINSTRATION BUILDINGS OFFICES. IT HAS SEEN BETTER DAYS, THE LITTLE STUD WHICH HOLDS THE BLADE ON TOP HAS FALLEN INSIDE THE MODEL. THIS IS THE ONLY PICTURE I TOOK OF THIS.

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Nice find John! The damage doesn't look serious- it's repairable. It's a manufacturer model- aerospace manufacturers' marketing people (like Sikorsky) give those away- the scale of the model generally is tied to how "big" a customer you are. I work for Boeing and the market development people one floor above me have a whole storage room full of Boeing aircraft models they keep under lock and key to give plant visitors (the bigwigs anyway). They let me take a look now and then when I have a visitor coming in and want to arrange some kind of gift- they're picky about it though because of federal laws about dollar value of gifts to government officials (our main customers).

Today the models aren't quite as classy as yours- they're carved from wood, with highly accurate paint schemes, but the windows are 'painted on gray'. I like your clear plastic better.

So did Sikorsky give this model to the NYWF Corp, or did it come from New York Airways (who might have got it from Sikorsky themselves)? It could have been either, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sikorsky provided it directly. The helicopter service at the World's Fair was obviously a major marketing coup for them, since Sikorsky was pushing passenger helicopter service in urban areas in the 60's to "beat the traffic". All those takeoffs and landings at the Port Authority heliport were a real showcase for Sikorsky.

I just read an article in the paper about a model manufacturer who is doing really well right now supplying these kind of promotional models. The reporter asked the company owner what's the biggest order they'd received and he said it was $53,000 for a single model- a humongous B-52 model to go to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana (a B-52 base), and the orderer was Boeing. I had to smile at that. That model probably has something like a 15 foot wingspan, and I wouldn't be surprised if the bomb bay doors open by remote control and it drops several hundred model bombs.

Oh yes, I like your Bourbon Street sign too!

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Randy, Bill, forum members: I would like to revive and contribute to this 2005 thread, but some of the links have been broken (some pictures cannot be seen, especially in the first page). I have some information that I'd like to share about the NYA and NYWF helicopters, but before I comment I'd like to make sure that I can see all the information previously posted so I don't repeat anything.

Any chance that the missing pictures can be re-linked?

P.S. - thanks Randy for starting the thread. It's the first time I've seen a detailed discussion of the New York World's Fair Helicopters - they've usually escaped detection on many helicopter lists!

-Vince

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I was able to repair some of the links, but not all.

Many thanks Randy!

I'm just doing some last minute additional research on some S-61N serial numbers to see if I can pinpoint the third NYWF chopper. I Don't want to repeat anything that's already been said. Will post results shortly . . .

-Vince

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Hello all:

I would like to continue this thread about the NYWF Sikorsky S-61Ns and contribute some information that I've collected over the years from books, magazines, old photos, and websites. I'd like to help figure out which was the third S-61N operated by NYA during the fair.

New York Airways flew a total of seven Sikorsky S-61's. The first were three S-61N's seen at the 1964-1965 NY World's Fair and leased from United Technologies. These apparently went to SFO (San Francisco and Oakland Helicopter Airlines) then were sold to British Airways Helicopters after the company went out of business. More on those later. The next four were the S-61L "Mark II's" that were operated in the 70's (N617PA, N618PA, N619PA and N620PA). Those were the ones without the sponsons and without retractable main landing gear. They were also the ones that suffered several accidents. I have not found any records of S-61N accidents during the World's Fair run.

We now know the identity of two of the World's Fair S-61N's, thanks to Randy Treadway's excellent pictures (N307Y sn 61222 and N4606G sn 61224). So which was the third? AMF Monorail found a good candidate of 1964 vintage, N4604G (61220), which we thought might be the one. Although it is difficult to know for certain, I think N317Y (61223) is a more plausible guess. To explain why, I will begin with a list of some of the earliest S-61N's that I could find, in serial number order (view "full page" to avoid text wraparound). . .

SN.............Model........................1ST Reg......Mfd........Comments

611__ ......S-61L, cvtd to N.........N692Y* .....1962?.......One of the first two S-61N's built; del. to Nitto Airlines, cvt'd. to "N" & full flotation capability **

61143.......S-61L, cvtd to N.........N94565 .....1962.........to Mitsubishi in kit form; later JA-9506, cvt'd. to "N"; N4585, G-AYOM (1/7/71), EI-SAR

61159.......S-61N.......................N652X .......1962.........1 of 3 sold to PIA as AP-AOA; w/o 12/10/66

61164.......S-61N.......................N94569......................to SFO (operated 1ST rooftop s'vce. March 1, 1965***), VH-UHK, C-GOKZ

61216.......S-61N.......................N653X ........1963........2 of 3 sold to PIA as AP-AOB '63; later G-AWFX 4/68 (BEA 9/5/68), Carson N7011M

61220.......S-61N.......................N4604G .....1963........later G-ASNL (1/28/64), PH-SBH (Netherlands), G-ASNL, Carson N4503E c'vtd. to "Shortsky"

61221.......S-61N.......................N4605G .....1964........later G-ASNM (2/5/64) sold Oklahoma City, OK 1977, w/o 11/15/70 North Sea

61222.......S-61N.......................N307Y .......1964........NYA, SFO (fleet # 1), later G-BEIC (date unknown), to Canada as C-GCSF, now C-GROV

61223.......S-61L, cvtd to N.........N317Y .......1963........to Japan - JA9507, cvt'd. to "N", ret. to US as N317Y (SFO; canceled 11/23/76), G-BEID w/o 7/13/88

61224.......S-61N.......................N4606G ......1964..........NYA, SFO (fleet # 3), later G-BEJL, C-GROV, EI-BPK (Irish Coast Guard)

61225.......S-61N.......................N____? ......1964..........3 of 3 sold to PIA as AP-AOC 2/64; hit vulture & w/o 2/2/66

* source: Flight International 4/11/63 p. 492 although picture is difficult to read; the "2" might be a "7" and the "Y" might be a "V"; could be 61223

** source: Flight International 4/11/63 p. 492 - aircraft had no markings at that time; various sources say Nitto Airlines ordered only one S-61

*** source: Air Travel Magazine May 1965 p. 63

Other sources: Helispot.com, Rotorspot.com, Airliners.net, FAA registration database

We know that SFO took two of the former NYA birds (N307Y and N4606G) sometime after the Fair. Is it possible that three SFO helicopters were ex NYA? Their liveries were extremely similar - both had dark upper and lower fuselages and sponsons. San Francisco and Oakland Helicopter Airlines ceased operations on Aug. 23, 1976. In November of that same year, they decided to sell their S-61N's to British Airways Helicopters.They were reported to have three that year. I have not been able to find a complete SFO S-61 roster, but there are six ships of 1963-1964 vintage which may be candidates because they all ended up in the UK at some point (note the sequential serial numbers after the first) . . .

61143.......S-61N..............N94565........1962.......later G-AYOM (1/7/71), EI-SAR

61220.......S-61N..............N4604G.......1963.......later G-ASNL (1/28/64) now Carson N4503E (went to UK during the middle of the NYWF)

61221.......S-61N..............N4605G.......1964.......later G-ASNM (2/5/64); (went to UK during the middle of the NYWF)

61222.......S-61N..............N307Y..........1964.......NYA (confirmed), SFO (confirmed; fleet # 1), later G-BEIC (date unknown)

61223.......S-61N..............N317Y..........1963.......SFO (confirmed), later G-BEID (US Registration cancelled 11/23/76)

61224.......S-61N..............N4606G........1964........NYA (confirmed), SFO (confirmed; fleet # 3), later G-BEJL (date unknown)

I already removed 61164 because it had just started service with SFO on March 1, 1965 and was reported to be "1 of 2 ordered". Since N4604G (61220) and N4605G (61221) went to England before the start of the Fair's second season, they can also be eliminated. As mentioned earlier, SFO disposed of their three S-61N's during November 1976. If we assume that NYA kept the same equipment during the full run of the Fair, and that all three of them went to SFO, then we can also eliminate 61143 since it also went overseas before 1976. This leaves us with . . .

SN.............Model..............1ST Reg......Mfd......Comments

61222.......S-61N..............N307Y.......1964.......NYA (confirmed), SFO (confirmed; fleet # 1), later G-BEIC (date unknown)

61223.......S-61N..............N317Y.......1963.......SFO (confirmed; US Reg. cancelled 11/23/76 - same mo. that SFO sold their three S-61N's) later G-BEID

61224.......S-61N..............N4606G.....1964........NYA (confirmed), SFO (confirmed; fleet # 3), later G-BEJL (date unknown)

This is why I believe that N317Y (61223) is the best candidate for being the third NYA S-61N (even though, regrettably, it no longer exists). Notice that the British Registrations for 61222 and 61223 (G-BEIC and G-BEID) are in sequence, making it likely that they were assigned at around the same time. They also seemed to retain this sequence when they were with SFO (Fleet numbers under reg. number - see photos in Airliners.net)

The sequential serial numbers (61222 - 61224) hint that these three birds may have been ordered together, and apparently stayed together for much of their careers. This has been known to happen with aircraft. Registration numbers and serial numbers can vary in an aircraft order, but usually the serial numbers on new aircraft are established before registration numbers are applied for. I think it's very possible that 61222, 61223 and 61224 started out with NYA, and stayed together with SFO and BAH.

Much as I like this theory, it is still possible that the third NYA was another aircraft entirely, but only if some birds were swapped or traded for others. I do not know what happened to the first two SFO S-61N's (61164 and ?) but apparently they were gone by 1976, and many sources report that SFO only had three at a time.

It would be great if we can find out more about N692Y, N94565, or N94569, and/or if we can find a complete roster of SFO S-61's. The ultimate coup would be a picture. There are still many unknowns.

What do you think?

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I think a picture will turn up eventually, from which we can identify the number on the missing bird. There were millions of cameras wielded by fair visitors.

Thanks for sharing your research!

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I think a picture will turn up eventually, from which we can identify the number on the missing bird. There were millions of cameras wielded by fair visitors.

It's certainly possible - there are still countless items which have not been scanned & shared. But it would have to be a fairly (no pun intended) clear picture - fortunately the registration numbers were painted large in those days, at least on the belly of the aircraft.

In the meantime I will continue work on my models (I am trying to do what your original post suggested). I have 1/72 and 1/48 scale Sikorsky S-61 SeaKing models which I will try to convert to S-61L and N models (NYWF New York Airways, of course). I also have some BV-107's (Tamiya, Fujimi, Academy) to be converted as well. I'm going to try making my own decals (which I'd be willing to share if anyone is interesed).

If I finish the models before a new picture surfaces, first choice will be N307Y or N4606G as the registration number.

I'm also interested in the history of scheduled helicopter airlines. If anyone wants to further discuss any of these topics, please count me in.

P.S. - there is brief film footage of one of the NYA/TWA S-61N's landing on the roof of the Port Authority Pavillion in the 1980's PBS program "Bill Moyers' A Walk Through the Twentieth Century" - program titled "Come to the Fairs". You can't see the number, but there is some nice footage of both New York Fairs, as well as others. Not currently available for purchase, but I've heard that some public libraries may have it on VHS.

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Nice find John! The damage doesn't look serious- it's repairable. It's a manufacturer model- aerospace manufacturers' marketing people (like Sikorsky) give those away- the scale of the model generally is tied to how "big" a customer you are. I work for Boeing and the market development people one floor above me have a whole storage room full of Boeing aircraft models they keep under lock and key to give plant visitors (the bigwigs anyway).

Today the models aren't quite as classy as yours- they're carved from wood, with highly accurate paint schemes, but the windows are 'painted on gray'. I like your clear plastic better.

I just read an article in the paper about a model manufacturer who is doing really well right now supplying these kind of promotional models. The reporter asked the company owner what's the biggest order they'd received and he said it was $53,000 for a single model- a humongous B-52 model to go to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana (a B-52 base), and the orderer was Boeing. I had to smile at that. That model probably has something like a 15 foot wingspan, and I wouldn't be surprised if the bomb bay doors open by remote control and it drops several hundred model bombs.

The detail on those models is amazing, but their cost is astounding. I still remember ogling several in a Pan Am Bldg. travel office as a kid. One fuselage was clear to show interior seating, as though at one time that would influence a traveler's decision. Today several cruise ship models decorate a Park Ave office's (AmEx?) windows reflecting their share of the travel market.

Bigwigs must be kids at heart and those models must generate lasting impressions and major consideration. I don't know how these companies justify the expense otherwise.

Im enjoying this topic. Liked the decal tutorial. I did not know you could do such a thing.

The smell of the exhaust blasting out of those Vertols was up there with the moldaramas as far as memories. Smells like... aviation!

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Just bought a new DVD which features a black and white (but fairly sharp) copy of "To The Fair" (1965) and it features the two S-61N's confirmed in this thread, N4606G and N307Y landing on the Port Authority building!

They are seen with the standard 1960's "New York Airways" livery and the additional "TWA" logos.

The third NYA S-61N remains unidentified, unfortunately.

That's a wonderful film. I wish I could find a copy in color.

I've purchased a few S-61 model kits in various scales in order to attempt building the NYWF birds. As soon as I start work, I'll post my progress . . .

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Hello Group,

I stumbled upon your Community, while doing a Google search for my favourite subject, Sikorsky Helicopters. I have been researching the histories of these great helicopters for many years and from documents I hold, am able to tell you the three helicopters used at the World Fair.

#1 was Sikorsky build number 61222(N307Y). This aircraft is now registered to Coulson Aircrane in Canada and flies as C-GBSF.

#2 was Sikorsky build number 61224(N4606G). This aircraft is now registered to CHC Scotia and flies as G-BEJL.

#3 was Sikorsky build number 61257(N92866). This aircraft was later remanufactured and now flies with ERA Helicopters as N562EH.

Hope this helps

Regards

Sid

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Great information Sid!

Do you know the build date on 61257? I wonder if NYA got it late in '65 and that's why it's so hard to find it in a World's Fair photo.

Also nice information that these 3 were leased. Since they were returned by NYA, who bought other S-61N's (without the sponsons), I wonder if these 3 early ones had some problems that caused NYA to be dissatisfied? Probably the leases included an 'option to buy', which NYA turned down for some reason.

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Fantastic Information Sid - many thanks! I've been working on a roster of Sikorsky S-61's myself - would you like to exchange info?

Here is the information I have on ship 61257: built 1965, reg. N92866; dmg'd. 1/21/65 Stratford, Ct at Sikorsky Airport during training flt; struck water & rolled over; 0 of 2 fatal tail rotor prob; repaired; sold 1967; re-reg. N6952R (Petroleum Helicopters?), to KLM as PH-NZA, re-reg. N562EH . . .

Oh, and Randy, you wrote: >"NYA, who bought other S-61N's (without the sponsons)" S-61's without sponsons were designated S-61L's. The hull was not water proofed, the landing gear was not retractable and I believe the "L" also had two extra seats. In addtion to the 3 leased S-61N's used during the Fair, NYA bought 4 S-61L's in the early 70's.

It sounds to me like NYA preferred the Boeing Vertol 107's in the 1960's. I Look forward to exchanging more information on this subject . . .

best regards, Vince

Great information Sid!

Do you know the build date on 61257? I wonder if NYA got it late in '65 and that's why it's so hard to find it in a World's Fair photo.

Also nice information that these 3 were leased. Since they were returned by NYA, who bought other S-61N's (without the sponsons), I wonder if these 3 early ones had some problems that caused NYA to be dissatisfied? Probably the leases included an 'option to buy', which NYA turned down for some reason.

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That information- the build date and the damage information- lends weightto the theory that NYA finally put it into service so late- maybe in mid-1965, that we don't see it much (or at all!) in NYWF photos.

If NYA had a lease deal with Sikorsky and it was critical to their service during the World's Fair, I'm surprised Sikorsky didn't find a way to substitute another S-61N after the training accident. This was probably the highest visibility operation for Sikorsky during this time as far as public relations goes. Except maybe for military coming home from service telling about the great things the 'Jolly Green Giants' were doing.

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Ok, so we're looking for a photo of N92866.

Delivered last day of June '64; damaged in a training flight January '65 (and repaired, although we don't know how long it was out of service).

Here is the NTSB report on the accident. Note that at the time (Jan. '65) it had 4,704 hours on it.

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=77586&key=0

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Here is a photo of it in 1998. Owner is Era Aviation.

When it came back to the U.S. it had to be re-registered with a new number- N562EH-, because the old one now belongs to a Cessna airplane.

What's missing is a photo of it in NYA service, preferably at the NYWF.

By the way, Era Aviation didn't bother to change the paint scheme when they bought it from KLM in the Netherlands. What you see is the KLM paint scheme, with KLM painted out and replaced with Era, and of course the new registration number.

0014044.jpg

2815827129_b80f288421_z.jpg

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