Also this one (mystery Goose) Collins Air Service

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Also this one (mystery Goose) Collins Air Service

Postby Rajay » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:46 pm

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Also this one (mystery Goose) Collins Air Service - Solved?

Postby Rajay » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:31 pm

Just today I tried a new Google / Internet search for information on Collins Air Service in Alaska and came up with a new clue:

The Museum of Flight in Seattle published a .pdf online of a catalog of the "Robert W. Stevens Collection of Early Alaskan Aviation Ephemera."
The catalog was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit just as recently as January 14, 2013.

Find it here: http://www.museumofflight.org/files/robert_stevens_collection.pdf

Most importantly, it included a listing for an envelope containing "7 5x7, 1 3x5 'Collins, Gren' 1948 Grumman Goose (NC95471) Merrill Field Anchorage and Collins Air Service Piper Cub (NC21581) 1937."

Assuming the Mr. Grenold "Gren" Collins was directly involved with Collins Air Service (logical since their photos were stored together in the same envelope...) plus the fact that the date and location synch all seem to be pretty positive evidence that the Collins Air Service "mystery Goose" in the Alaska Digital Archives could be NC95471, which was ex-British JRF-6B, Grumman serial no. 1151.

Plus there's the fact, now that I look back at the original photo listing, that the name "Gren Collins" is actually listed in the fine print regarding the source of the photo in question! Gee, duh!!

Previously, my records for JRF-6B s/n 1151 contained the notations that it was assigned USN Bu. no. 0207B for purposes of the original procurement contract, became Royal Navy s/n FP501, and post-war it became N95471 but that "operator and fate unknown"
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Re: Also this one (mystery Goose) Collins Air Service

Postby Rajay » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:43 pm

Here's some additional background information that I just found about Mr. Gren Collins of Collins Air Service:

http://www.parsnackle.com/Whiskers/D%20Folder/D9.htm

And a short bio of him listed in conjunction with another catalog of documents, photos, film, and other things that his widow left to a historical archive before her own death...

http://consortiumlibrary.org/archives/CollectionsList/CollectionDescriptions/hmc-0422cd.html

"Grenold Collins was born in Tacoma, Washington, in 1907. He attended prep schools in California and Washington after which he studied at Stanford University and at the University of Washington. After leaving school, he worked at various jobs in Washington, California, Nevada, and Alaska. He then became a Deputy Game Warden, Game Warden, and Wildlife Agent (1932-1941) for the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey, during which service he developed into a noted bush pilot. During World War II, Collins was a pilot for the Morrison-Knudsen construction firm. Following the war, he formed the Gren Collins Charter Airplane Service and Big Game Guide Service. Collins was elected to the Territorial Senate (1945-1947). For a number of years, he was the Western Alaska representative of the Salmon Division of the Libby, McNeill, Libby Company. He married Dorothy Booth Tibbs in 1941. Throughout his life, Grenold Collins was an active outdoorsman who was interested in a variety of activities including sport fishing, hunting, shooting, and bird watching. Because of these interests, he traveled extensively in Alaska, Canada, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere. He recorded many of his activities on photographs and motion picture film. Collins died in Anchorage in 1992. Dorothy Booth was born in Boise, Idaho, in 1909. She received a teaching degree from Monmouth College, and moved to Alaska in the early 1930s, where she taught at Russian Mission and McGrath. After marrying Grenold Collins, Dorothy Collins accompanied her husband on his many travels. She also owned and managed a treasure shop in Downtown Anchorage, as well as the Global Travel Agency. Dorothy Collins died in 1999."
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Re: Also this one (mystery Goose) Collins Air Service

Postby Rajay » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:13 pm

Gee Bill!

From the sound of it, our buddies Guy and Steve should have been able to answer this question of this "mystery Goose" long ago.

While doing some more background research about Mr. Gren Collins, I came across this note on Guy's Web site regarding Grumman G-44 Widgeon s/n 1270, aka N23456 (the "little straight"):

"N23456 S/N 1270. This Widgeon has a very interesting history. It was declared war surplus November 4th, 1946, and sold to Washington Fish & Oyster Co. for $10,000 to service their canneries around Alaska. It was then NC58832. Gren Collins purchased it May 27th 1948 for $12,000. He used it for about 4 years, and then sold it to Alaska Airlines. (Note: according to the Alaska Airlines History Web site, they actually bought out Collins Air Service completely in 1950 or so.) They only used it for a short time, and sold it to Rainy Pass Lodge who changed the N number to N79905. In 1962 it was sold to Northern Consolidated Airlines who changed the N number to N23456. April 20th 1964 N23456 became the property of Kodiak Airways. It was re-powered with the Continental engines, and used on Kodiak Island until the early 70’s when it went to Majuro in the Marshall Islands. It flew around there until 1988 when it was sold to Bill Brunton in the Bahamas. It made its way back to the U.S. in the 90’s and was owned by Classic Wings Inc. who sold it to Kenny Ashby in Anchorage, Alaska. It is currently owned by Tod Dickey and is beautifully restored living in Phoenix, Arizona."

Of course, to update those notes, Tod Dickey sold N23456 to Hank Ruzakowski in Marion, NC in 2007 after Tod got Magnum-converted SCAN 30 s/n 16 from Dennis Burke in 2006 (at which point it was re-registered from N3N to N3TD.) Also, it was just about 2 months ago that a friend and I drove up to Marion, NC to visit Hank and to look at N23456 in the hopes that we could broker a deal to sell it to someone who wanted to use it in Brazil. (Ain't happened yet....)

BTW: do airplanes count when measuring degrees of social separation (with apologies to Kevin Bacon...) 'cuz now that I have actually been in an airplane that Gren Collins once owned, that's kinda like only 2 degrees of separation, isn't it?
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Re: Also this one (mystery Goose) Collins Air Service

Postby Rajay » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:34 pm

One more interesting story about Gren Collins:

The Spokane Washington Spokesman-Review newspaper
February 19, 1940

Alaska Flyers Rescue Airman

Risk Lives in Daring Landings and Take-Offs to Aid Injured Aviator

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Feb.18. (AP) - Rescued by brother flyers who performed almost unbelievable landings and take-offs on the side of a snow-covered mountain, Captain Benton W. (Steve) Davis, army reserve pilot, was recovering from severe crash injuries in an Anchorage hospital today. He crashed Friday while flying a civil aeronautics authority plane from Anchorage to Valdez.

The story of Davis’ rescue included these events: Pilot Kenneth Neese, who located Davis’ plane from the air, saw smoke arising near by. Sure that the smoke meant the lost flyer was still alive – and unable to land his own large plane on the extremely rough terrain, Neese summoned two other tiny ships.

Gren Collins, flying wild life agent for the Alaska game commission, arrived in a toylike plane, zoomed over the wreck scene once and proceeded to set his ship down on an open space only 75 feet long – heading the plane up the precipitous slops of a mountain as its skis touched. As soon as the plane stopped, Collins and a companion, Clarence Rhose, (probably really Clarence Rhodes, who was later director of the Fish & Wildlife Service of the US Dept. of the Interior and who died in the crash of a Grumman Goose, N720, s/n B-144, in the Brooks Range on August 30, 1958) were forced to jump from the cockpit and prop the plane quickly to prevent it from sliding down the mountain on the snow.

Hardly had Collins landed when another small ship piloted by Dick Miller, Anchorage flying instructor, duplicated its landing feat, coming to rest a short distance away.

The rescuers, once their planes were secure, made a half-mile climb to the wreck scene, where they found Davis, who had freed himself from the wreck by shooting out with a revolver a panel of the plane which had pinned his frozen foot to the ground for nearly 24 hours.

Collins then succeeded in taxiing his plane to a point near Davis and the injured man was put aboard.
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