Meet Henri Petays with C-53 OH-LCH, Operated by DC-Association in Finland
Our airplane was built by Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica, California and completed on Christmas Eve 1942 as DC-3A-453 C/N 6346. Intended for Pan American Grace Airways as NC34953, she was promptly taken to military service on 27 December 1942 and became C-53C-DO s/n 43-2033.
She served in the US Air Transport Command, North Atlantic Wing and was probably based at Presque Isle, Maine until transferred in November 1943 to the European Wing, where she is believed to have served in personnel transport duties. In October 1944 she was transferred to the 8th AAF until the end of war in Europe.
From storage in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, she was bought by the State of Finland and registered on 19 June 1948 as OH-LCH and made her first commercial flight for Aero Oy on 21 July 1948. She logged a total of 22137 flight hours until dismantled for spare parts on 15 Dec 1960 but was rebuilt as a freighter with a large cargo door and re-registered as OH-LCH on 25 June 1963 for Finnair Oy (ex-Aero Oy). On 1 April 1967 she made Finnair’s last scheduled DC-3 passenger flight.
Having logged 28826 flight hours she was sold to the Finnish Air Force on 5 March 1970 and received call sign DO-11. The Air Force retired DC-3s in 1985 and DO-11 was sold to Airveteran Oy on 15 January 1986 to become OH-LCH once again. She is flown regularly during summer season and currently her log shows 34942 flight hours. During 2020 flying season from 10 June 2020 to 3 October 2020 we had flight operations on 57 days and accumulated 87 flight hours and 181 landings, including test, training and check flights. A total of 117 flights for our members were operated and 2035 of our members participated on these flights.
Airveteran Oy (Airveteran Ltd) was founded in 1985 by private citizens to preserve examples of DC-3 in Finland. DO-11 and DO-8 (C-47A-75-DL C/N 19309 s/n 42-100846 registration OH-LCD) were bought from the Air Force. OH-LCD is currently not airworthy. She has been high-polished and painted to the early 1950’s Aero Oy´s scheme. OH-LCD is on display as a gate guardian at the Finnish Aviation Museum nearby Helsinki-Vantaa airport.
DC-yhdistys ry (DC-Association Finland) was founded in 1988 to enable members to participate on flights. OH-LCH is operated on a non-commercial basis by DC-Association Finland which had a total of 5558 members at the end of 2020. A core team of approximately 60 volunteered members help to keep the airplane airworthy and operational. This team consist of management, eight pilots having ATPL-licenses with DC-3 type rating, 15 licensed mechanics with DC-3 type rating as certifying staff, 10 supporting staff for maintenance operations, 12 pursers for cabin crew and nine person editorial team for member magazine and social media.
During the summer season OH-LCH has flown mainly from Helsinki-Malmi airport until the end of 2020. Due to closure of Helsinki-Malmi Airport in March 2021 we are in the process of finding a new base of flight operations for the summer 2021 season from southern Finland. Our maintenance base for the wintertime is a hangar in Vaasa airport in the west coast of Finland.
DC-3 Flight from Malmi | Helsinki from Above 4K: https://youtu.be/WkP6U7KrDZU
Flight of the Veteran, OH-LCH over Helsinki area: https://vimeo.com/389704222
For additional information please refer to our website: https://www.dc-ry.fi/english/
Previous registrations: DO-11 (Finnish AF), 43-2033 (USAAF)
Serial no: 6346
Owner: Airveteran Ltd
Operator: DC-Association Finland
Configuration: Passenger configuration with 19 passengers
Crew: 4 in total
Photos of OH-LCH in her natural habitat over Helsinki, a group of our volunteers on wing after the last member flight of 2020 season, and our lovely Pursers getting ready for flight.
Photos © COAP & DC-Association Finland.