Douglas C-53C-DO   Skytrain     N81R                         (c/n  4979)


                                                       The C-53 designation was assigned to those DC-3s which were already on the production
                                                       line when the US entered WW II.  This particular example was to have been Northwest
                                                       Airlines' NC30026.  In the event it was impressed into Army Air Corp service as a C-53,
                                                       with serial number 43-2023.  It was civilianized after the war for United Airlines as "Cargo-
                                                       liner Chicago".  A nice image of it in that guise, taken by Bill Larkins at Oakland in the 1940s,
                                                       is shown below.  By the time I took the above shot of it at Long Beach Municipal in the late
                                                      1950s, it was owned by the Chrysler Corporation and had undergone some modernaization.
                                                       Notable among these modifications are the large picture windows at the rear of the cabin and
                                                       the fully retractable landing gear wheel covers. Many of these enhancements were done on the
                                                       far side of Los Angles International Airport by the Garrett Corporation, dba AirResearch, and
                                                       this was one of them.  Some of AirResearch's interiors were quite splendid, and probably
                                                       eclipsed even today's business jets.  Since both shots were taken in an era when miniscule
                                                       registration numbers were the order of the day, I'll display blow ups of the identity of the aircraft
                                                       below.  Anyway, c/n 4979 went on to become N400RS, then N56NA and wound up in the
                                                       Musee European de l'Aviation de Chasse in Montelimar, France (still as N56NA, I think).