Beautifully restored by a team of volunteers under the inspirational leadership of Roland van Haarlem, Noorduyn UC-64A Norseman c/n 774 (serial number 44-70509) was displayed outside for the first time during the Military Aviation Spectacle of the Aviodrome museum at Lelystad airport in The Netherlands (EHLE) on 20 September 2011. The serial number indicates the purchase was approved by US congress in 1944. For the tail number only the last digit of the year of approval was used, hence the tailnumber 470509. The aircraft was delivered to the US army on 23 January 1945 and shipped to Europe to serve with the 8th army. After the war it was sold several times and eventually it was discovered by Aviodrome volunteers in France and transported to the Netherlands. A Norseman with c/n 778 was used for spare parts during the restoration. The aircraft is now painted in its original US army livery. Dutch registration PH-SAM was reserved for the aircraft for some time, but has not been taken up.The Norseman is owned by the Dutch Norseman foundation. The link with Dutch aviation is that designer Robert (Bob) Noorduyn (1893-1959) was a Dutchman who became an apprentice with Sopwith in 1913 and later became general manager of the Fokker company in the US. He started his own company in Canadian Montreal with the aim of designing the best bush aircraft in the world. That became the Norseman, of which more than 900 were built.
Glenn Miller mystery and the Norseman
It was on board a Norseman with serial number 44-70285 that famous bandleader Glenn Miller took off for a flight to Paris on 15 December 1944. The aircraft disappeared and no trace of its occupants were ever found. The planned route of the aircraft went through an area used by returning bombers to offload bombs that could not be dropped during their mission. It is thought likely that a bomb hit Miller's Norseman. Royal Air Force pilot Fred Shaw reported that a small plane was seen crashing into the North Sea in that area.
Related links in this EnoAeroPics media gallery:
More images of the Noorduyn Norseman
More images of the Military Aviation Spectacle 2011 of the Aviodrome
The Norseman history site
Biography of Bob Noorduyn on the Aerovision website
The Glenn Miller mystery on the ww2aircraft forum
Theories about the disappearance of Glenn Miller on the BBC website
See the most recent EnoAeroPics images on Flightglobal/AirSpace here