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 Post subject: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:03 pm 
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All,

I'm looking for additional information or aircraft record card interpretation for BT-13A, s/n 41-11538. I retrieved the attached record card from NASM archives during a March 2015 visit.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vop2l485pxojqgy/41-11538.jpeg?dl=0

During my visit to NASM archives, an archivist provided notes as to her interpretation of the assigned units/locations. Her notes simply stated;

Quote:
4536 Greenville MS
4115 Decatur AL

RFC Reconstruction Finance Corporation

2156th Base Unit, Decatur AL
2120th Base Unit Greenville



I also received the same record card and similar interpretation from the AFHRA.

I've been taking the record card "LOCATION" information at face value, meaning that I've been assuming that is record of the physical location where the aircraft was operated (i.e. Greenville). Recent discussions between our organization and individuals associated with a Greenwood Army Airfield, MS, historical society have questioned the notion that the aircraft was operated in Greenville and was actually operated/based out of Greenwood.

Additional complication to the matter is that we had a WWII veteran (Wayne "Whitey" Johnson) approach us at an event and inquired about the serial number of our BT-13. He came back the next day and claims that his logbook shows he flew our aircraft when he was going through training in Greenville. An interview with Wayne was recorded in which he recounts this air show encounter. Video here for anyone interested;

http://reflections.mndigital.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16022coll21/id/47/rec/29

As stewards of this aircraft, we'd like to ensure we're accurately conveying the history of our particular aircraft, so we're trying to confirm where it was located. Any insight anyone might be able to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Jordan


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:38 am 
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Location: Travis AFB
lets get the "Greenville" correct
there are several in WWII
I can confirm based on accident reports
ref http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/ ... &offset=75

Homebase Location Type aircraft operated mainly
Greenville Av Sch, Taylor Field, Ocala, FL PT-17
Greenville AAB, Columbia, SC B-25, B-34
Majors AAF, Greenville, Texas BT-13A
Greenville, Army Flying School Mississippi BT-13A


Greenwood AAF, Mississippi also operated some BT-13s but also/mainly more advance types like the AT-6, P-40, P-47, P-51, P-63

PS I checked and 41-11538 never had any accidents on file


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:31 am 
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Jordan,
You can be pretty confident the location that BT-13A 41-11538 served at was Greenville, M.S.

The AFHRA CD of the microfilm reel that includes the Individual Aircraft Record Card for this batch of BT-13As shows that 41-11536 to 41-11545 were all assigned to "Greenville" in early December 1941.

Checking each of those ten BT-13As against the AAIR online database index produced hits for seven of them - all which show "Greenville, MS." as home base.
41-11543 is reported as having an accident at Greenwood MS in April, 1943 and its IARC does show and references to Greenwood in 1943 and 1944, but is the only one of the ten IARC's that does.

My interpretation of 41-115438's IARC is that the aircraft served at Greenville, MS from December 1941 to its retirement in March 1944.
You will note "4536" which appears in the right hand columns of the card displayed in the Dropbox link. This is the Station Code for Greenville, MS.

The AAF Station List dated November 1943 shows the following Basic Schools which must surely have operated Vultee BTs:
GREENVILLE ARMY AIR FIELD, Greenville, MISS.
Auxiliary Fields at Yellow Bayou, Greenville Municipal, Falker (difficult to decipher), Kisborough and Indianola.

GREENWOOD ARMY AIR FIELD, Greenwood, MISS.

MAJORS FIELD, Greenville, TEX.

If you wanted to take this further the AFHRA archive should have a Unit Diary for the Basic School at Greenville, MS. - which I expect would contain valuable information.

Hope this helps, Tony Broadhurst


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 9:22 pm 
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Tony,

Thank you for the info. I'll look into the unit diary with AFHRA.

One other question that I have regarding 41-11538. Do you, or anyone else, know if there is a way to correlate the aircraft serial number to a fuselage code? I know Greenville (MS) aircraft had "GR" codes, but I'm trying to figure out the additional three numbers.

I'm now researching our aircraft history via pilot logbooks. I realize it's a long shot, but I have numerous leads on logbooks from pilots who trained at Greenville, MS, including WASPs who were stationed there.

I found a website with a wealth of information for a Lou Prucha who trained at Greenville. Lou's son did an outstanding job of sharing a significant volume of his fathers military history in the form of documents, logbooks, and photos. Available here;

http://www.rgprucha.com/prucha_brennan/ ... i_home.htm

One other interesting find on this website is the Greenville Army Flying School "classbook";

http://www.rgprucha.com/prucha_brennan/ ... sbooks.htm
Jordan


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 9:26 pm 
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Location: Travis AFB
check out
http://www.fuselagecodes.com/

for info about codes


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 9:35 pm 
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I've seen the fuselage codes website, however, it doesn't really give any definitive answer. I'm hoping to find some resource where the assigned fuselage code can be found. Conversely, if someone has experience researching this only to find there is no good resource, then that would be useful to know as well. My limited correspondence with AFHRA has not yielded much useful info, other than the IARC. My contact there said that there is rarely discussion in unit records regarding specific serial numbers, with the exception of accident reports.


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 5:26 am 
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"One other question that I have regarding 41-11538. Do you, or anyone else, know if there is a way to correlate the aircraft serial number to a fuselage code? I know Greenville (MS) aircraft had "GR" codes, but I'm trying to figure out the additional three numbers."

Not without a lot of research, patience and some expense - and a bit good luck!

I researched the Fairchild PT-19As used at a British Flying Training School in Oklahoma. With a number of photographs donated by RAF veterans of the school, plus comparing accident reports and similar sources it seemed likely the original allocation of twenty-plus aircraft received school numbers in a logical order, i.e., No1 was the lowest USAAF serial, etc., etc. This became complicated in time by replacement aircraft which were sometimes reallocated the previous school number. I should add the school rarely had a fleet of more than thirty PTs at any time and they all numbered between 1 and 50 - higher numbers being allocated to the school's BT-13As. I have never had enough resources to do the same research on the BT's.

Greenville will have had a much larger fleet of BT-13s than a mere thirty - which will make your job that much more complicated.

Step one.
Find as many Greenville BT-13 photos as you can.
Step two.
Assess the overall size of the fleet - the AFHRA unit diary may help here and might even include a comprehensive list of serials. (The record of one of the AAF primary schools was that helpful, but this maybe an exceptional example.)
Step three.
Use the AAIR on-line database, using "Greenville" as a homebase search term, and I expect you will find a huge list of BT-13 accidents. This will also provide an approximate overview of the aircraft assigned to the school. Select four (or more) records of accidents with serial nos close to those of your aircraft and order the records through the site. ($30.00 each if I recall correctly.) There is no guarantee but it is not uncommon for the accident reports to include a few photos taken as evidence. With luck you may be able to find enough images to establish whether the school nos were allotted in serial order and a likely identification of your subject aircraft.
Step four.
Do not be too disappointed if none of this works out!

All the best, Tony


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 7:26 am 
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In case you hadn't seen this, http://class45-a.blogspot.com/

On this page, even though the links say "cockpit of a T-6, Beside a T-6", it's actually a BT.
http://squiz63.tripod.com/article.htm


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 8:48 am 
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All that I can add to your research project is this flight line ramp photo taken at Greenville AAF. The s/n's are not discernable but at least you can get an idea as to color scheme utilized on the BT-13's which was a dark blue fuselage and yellow tail. The large white numbers displayed on the aft fuselage are locally assigned and have no correlation to the s/n.

Image

JDVoss
http://www.fuselagecodes.com


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 10:58 pm 
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Tony,

Thanks for your insight! I've just completed going through the AviationArchaeology.com website and pulled every Greenville AAF, MS, accident I could find. There were 145 BT-13A records listed. I found the following serials that should be the most useful based on your recommendation; 41-11536, 41-11537, and 41-11540. Interestingly, 11537 had three accidents over the course of just over a year.

Also, I received scans of three logbooks today. Mr. Alvin Sherman, Mr. Arnold Bernfeld, and Mrs. Lois Boien Durham (WASP). None of which had fuselage codes or serial numbers listed in them to identify the aircraft which they flew on a given flight. Hopefully Lou Prucha's logbook is not in the minority, but it's starting to seem like it might be.

Jordan


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 11:06 pm 
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JDVoss,

I had found that same picture online. Interesting in how many aircraft fuselage codes are visible.

The classbook I had linked in a previous post has numerous pictures, some of which serial numbers are visible on the tail. Worth a look.

Here are a few other pictures of Greenville AAF, MS, that I've gathered.

Jordan

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yopmog9ixbaz4mr/BT-%2013%20at%20Greenville%20Airport%20.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z0k7kjbg08mtxe3/BT-13%20GAAF%20194105112015.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yv20utaptnrwl9u/Flight%20Line%20at%20Greenville.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/txva3n2g4jt5ve7/Greenville%20Army%20Air%20Base%201945.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bxh376xcp4oe16k/Leo%20in%20BT-13.jpg?dl=0


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 5:42 am 
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jdeters79 wrote:
Tony,

Thanks for your insight! I've just completed going through the AviationArchaeology.com website and pulled every Greenville AAF, MS, accident I could find. There were 145 BT-13A records listed. I found the following serials that should be the most useful based on your recommendation; 41-11536, 41-11537, and 41-11540. Interestingly, 11537 had three accidents over the course of just over a year.

Also, I received scans of three logbooks today. Mr. Alvin Sherman, Mr. Arnold Bernfeld, and Mrs. Lois Boien Durham (WASP). None of which had fuselage codes or serial numbers listed in them to identify the aircraft which they flew on a given flight. Hopefully Lou Prucha's logbook is not in the minority, but it's starting to seem like it might be.

Jordan


Jordan,
That is a good start, you have found some potentially useful accident reports. I suggest before you order any ask on the site if they will tell you which of these reports include photographs that would be useful to your project. Tell them what you are trying do and and I hope you might receive some helpful guidance. Not all reports include photographs, but I have had some which did and these were most helpful.

Such records as these and others from the Air Force and National Archives are not cheap, but sometimes it is the only way you find the answers you are looking for. One such AAIR report finally revealed to me why one Fairchild PT-23 is missing from the usual serial list for the type. With no factory records to call upon, that accident report was probably the only available source that could provide an answer.
Cheers, Tony


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 5:54 am 
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jdvoss wrote:
The large white numbers displayed on the aft fuselage are locally assigned and have no correlation to the s/n.

Not unusual at all; I've found photos of two B-17Gs at Hobbs with consecutive serials, delivered on the same date in 1944. 42-102894 was coded 10; 42-102895 was coded 88. :?

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Mechanic: "Flap switch checked OK. Pilot needs more P.T." - Flight report, B-17G 42-102875


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:41 pm 
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Continued research on 41-11538 to try to determine the fuselage code it would have been assigned.

I recently received an accident report from 41-11537 (the first of three accidents on record for this aircraft) which was also based at Greenville AAF, MS. The report contains four photographs of the accident aircraft. One photo was taken from an angle which included the fuselage code on the RH side of the empennage, of course, the image clarity is not great due to copies/microfiche/etc. transfers so the fuselage code is a bit obscured. See here;

Image
BT-13A s/n 41-11537 - 27 Feb 1943 Accident Photo 3
by Jordan Deters, on Flickr

The accident report contains a page from the "FLIGHT REPORT - OPERATIONS" for the aircraft. On that page, there is an annotation in the upper RH corner of "(824)".

Image
BT-13A s/n 41-11537 - 27 Feb 1943 Accident Report pg 6
by Jordan Deters, on Flickr

Looking back at the photo of the accident aircraft above, based on the visible portion of the fuselage code, one could surmise that it was indeed GR824. ("GR" was Greenville AAF, MS, fuselage code).

So my first question to those familiar with these accident report documents, particularly the "FLIGHT REPORT - OPERATIONS", has anyone else seen a correlation of the number in the upper RH corner of the page to the fuselage code assigned to the aircraft at that base? In the example provided above, the "(824)" is on the airplane model line, thus I suspect that they may have been putting the fuselage code there as a convenient place on the page. Given that, it may have been that Greenville was doing this, while other bases were not. Just a hunch, but wondering if anyone else has seen this or been able to confirm this based on photos in a report that clearly match the number in question on the "FLIGHT REPORT - OPERATIONS" page.

My second question also pertains to the "FLIGHT REPORT - OPERATIONS" page. Does anyone know if there is a location where these "FLIGHT REPORT - OPERATIONS" can be retrieved? A large part of my research is to identify pilots who flew 41-11538, hence this report would be a gold mine of personnel information for pilots who flew the airplane. There are no accidents for 41-11538, thus that option is nonexistent.

Thanks,
Jordan


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 Post subject: Re: BT-13 s/n 41-11538
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:55 pm 
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