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Basler Turbo BT-67

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Basler Turbo BT-67
Two-engine turboprop-driven aircraft on tarmac
Royal Thai Air Force Basler Turbo BT-67
Role Military transport aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Basler Turbo Conversions
Status In service
Primary users Colombia Air Force
Royal Thai Air Force
Produced 1990–present
Number built Over 60 as of 2018
Unit cost
$10 million
Developed from Douglas C-47 Skytrain

The Basler Turbo Conversions BT-67 is a remanufactured C-47 aircraft made by the Basler Turbo Conversions LLC company of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA. The C-47 remanufacturing into a Basler Turbo BT-67 includes a complete airframe overhaul, wing aerodynamic improvements, fuselage and wing structural strengthening, and the installation of new aircraft systems. All changes are covered by FAA STC certifications under extensive testing to FAR Part 25.[1] Dozens of BT-67s are currently in service in the world's most remote areas, including the Polar regions, deserts and jungles.


Basler Turbo Conversions LLC[edit | edit source]

Basler Turbo Conversions LLC was formed in 1988 by Warren Basler. It is a sister company to Basler Flight Service, which was organized in 1957.[2] Before Basler Turbo Conversions went into C-47 conversions, it operated Basler Airlines, a regional airline using C-47 piston-powered aircraft flying local patrons to resorts in Canada on the airline version, and automotive parts between Midwest factories with the cargo version.[3] The Basler operation was a family business with Warren's wife Pat being active in all phases of the business.[4]

Production of the Basler Turbo BT-67 began in the new 75,000 square foot facility in January, 1990 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The first Basler Turbo BT-67 flew in 1990 with a new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67R turboprop engines and Hartzell Hartzell HC-B5MA-3/M11276[5] five-blade metal propellers. Approval of the Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for the aircraft was issued by the FAA in February 1990.The base C-47 fuselage was lengthened by 40-inch plug forward of the wing.[6]

In 1996, Jack Goodale, a Grand Rapids, Michigan aviation entrepreneur bought and invested heavily into the company.[7] Basler founder and BT-67 designer Warren Basler died in a 1997 plane crash while filming the BT-67 from another plane during a marketing photo flight.[8] Thomas R. Weigt retired in 2017 as Basler Turbo Conversions CEO, after serving as CEO for more than 20 years, and Randall Myers became CEO. Randall Myers was formerly Director of production, engineering and maintenance for Basler.

On average, the company completes two to three BT-67's per year, depending on the configuration ordered.[9] As of January 2018, at least 63 Basler Turbo BT-67 aircraft have been produced by the Basler Turbo Conversions company.

Basler Turbo Conversions also supports the DC-3/C-47, with parts and an supplemental inspection program that can keep these airworthy well into the 100,000-hour range. The C-47 nicknamed "That’s All, Brother”, the leader of the formation that dropped thousands of American paratroopers into Normandy on D-Day, is again in flying condition after restoration by technicians at Basler Turbo Conversions.[10] BTC has everything needed to build a brand new DC-3 from scratch, and under its FAA parts manufacturing authority, it now makes more than 8,000 DC-3/BT-67 parts.[11]

Basler Turbo BT-67[edit | edit source]

The airframe is gutted of removable parts, steam cleaned and corrosion-protected; repaired and non-standard skeletal parts replaced.[12] All new systems that are installed includes the Powerplant, Avionics, Electrical Systems, Hydraulic Systems, Autopilot system, Fuel system, Air conditioning, De-icing, Fire protection, Control quadrant, and others that are needed to be replaced.[13]

The modifications and upgrades made under different FAA STC's results in the Basler Turbo BT-67, that compared to the base C-47 is:[14]
• 35% more interior volume
• 43% more useful load
• 24% more speed @ 210 knots
• 76% more productivity
• Up to 100% more fuel capacity
• Lower stall speed
• Lower approach speed
• Fuel mileage equal at equal speeds
• Servo assisted ailerons[15]
• New production disk brakes
• Stage III Noise Certification[16]


Cargo / Transport

The original version of the Basler Turbo BT-67 was envisioned as a modernized transport aircraft. The BT-67 became more successful with different Air Forces that used it as a cargo, transport and parachute drop, firebombing, and cloud seeding aircraft, given the proven versatility of its forerunner C-47.[17]

Royal Thai Air Force Basler BT-67 during Children's Day at the RTAF base Chiang Mai
Policia Nacional Colombiano BT-67 at Villavicencio La Vanguardia.jpg

Gunship

Two Air Forces uses the Basler Turbo BT-67 as a CAS gunship - Colombia[18] and El Salvador[19]. The Fuerza Aérea Colombiana or FAC has its many BT-67 gunships fitted with a FLIR ball on the aircraft nose chin area. [[1]]

Sensors Equipped

Many Basler Turbo BT-67's has been acquired by geophysical survey companies, specially for Polar studies. They have installed sensors and electronics into the aircraft like radars, electromagnetic booms and "birds", and data links. The Alfred Wegener Institute of Germany has two of the most sensors-equipped BT-67's, the Polar 5 and Polar 6.[20]

Spectrem Air BT-67 modified for electromagnetic surveys
Bell Geospace BT-67 with MAD tail boom

Operational History[edit | edit source]

Users of Basler Turbo BT-67 [21]

Air Forces:

Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca BT-67 at Guatemala La Aurora International

Colombian Air Force, 25+ years in service
Royal Thai Air Force, 20+ years in service
El Salvadoran Air Force
Mauritania Air Force
Mali Air Force
Guatemalan Air Force
Colombian National Police


Survey Companies:

Alfred Wegener Institute BT-67 Polar 5 with MAD tail boom

Alfred Wegener Institute
Bell Geospace
Spectrem Air Surveys
ALCI Aviation
Kenn Borek Air
CGG Geophysical Survey
Polar Research Institute of China
Airtec


Others:

Alfred Wegener Institute BT-67 Polar 5 cockpit

Airborne Support - used in Gulf of Mexico oil spill cleanup using oil-dispersant[22]
Aero Contractors
Cargo North


It was also used by:

US Air Force BT-67, 6th Special Operations Squadron

US Air Force - with the 6th Special Operations Squadron[23]
US Department of State
US Forest Service[24]
Bolivia Air Force[25]


Potential New Users:
Mauritania’s air force may acquire a Basler Turbo BT-67 for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) role via Foreign Military Sales. In 2014, the Mauritanian Islamic Air Force (FAIM) upgraded its only BT-67 with an electro-optical (EO) turret and sensor equipment that can provide imagery directly to special mobile phones.[26]

Last July 2018, two Basler Turbo BT-67 FLIR gunships, and two Basler Turbo BT-67 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) aircraft were offered by Basler Turbo Conversions to the Philippine Air Force for its Long Range Patrol Aircraft requirement.[27] The Basler Turbo BT-67 FLIR Gunship was formerly offered in late 2016 for the PAF Close Air Support requirement.[28]

External links[edit | edit source]


Citations

  1. https://www.scribd.com/document/371583706/Basler-BT-67-Brochure
  2. http://www.baslerturbo.com/faqs.html
  3. https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/basler-conversion-revives-dc-3-beyond-its-75th-birth-351025/
  4. https://www.wisconsinaviationhalloffame.org/inductees/basler.htm
  5. https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/basler-conversion-revives-dc-3-beyond-its-75th-birth-351025/
  6. https://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/turbine-charged-1066824/
  7. www.baslerturbo.com/history.html
  8. https://www.wisconsinaviationhalloffame.org/inductees/basler.htm
  9. http://www.jetwhine.com/2009/01/finding-good-news-at-osh/
  10. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/us/thats-all-brother-plane.html
  11. http://www.jetwhine.com/2009/01/finding-good-news-at-osh/
  12. http://www.jetwhine.com/2009/01/finding-good-news-at-osh/
  13. https://www.scribd.com/document/371583706/Basler-BT-67-Brochure
  14. https://www.scribd.com/document/371583706/Basler-BT-67-Brochure
  15. http://www.baslerturbo.com/specifications.html
  16. http://www.baslerturbo.com/
  17. https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/basler-conversion-revives-dc-3-beyond-its-75th-birth-351025/
  18. https://warisboring.com/colombias-ac-47t-fantasmas-are-still-going-strong/
  19. https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1990/1990%20-%203638.html
  20. https://www.awi.de/en/expedition/aircraft/polar-5-6.html
  21. http://www.baslerturbo.com/bt-67-worldwide.html
  22. https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/basler-conversion-revives-dc-3-beyond-its-75th-birth-351025/
  23. https://www.gainesville.com/news/20051027/hurlburt-field-flying-historic-gooney-bird-built-62-years-ago
  24. https://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/firefighting-aircraft-bt--is-safest-most-economical/article_a126020a-297e-5818-8222-29f891e61f25.html
  25. https://journaltimes.com/news/oshkosh-company-recycles-dc--s/article_334dc002-b5f8-5b95-aeb1-3884080b57c6.html
  26. http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52820:mauritania-possibly-getting-bt-67-isr-aircraft&catid=35:Aerospace&Itemid=107
  27. https://www.janes.com/article/81975/philippines-to-bolster-airborne-coin-capabilities-with-broncos-potentially-baslers
  28. https://web.archive.org/web/20161018034226/http://www.janes.com/article/64580/basler-offers-bt-67-gunship-to-philippines/


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