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An old PCC friend departs after 30 years

Story by Janis Nichols. Photos by Marshall Pryor.

When you make the winning bid at an auction, you sometimes have to arrange for a later pick up of your auction item. In this case, that pick up happened at Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus and it involved a WWII-era airplane.

The Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum had the winning bid for the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program’s last remaining Beech 18/C-45 Expeditor from its original air fleet. Last week (June 13), the museum hauled off the important historical aircraft (it saw extensive World War II military service) from Rock Creek to take it to its new life as a static display near the entrance of the museum in Cave Junction near Grants Pass.

After several hours of loading and lashing the “old PCC friend” to a tow trailer by museum staff, the last remaining C-45 left Rock Creek where it had been parked for more than 30 years. Now, it will be a featured aircraft at the smokejumper museum in southern Oregon. The first smoke jumper base in Oregon for the U.S. Forest Service used C-45 Expeditors for 22 years to drop smokejumpers into difficult terrain to fight wildfires.

PCC’s old friend was in good hands, too. This wasn’t the first time that Harold Hartman and his crew from the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum had experience loading a C-45 onto the same trailer and successfully off-loading it at the airport museum.

“Knowing that Harold had done this before was somewhat encouraging,” said Aviation Maintenance Technology instructor Marshall Pryor. “I don’t mind saying that I wouldn’t believe the full load made it to Cave Junction until I got the follow up call from Harold.”


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