Westernair Douglas B-23 Dragon
First Albuquerque Visit: 1953
The Douglas B-23 “Dragon” is an American twin-engine bomber that was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company as a successor to and improvement of the B-18 Bolo. The new design included a larger wingspan and wing design similar to the DC-3, and a fully retractable undercarriage, and improved armament. The B-23 was the first operational American bomber equipped with a glazed tail gun position
The first B-23 flew on July 27, 1939 and the production run of aircraft was limited to 38 B-23s manufactured from July 1939 to September 1940. After World War II, many B-23’s were used as executive transports after internal modifications and as a result a large number of the aircraft have survived.
Chevron Aviation/Standard of California in 1949 converted this B-23 for use as a company transport and fuel evaluation test aircraft. Aviation fuels require additives to prevent ice forming in fuel lines due to low temperatures at high altitudes.
In 1953, Chevron and Standard sold their B-23s to Albuquerque’s Dick Duran of Westernair to overhaul and upgrade the interiors. The aircraft were upgraded at the former Coronado Airport which was then located at I-25 and Tramway Blvd. The B-23 aircraft documented at Albuquerque include NC-40008 and NC-56249.
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