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Knoxville Downtown Island Airport, DKX
Knoxville, TN
Home of Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps
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Last revised 3/11/13


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My wife Elaine and I were spending some time in Gatlinburg, TN in Jan. 2013 and someone mentioned the Knoxville Downtown Island Airport. I had never been there, and since Knoxville was the closest place where they were playing "Lincoln" we decided to run up one afternoon.

My stated intentions of "stopping at the airport for a few minutes" were drastically modified when we got there and I could see a DC-3 at a distance in a see-through hangar. Thus began the plan to get past the gates and other handicaps to getting close to such aircraft. My routine, "Hi, I'm Ken from Preferred Airparts in Kidron, Ohio, and I'd sure like to get inside the gate to get some photos," worked again. Usually I start at a maintenance shop because they almost always know Preferred. I like it when, as happened here, they say, "Oh yeah, I know Preferred and I buy all I can from you guys."
Anyway, we got in and I soon learned I was looking at some of the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps fleet, which includes some interesting airplanes. RAM was founded in 1985 by Stan Brock, known to millions throughout the world as co-host and associate producer of NBC's Wild Kingdom, the most popular weekly wildlife series ever broadcast on American television. You can read more about RAM and their history on their web site.
In addition to the aircraft I show, they have a Cessna 208 Caravan, which I believe was donated by Fed Ex, and a couple of Cessna 206's. Elaine and I were shown around by Larry Harris, who is the Director of Maintenance and a RAM pilot. Larry took us over to headquarters to meet Brock and chat with him a few minutes. Now - - to the airplanes! I'll say right now that some of the light conditions were pretty horrendous but I did the best I could.
E-18S Twin Beech N8627A, sn BA-283, 1957
Since it costs less to operate than the DC-3, the Twin Beech is used quite a bit for multi-engine and instrument training and refresher work for the DC-3 crew. It and the DC-3 are in the paint of the Hogan flight operation that operated these aircraft for many years out of Hogan Airport, OA05, Hamilton, OH. They and the Aztec are available to RAM through the generosity of Michael Hogan. It's a fairly original-looking Super except for the cargo door and high-gross tips. We'll do a little walk around including a shot up the left side and one from the left-front. I have lots of good memories of my time in Twin Beechs in forest and mosquito spraying. I remember the time when I was - - !
C-90 King Air N211PC, sn LJ-910, 1980
I'm not sure where the King Air fits into the picture but I'd guess it is used for moving people in the mission of RAM. I believe it has Raisbeck mods with the four-bladed props, dual aft body stakes and etc..
Douglas DC-3C, N982Z, sn 12947, 1943
Built as a C-47A-20-DK it became USAAF 42-93076. Later N98HA for Hoganair and now N982Z. I don't remember ever seeing square-tip props on a DC-3 before. Here's the Ram Airborne logo. We'll hop inside through the forward cargo door, which has the removable panel for paratrooper use. They do some missions where people jump into remote areas to do medical work. They operate under an FAA Part 125 certificate and Stan Brock is still the captain. Their web site says it was operated by the 9th Air Force Division during World War II and participated in the Normandy Landing on June 6, 1944--D-Day.
Inside we see the military style paratrooper seats; the winch at the front for pulling cargo up the sloping DC-3 floor; the radome for celestial navigation (no longer used for that); and the cockpit. Then we have an aft-looking photo; and an exterior shot up the right side, showing the glider-tow type of C-47 tail cone. They took the '3 into the Dominican Republic and then drove into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there. I was DC-3 type rated in 1965 and flew a number of them over the years in forest and mosquito spraying.
Maule M-4-220C Strata Rocket N40606, sn 2135C, 1972
The M-4-220C Strata Rocket has a 220-hp Franklin 6V-350 engine, which makes it a good short field airplane. RAM used it for getting into remote areas in Haiti after the earthquake. It's probably a fun airplane!
Piper Aztec, PA-23-250 N62498, sn 27-7654023, '75
N62498 is probably used for personnel movement and etc. An Aztec is an Aztec is an Aztec. Yawn! Okay "forgive me" but it doesn't have a tailwheel.
Stinson L-5E Sentinel N1962M "Old Sarge," Mfg. sn 76-3851, USAAF 44-17564, FAA says 3851
This L-5 was in the RAM hangar but I believe it belongs to a friend and isn't actually RAM's airplane. It appears to be in the process of being restored. So, here are two poor photos of the whole thing; and then right front; the right side showing the two large "ambulance" doors; the unstreamlined, utilitarian-looking landing gear; the plexiglas top and left side doors; the left front; and finally, "Old Sarge."
The L-5E has manually controlled drooping ailerons to enhance short-field performance. I flew two different L-5's over the years, but only a short time in each. The L-5 presently has no exterior markings to identify it but Jim Gray of helped me. Somebody please let me know if we didn't get it right!
Sure, there were other photo-worthy airplanes there, but since my "couple of minutes" had already evolved into several hours I put the camera away and we headed toward "Lincoln."


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