Doug Goss recently sent in some details about his Grumman C-1A Trader, Bu.146044. It is rare to see the type in the air these days, with just two actively flying. Nicknamed “Miss Belle” while she was aboard the USS Independence, Bu.146044 was the 74th of 87 Traders which rolled off Grumman’s Bethpage, New York production line for the US Navy. She operated in the COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) role, and saw service during the Viet Nam war while flying from the USS Independence. After performing her duty for just under thirty years, the Navy retired the “Miss Belle” at Pensacola in 1988. Goss and his friend Richard Cronn acquired the Trader in 1999 and formed the company Trader Air to operate her, based in Topeka, Kansas. Unfortunately, the aircraft force-landed in an Illinois corn field in 2002, which caused significant damage to the airframe. Undeterred, the pair spent the next eleven years restoring their pride and joy. She flew again for the first time in 2013, with 2014 being the aircraft’s first full year on the air show circuit. We will let Doug Goss finish the story in his own words…
2014 was a very good year for us. “Miss Belle” attended seven shows ranging from Ohio, Missouri and Texas. The airplane has been performing flawlessly and we now have about 65 hours on our newly-overhauled engines. 2015 is also shaping up to be a good year for our C-1A. Right now we have about ten potential shows on tap once warm weather returns.
Our two favorite shows this past season were Halls, Tennessee, and the show at Dayton, Ohio. At almost every show we run into either a maintenance person or a flight crew member who actually worked on or flew our aircraft “MISS BELLE”. Dayton was no exception….
At this time, I am the only pilot type rated and qualified to fly the C-1. The type rating is designated G-S2 and not too many in the FAA are qualified to give this check ride.
We are not involved with the ride program at this time and always sit static when we attend a show. It’s less wear and tear on the airplane and allows us to focus on the sale of p/x items that support the on going restoration and up keep. We have hauled some veterans on non air show related flights and they are very appreciative of our efforts to save and restore this rare aircraft. At this time there are only two airworthy C-1’s flying. Several others are in private hands, but for what ever reason are not flown.
A little note about the nacelle art…. The red liberty bell and the name ‘Miss Belle’ are authentic for the airplane when she served on board the USS INDEPENDENCE. We added the Daisy Duke girl for grins and it really draws folks to the airplane when we are at shows. You’ll notice she is holding a basket of corn which signifies the corn field landing we had in 2002. To keep peace at home when all the big repair bills were coming in the mail, I had the decal shop place my wife’s photo on the Daisy Duke figure. Her name is Nina and she attends many of the shows we fly to.
Many thanks to Doug Goss for the information and photos of his beautiful C-1 Trader. The website for ‘Miss Belle’ is HERE. Please click below to see some more photographs of ‘Miss Belle’ during her restoration.
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