First Successful Season For C-1A Trader “Miss Belle”

'Miss Belle' at an air show in 2014. (photo via Doug Goss)
'Miss Belle' at an air show in 2014. (photo via Doug Goss)
‘Miss Belle’ at an air show in 2014. (photo via Doug Goss)

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….

One  of the many former navy crewmen who did time in or on "Miss Belle" during her service life met up with the aircraft during a 2014 show, a regular occurrence for Doug Goss. (photo via Doug Goss)
One of the many former navy crewmen who did time in or on “Miss Belle” during her service life met up with the aircraft during a 2014 show, a regular occurrence for Doug Goss. (photo via Doug Goss)

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.

C-1As Bu.136788 and 146066 in flight over Forbes Field in Topeka, Kansas during August, 2014. This was the first time two Traders have flown together since 1987. (photo via Doug Goss)
C-1As Bu.136788 and 146066 in flight over Forbes Field in Topeka, Kansas during August, 2013. This was the first time two Traders have flown together since 1987. (photo via Doug Goss)
A closeup of the nose art, or more correctly nacelle art, for 'Miss Belle'. The name is authentic, although the Daisy Duke element is a more recent addition. (photo via Doug Goss)
A closeup of the nose art, or more correctly nacelle art, for ‘Miss Belle’. The name is authentic, although the Daisy Duke element is a more recent addition. (photo via Doug Goss)

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.

Doug Goss/pilot
Miss Belle

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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13 Comments

  1. Doug Goss, what is your connection to this type of plane before you bought “Miss Belle”; did you fly it in the Navy or something like that? Just curious. Thank you and keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Doug,
    Lot of water over the dam,since you were flying your T-6 out of the grass strip at Earl Reinert’s Victory Air Museum. Always appreciated you taking me up in your Texan! ( Also doing a spin in a 1941 Taylorcraft with “Hoop DaPulio!”) Fun Times. Best wishes flying your Stufe!
    “Who shot JR,John”

  3. I flew this very airplane with VRC-40 between 1978 – 1983 as aircraft commander, instructor, and test pilot on/off 10 different aircraft carriers, all over the US, Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico amassing over 1,000 accident free hours and over 200 traps, many various missions, including airshows. I always carried my SLR Camera with me and have thousands of pictures as well as many documents on the airplane. Perhaps you would like to talk? I applaud what you have accomplished with the airplane. It looks great!

    Regards,
    Gary

    • Gary, I have 287 ä arrested landings in MISS AMERICA on the USS AMERICA CV-66. 043 was a good bird. Only 89 cats. Over 1500 hours. Love her. Take care of her. I was NATOPS CREWMAN And crew chief.
      Fair winds and followings sea’s
      Paul Sanderson AMH C.

  4. I flew on miss belle three times from 77-80 and was envolved with her as a yellow shirt on the flight deck. Glad to see her in such excellent shape.

  5. Congratulations on restoring a fine bird. I was on the USS Nimitz COD Crew 2-1973 to 12-1974. After sending us TAD to VRC-40 for training we got our own C-1a and shared our hangar space with the various COD Crews when they would return to Norfolk. I remember Miss Belle and got to fly in her during that time as well as the COD from the USS Saratoga, Forrestal and America. I also remember the 792 C-1b with the tail from a Willy Fudd. I got to fly in that one too and I believe she was off the USS Intrepid right before they decommissioned it. I sure miss all the flying in my COD!

  6. 136792 was designated C-1A. Her last overhaul was done by Narf JAX instead of Dotham Alabama. I was selected to fly as crew on her first post rework check flight. She was assigned to NAS Cecil Field. She was later sent to either NAS Lakehurst or Quonset Point and soon was due for another rework. Strangely NARF JAX had lost all the the technical papers for the rework. 792 also had a rudder assist package, but unlike the standard C-1A, it used an actuator from a F-8. 792 did not have a barn door. The rudder assist would just deflect the rudders just a few extra degrees. In order to achieve proper weight and balance the ARC27 UHF Radion was placed under the aircrew mans seat and 600 pounds of lead sheets was placed in the radio’ s original position.

    • Hey MAC u still hanging around? The I’m in Ohio (Dayton) hope ur doing good. Get in touch when ya can
      SANDY (Paul Sanderson) Miss “A” 77-80 AMERICA Crew Chief

  7. I flew as a crewman on this plane from 1980 -1983 on the Nimitz COD crew 146044 at that time it was marked as SALT ONE on the nacelles in big black letters. At 19 years old I was hi and low power turn gualified and taxi qualified and aircrew qualed as well. loved this plane, saw the world trough its windows traveling all over the states and Europe as well as Tunisia, Israel, and Cyprus during the issues in Beirut.

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