Douglas A/B-26 Invader

Drug Runners

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The illegal drug trade is a global black market, competing with legal drug trade, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.

A UN report said the global drug trade generated an estimated US$321.6 billion in 2003. With a world GDP of US$36 trillion in the same year, the illegal drug trade may be estimated as slightly less than 1% of total global commerce. Consumption of illegal drugs is widespread globally.

Many of the aircraft used in drug smuggling back in the 70's and 80's were surplus military aircraft.
Along with the B-25 Mitchell's, B-18 Bolo's and DC-3 Dakota's, the On Mark Invader was one such aircraft and specifically the Marketeer and Marksman were coveted by drug runners because of their high speed, long range, and low acquisition cost, thus making them disposable.
The pilots who flew these aircraft were often ex military and knew how to fly these aircraft low and fast, so as to avoid detection by radar.
Frederick "Rik" Luytjes was one such drug smuggler who used the Marksman ( See N99426 ) 
Rik Luytjes was a drug smuggler who led the largest cocaine drug smuggling ring in the US during the early 1980s. Luytjes was able to bring in 10 tons of cocaine into the country over a 4-year period (1980-1984), which was worth over $20 billion. He made himself millions of dollars in the operation. However, when one of the airplanes crashes and kills the driver of a car in the US, police converge on the plane and its pilot. The pilot rats out Luytjes and the entire operation, bringing it down. For his role in the crime, Rik Luytjes was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison.

The story all begins in the early 1980s, when the Reagan administration declared war on drug smuggling in the US. Columbian drug cartels were hiring Americans to fly their drugs into the US. Authorities identified Florida as the main entry point for drugs from Columbia. A sophisticated network of radar systems were installed throughout Florida and the Gulf Coast. The government also put up planes in the air, which acted as radar systems, to catch more drug perpetrators. All suspicious airplanes as well as sea vessels were tracked and targeted. Many of these drug smugglers in the US were very flashy. They had gold chains, expensive watches, and authorities were able to break down on their operation and arrest them rather easily. They busted and arrested many different drug smuggling rings and cracked down heavily on the drugs coming into America.

However, one drug smuggler was eluding authorities and was bringing in several billion dollars worth of cocaine into the country. Authorities searched but couldn't find the smuggler. This was because the smuggler wasn't operating in Florida and didn't fit the profile of a typical drug smuggler. The man authorities were looking for was Rik Luytjes, a businessman living in Scranton, Pennsylvania, who brought 10 tons of cocaine into the US, more cocaine than any other drug smuggling ring in the US. Rik made himself a fortune doing this, earning millions. However, a couple of key mistakes eventually lead to his discovery and arrest by law enforcement agencies.

Ever since a young age, Rik Luytjes was obsessed with flying. He obtained his pilot's license before he graduated high school. After he graduates from college, he forms his own company called Air America. The company owns a number of small airplanes and earned money by upgrading small airplanes to more luxurious models. The company was known for their top notch quality and Rik's business thrives. He donates to local charities, befriends politicians, and even at times flys politicians such as the state governor around in one of his airplanes. Rik definitely does not fit the profile of a drug smuggler but soon Air America would turn into the largest drug smuggling ring in US history.

Rik Luytjes and Air America prosper for quite some time. However, in 1980, a big recession occurs, and business at Air America slows down substantially, so much that Rik has to let go of his many of his workers. He hires other much cheaper workers. These workers, though, have a shady history and Rik eventually finds out they are involved in drug smuggling. One of the workers offers Rik a big cash incentive if he helps them to smuggle drugs in from Columbia. Rik becomes envious as he sees his workers are making millions more than him selling drugs. With Air America on the brink of bankruptcy, and struggling and desperate for cash, Rik agrees and begins to turn Air America into one of the biggest drug smuggling rings in American history.

Rik begins his drug smuggling, piloting the drugs from Columbia to the US. When doing the operation, Rik notices several amateurish mistakes of his clients involved in the smuggling. The clients he works for uses some of the drugs themselves, aren't the most stable of people, and Rik also notices the route he is forced to fly is covered with radars and drug enforcement officials. Rik quits after 3 jobs, but his professionalism brings him to the attention of Jorge Ochoa, one of the prominent leaders of a cocaine drug cartel which operated in Columbia. Ochoa offers Luytjes millions if he can pilot his drugs from Columbia to the US. Still desperate for cash, Lutyjes agrees, even when threatened to be killed by Ochoa if he cheats Ochoa of his money.

Luytjes determines that flying to Florida is too dangerous because authorities have discovered it is the main entry point for drug smugglers from South America. It is laced with radars and Drug Enforcement officials on the lookout for drug smugglers. So Luytjes decides to take another route. He wants to fly all the way from Columbia to Scranton, Pennsylvania, so as to avoid all detection. However, his small plane doesn't have the fuel capacity to make this length of a trip. He knows that stopping in mid-flight to refuel would be too dangerous since authorities might question and search his plane during that time. So Lutyjes decides to modify his Cessna 310 plane, which can only fly 900 miles, to allow for more fuel capacity, so it can last the duration of the trip. So Luytjes modifies his plane so it can store extra fuel in the rubber bladders hidden in the nose of the airplane, under the cabin floor, in the luggage compartments, and in hollow spaces in the wings. He then restructures the plane, due to the extra weight from the fuel. He cranks up the horsepower of the engine, and reinforces the wings and the wheel struts. Inside the plane, Luytjes installs custom radar to inform him of weather conditions and government air controls.

Finally, after three months of planning, and all set, Luytjes takes off from Pennsylvania, taking a direct route to Columbia. Thirteen hours later, he arrives there. The Columbians load his plane with cocaine. After the loading is done, Rik has 800 pounds of cocaine in his plane. With the weight of the fuel plus the drugs, Rik's plane is 2000lbs over the plane's recommended weight capacity. However, with Rik's upgrade of the engine's horsepower, he manages to get the plane airborne and continues with his flight. On his way back, he flys directly back to Scranton, Pennsylvania using the 73rd Meridian flight route, which is the flight path directly north of Columbia right up to the US. Using this route, he stays completely out of all the drug enforcement radars. However, 5 hours into his flight, a navy airplane picks him up on radar and is hot on his tail. Rik, to ward off the navy vessel, goes into the heart of a nearby storm. The navy aircraft refuses to follow and Rik loses him. Two hours later, he emerges from the storm and continues his flight inland to Scranton, Pennsylvania. Once he lands, he gets out the 800lbs of drugs and scores over $1 million in cash.

The cartel is impressed with Rik's operation and has him do regular runs over the next year. Rik continues to cash in and makes millions. Due to this success, Rik wants to expand the operation. He hires pilots to run trips to Columbia for more drugs and by so doing increases flights. For a while, the crew sustains a large amount of success. They never lose a flight, never crashed an airplane, and was always on time.

However, in 1984, disaster strikes. One of the airplanes being driven by a pilot named Jim Cooper crashes into a car and kills the driver of the car. Police realize the plane is loaded with 500 pounds of smuggled cocaine. The police question the pilot. Faced with felony murder charges and life in prison, the pilot decides to give information about the drug smuggling operation in exchange for a reduced sentence. He rats out Rik Lutyjes and the whole Air America operation. Knowing the police is on to him, Rik wires his money to the Cayman Islands and flees there himself. There, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) appealed to local authorities on the island that Luytjes was a wanted man in the US. The authorities of the Cayman Islands cooperate with US law officials and arrest Luytjes and deport him as an undesirable alien in 1987. Once back in the DEA's custody, Rik is charged with conspiracy to struggle cocaine. To avoid a 345-year sentence, he gives up the money he earned from the drugs and give police information on the rest of his smuggling team, all of which served time for their roles.

For this role in the crime, Rik Lutyjes was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison.


Suppied by Tom Singfield




The two main cartel's that operated in the 70's and 80's were the following:

The Medellín Cartel was an organized network of "drug suppliers and smugglers" originating in the city of Medellín, Colombia.

The Cartel operated in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Central America, the United States, as well as Canada and even Europe throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It was founded and run by Ochoa Vázquez brothers Jorge Luis, Juan David, and Fabio together with Pablo Escobar.

By 1993, the Colombian government, helped by the US, had successfully dismantled the cartel by imprisoning,or hunting and gunning down its members.

The Cali Cartel was a drug cartel based in southern Colombia, around the city of Cali and the Valle del Cauca Department. The Cali Cartel was founded by the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers, Gilberto and Miguel, as well as associate José Santacruz Londoño. Later Cali cartel principals included Hélmer Herrera, Jairo Ivan Urdinola Grajales, Julio Fabio Urdinola Grajales, Henry Loaiza Ceballo, Victor Patiño Fomeque, Phanor Arizabaleta Arzayus, Raul Grajales Lemos, Luis Grajales Posso, Bernardo Saenz, Juan Carlos Ortiz Escobar, Jose Quervo, Javier Marlin Rojas, and James Andrae.
Below are some of the aircraft suspected of being involved in the smuggling business.

For history and data on individual Invaders throughout the site, I would like to credit the Warbirds Worldwide Directory by John Chapman, thank you John.

The drug trade in the 70's and 80's in North America was based largely on the imports from Central America and South America.
The aircraft was necessary to have the ability to travel distances non-stop in order to perform these functions and as the cost of purchasing these accessories old was negligible, they were often abandoned when their mission was over ” and is the same pattern seen today, with aircraft like the Cessna Conquest or Beech King Air.
Thus with the arrival in the 70's and 80's of surplus aircraft, we started seeing the likes of B-26, registration N115RG, converted by R.G. Letourneau Inc., Longview, TX (the drilling company from New Orleans), discovered in 1975 in Brazil, found with drugs on board in 1975.
HK-1247P, of J. R. & L. Acosta C. H. Lizcano, found with drugs after crashing on takeoff at Bogota-El Dorado, Sept. 21, 1988.
N202PP, a former French Army Air 44-34568, 1955 of Purolator
Products sold to Pakistan and a Mr. Anwar Khan, of Karachi, found to be drug trafficking in Karachi in 1985.
N240P, of Aircraft Holdings, Miami in 1976 and Earl Parks, Amarillo, (Texas) in 1976, was seized loaded with drugs, by the Sheriff TL Baker Co. Sheriffs Dept. Potter Amarillo January 10, 1977 after landing in strange circumstances, after an engine failure.

N320, which belonged to Rik Luytjes in 1984, he disappeared suddenly in the 70's to reappear in Florida in 1981, Opa Locka, Florida, with the aircraft newly registered as N99426.

N4815E formerly of Tallmantz aviation and Rose Diehl, Chino, found in South America with drugs and then resold to a museum.

N507WB Tradewinds Aircraft Supply, San Antonio, then Milt Stollak, Burbank, CA, found with drugs on board.

N60XX Occidental Chemical Corp., Los Angeles, became N60XY and made a trip to Beirut USA February 13, 1974 before being discovered full of drugs.

N600WB, which was used in France in the 10th Reconnaissance Technical Wing ( USAFE) deToul-Rosiere AB, France in July 1952 and the 737th Maintenance Group (USAFE), Chateauroux AB, France, in March 1954, then sold to the Oklahoma Aircraft Corp, Yukon in 82, and seized by Travis Customs after carrying Marijuana March 17, 1983.

N6836D of Aircraft Associates, Long Beach, CA, was also suspected of trafficking, becoming N71Y and belonging to Jeremiah S. Boehmer, Grants Pass, OR

N61B was sold in Miami in 1984 and crashed during a smuggling operation.

N9682C, which is the current oldest Invader (built August 18, 1944) was declared surplus in 1958 and became a air tanker, then resold and immediately seized by the DEA for trafficing. Today it flies at many air shows in the USA.

Michael Wewers writes, And what did U.S. customs fight back with.....



Serial #: 44-34134
Construction #: 27413
Civil Registration:
  Le Tourneau
Name: None
Status: Display
Last info: 1985


Registered as N4974N
R.G. Letourneau Inc, Longview, TX, 1954-1966.
- Registered as N115RG.
- Executive conversion to Le Tourneau B-26.
Sam Seaton, Fort Smith, AR, June 24, 1969-1970.
- Still On US Civil Register.
- Impounded while Drug Smuggling, Brasilia, Brazil, June 21, 1966-1975.
Transferred to FA Brasileira as FAB C-26B-5176.
Museu de Armes e Veiculos Motorizados Antigos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Jan. 1975-1985.




Serial #: 44-34550
Construction #: 27829
Civil Registration:
  On Mark Marketeer
Name: None
Status: Destroyed
Last info: 1988


On Mark Engineering Co, Van Nuys, CA
- Registered as N7769C.
Canadian Comstock Racing Team, 1962-1967.
- Registered as CF-CCR.
Orange County Airways Inc, Montgomery, NY, 1969-1970.
- Registered as N355Q.
J. R. Acosta & L. C. H. Lizcano
- Registered as HK-1247W.
- Reregistered as HK-1247P.
- Crashed on take-off, Bogota-El Dorado, Sept. 21, 1988 supposedly on illegal drug running activities.

Note: This aircraft crashed in the wetland of Córdoba, Pepe Sierra Avenue Suba, thanks to maneuver the pilot, it did not fall on any residential sector. It happened on climb after takeoff on a left hand turn... It crash landed on a waterline on north Bogotá... They say that the remains of the plane are still on site



Serial #: 44-34568
Construction #: 27847
Civil Registration:
Name: None
Status: Storage
Last info: 2000


Delivered to l'Armee de l'Air as 44-34568, 1955.
- Returned to USAF.
Purolator Products, New York, NY, 1959-1963.
- registered as N202PP.
J. P. O'Connor, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1966-1969.
- Reported involved with Drug/gun running in Pakistan, 1965.
M. Anwar Khan, Karachi, 1970-2000.
- Registered as AP-AVV.
- Withdrawn from use Karachi, put into open storage, 1981.


Serial #: 44-34755
Construction #: 28034
Civil Registration:
Model: A-26B
Name: None
Status: Unknown
Last info: 1978


Delivered to Reconstruction Finance Corp as 44-34755
- Immediately put up for dispossal, 1945.
Superior Oil Co Inc, Chicago, IL, 1954.
- Registered as N67839.
Ken McGee Oil Industries Inc., 19??.
Flint Steel Corp, Tulsa, OK, 1963.
- Registered as N256H.
Mid America Pipeline Co, Tulsa, OK, 1966.
John Rourke, Bartlesville, OK, 1969.
- Registered as N3035S.
Intercontinental Mining, New York, NY, 1970-1972.
Rebel Aviation Inc, Atlanta, GA, MAr. 6, 1976-1977.
Removed from USCR, 1978.

Aircraft thought to have been lost during smuggling operations.



Serial #: 41-39427
Construction #: 7140
Civil Registration:


Grand Central Aircraft Co.

Name: Spirit Of Waco
Status: Airworthy
Last info: 2003


Texas Railroad Equipment Co, Houston, TX, 1954
- Registered as N75Y.
Brown & Root, Inc, 1959-1961
Barnwell Drilling Co, Shreveport, LA, 1963-1967
William V. Wright, Long Beach, CA, 1969-1972
- Registered as N240P.
Aircraft Holdings, Miami, FL, 1976
Earl Parks, Amarillo, TX, 1976.
CAF/Commemorative Air Force, Harlingen (later Midland), TX, May 10, 1977-2003.
- Withdrawn from use, Amarillo, TX, 1978-1980.
- Delivered to Waco, TX for restoration, Aug. 2, 1980-1982.
- Flown as 437140/R/Spirit Of Waco

Note: Ownership history and uses are a little sketchy from 1972 to 1977 but they must have been interesting since the aircraft was seized from drug-runners by T.L. Baker of the Potter Co. Sheriffs Dept in Amarillo on Jan 10th 1977 after a pilot had landed the aircraft on one engine and walked away from the airplane and authorities became suspicious. A testament to this is that at a particular air show a few years ago two gentlemen in dark sunglasses seemed rather intrigued by the airplane; finally one of the gentlemen approached a crew member and asked what color the aircraft had been before Ranger Wing acquired it. When told it was white with grey trim he exclaimed "My God it's the "Grey Ghost"!! We chased that sucker up and down the Gulf Coast!! Never could catch him, he'd drop down on the deck and throttle the engines up and leave us standing there! The two gentlemen were DEA agents!!

I had a great mail from Carl Jenkins regarding N2852G.
Its people like Carl that make this site what it is, with personal insights like this, thanks Carl
Carl wrote:
Hi, I'm Carl Jenkins.  Just signed your guest book.  I've been enjoying your site for some time now.  Noticed you have a new area "Drug runners" and noticed the WEAM A-26C 44-35493 N2852G was missing.  Thought I'd fill in another blank. 
Here are 5 pics of  '493 I took on the impound ramp at NAS New Orleans 11th Sep 1981 during a fuel stop.  '493 kinda stood out amond the other airplanes . Asked a DEA man if he would mind me crawling over the plane and the answer was, "...go ahead I think we've cleaned her out".  The story was '493 was blasting up the Texas-Louisiana coast at a very low altitude and a high rate of speed.  A couple fast movers out of Ellington caught up with her outside Grand Isle, LA.  The bomb doors opened and the load of pot dropped into the gulf.  He was escorted to NAS N.O and landed without any further opposition.  This took place the last week of August 1981.  I was fortunate enough to be passing through a week later and got these pictures. 
Thanks again, keep the Invaders alive...








Serial #: 44-35493
Construction #: 28772
Civil Registration:
Name: None
Status: Displayed
Last info: 2002


Dollar Lines Inc, San Francisco, CA
- Registered as N2852G.
Pacific Flight Service Inc, Angwin, CA, 1964-1969.
Arthur W. McDonnell, Lancaster, CA, Nov. 1970-1975.
- Operated with fog dispersal gear, 1969-1975.
Stencel Aero Engineering, Ashville, NC, 1977.

Sept 1981 - Impounded on the ramp at NAS New Orleans 11th Sep 1981 during a fuel stop. ( Carl Jenkins write up, above )

Oklahoma Aircraft Sales, Yukon, OK, 1984.
John McGuire, El Paso, TX, 1986-1987.
John MacGuire/ War Eagles Air Museum, Santa Teresa, NM, Feb. 17, 1987-2002.
- Registered as N576JB.



Above shot - N320 disappeared off the map in the 70s before re-emerging in Florida in 1981. Possibly having been used by drug runners. It then wound up with Rik Luytjes in 1984, and he was a drug runner! Then later to his buddy Keen Edenfield who also ended up in jail for trafficking. After a couple of other owners it ended up with the Wayne County Sheriffs Dept. in Detroit.




Above, N320 at Homestead AFB in South Florida after being stripped and searched by DEA agents in 1980

Serial #: 44-35870
Construction #: 29149
Civil Registration:

On Mark Marketeer
On Mark Marksman C
Name: The Hustler
Status: Stored
Last info: 2002


Converted to On Mark Marketeer and Registered as N1471V
L.B. Maytag Aircraft Corp, Miami, FL, 1962-1964
- Registered as N320.
- Rebuilt as On Mark Marksman C, Van Nuys, 1963.
National Bank, Tulsa, OK, 1966-1969.
Trinity Industries, Inc, 1969
Confederate Air Force, Harlingen, TX, 1970-1972
Struck off US Civil Register, Circa 1975
- Reported sold to South America.
Noted in ferry markings N99426, Opa Locka, FL, July 1981.
F. J. Luytjes, Dalton, PA, 1984
T. K. Edenfield, Albuquerque, NM, May 1985.
C. H. Midkiff, San Antonio, TX, Sep. 1986.
Outlaw Aircraft Sales, Inc, Clarksville, TN, Apr. 1987
Wayne County Sheriff Dept, Detroit, MI, July 1988-1990
Reported sold in Brooksville, FL, 1992-1995.
- Damaged by Hurricane Andrew, Tamiami, FL, Aug. 24, 1992.
- Open Storage, still damaged, Tamiami, FL, 1992-1995.
Patrick M. Murphy, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1998-2000.
- Shipped to Brisbane, 1998.
- Assembled at Caboolture, Queensland, Apr. 1999.
- Planned restoration to airworthy.
Matt Jackson & Howard Keck, Thermal, CA, 2000-2002.
- Shipped from Australia.
- Arrived dismantled, Van Nuys, Dec. 2000.
- Still in container, Van Nuys, 2002.
- Under restoration, the rumour being that she
 is being fully restored to possibly race at Reno with her power plants being Wright R-3350's  

Michael Wewers writes, And what did U.S. customs fight back with.....

Return of the "Hustler"

December 2000 marked the return of an aircraft that had been created at Van Nuys Airport nearly four decades ago. The aircraft is On Mark Marksman N99426 (USAAF s/n 44-- 35870, c/n 29149) which had been acquired by On Mark in the late 1950s as a possible airframe for conversion into one of their executive Invaders. Purchased through a USAF sale, the 13-- 26C was flown to Van Nuys and parked behind On Mark's hangar to await a possible customer.

The Learjets of their day, the highly-modified On Marks were in demand and before long '870 was picked out for conversion. The new purchaser was L.B. Maytag and the registration N320 was assigned to the aircraft (there probably was a ferry registration applied at the time of the surplus sale but we have not been able to find it). Maytag opted for the full Marksman conversion which meant that virtually a new fuselage was constructed since the aircraft was pressurized. Fuselage height was extended while a DC-6 canopy was installed along with a ring spar, advanced CB engines along with reversible paddle-blade propellers, and many other modifications and additions including wing tip fuel tanks. The resulting high-speed aircraft was a beauty and it was based at Van Nuys across the runway from On Mark where it was parked with Maytag's P-51D Mustang N332.

Completed in 1963, the aircraft did not remain in Maytag's ownership for overly long. In 1966 it went to the National Bank of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it remained registered for three years before passing to Trinity Industries in 1969. According to records, the plane was then transferred to the Confederate Air Force at Harlingen, Texas, in 1970 but by the mid-1970s the aircraft was reported as being struck off the Civil Register and sold to Latin America. During this time period, several modified Invaders passed through the CAR We would appreciate more details of the aircraft's Latin American operations.

By 1981, the Marksman was at Opa Locka, Florida, with the new registration N99426. From that point, it went through at least four different owners. It must be remembered that during the 1970s and early 1980s, the On Mark Invaders were coveted by drug runners because of their high speed, long range, and low acquisition cost. The Learjet quickly made its impact on the business world and the On Marks only enjoyed a few years of dominance before being overtaken by the jets. By 1988, the aircraft was with the Wayne County Sheriff Department but we have not been able to discover why.

During the early 1990s, the Invader was sold to an individual in Florida. During the 1980s, the aircraft had acquired a totally inappropriate USAF paint scheme along with the name The Hustler and some garish nose art. Parked at Tamiami, Florida, the Invader was being offered for sale when it had the misfortune to encounter Hurricane Andrew on 24 August 1992. Along with devastating the entire area and Kermit Weeks's collection of aircraft, the Invader literally had its entire tail "twisted off," much like it had been a model airplane. With the tail ripped off, the aircraft was basically destroyed.

However, the ruined aircraft was purchased by American Pat Murphy who was living in Australia. Murphy had the Invader shipped to Australia where he intended to restore the plane. The ambitious plans never came to fruition and the hulk was eventually offered for sale. The craft was purchased by Howard Keck and Matt Jackson traveled to Australia to supervise the disassembly and crating of the Invader for shipment back to the States. The crates arrived during December and were unloaded at Keck's large hangar which houses his beautifully restored On Mark. Keck intends to utilize components from the plane's QECs to convert his On Mark to CB power.

"It's a shame," commented Matt Jackson, "but the plane was riddled with corrosion from its years in the open. Also, the spar had received major damage." It took Matt only four days to disassemble and crate the plane. The Invader now sits just about 100 feet away from where it was originally parked during the early 1960s. Once required parts are removed, Keck intends to store the airframe at his facility in Thermal, California. Pete Regina Aviation at Van Nuys will build up the QECs.

See: "Return of The Hustler" the original article



Serial #: 44-35505
Construction #: 28784
Civil Registration:
Name: None
Status: Stored
Last info: 2001


Rock Island Oil & Refining Co, Wichita, KS, 1960
- Registered as N4815E.
- Planned conversion to Monarch 26 not completed.
Tallmantz Aviation Inc, Orange County, CA, 1963-1976.
- Modified with lengthened nose for Cinerama Cameras.
Albert Redick, Chino, CA, 1977
On Mark Aviation, Knoxville, TN, 1978.
Rose Diehl, Chino, CA, 19??.
Sold, reported flown on drug run to South america, impounded on return to USA.
John MacGuire/War Eagles Air Museum, Santa Teresa, NM, 1990-2001.

That was about as much use as Tallmantz got out of the Invader. It did earn its keep a few times on some specialized military programs that didn't need the aft camera mounts, or could take advantage of the speed advantage offered by the A-26. As a personal note, in observing operations on the Tallmantz ramp from 1966 to 1976 (when the Invader was sold), I not once saw the Invader fly, nor even have its engines run. The only interest that I saw in the airplane was when someone stole an engine cowling off the airplane.

In 1976 Tallmantz sold the airplane. It first appeared to have been sold to Jim Ricketts, later of Aero Nostolgia fame, but that deal fell through. It was soon sold to Tallmantz employee Al Redick for a sum in the $10,000 range. Al Redick had the airplane moved over to Chino, no doubt the Tallmantz employees waving a fond farewell to their ex-ramp hog. It went through several more owners in the next few years, and reportedly was siezed by the government after a attempted drug run south of the border. According to one source the airplane ended up at the War Eagles Air Museum at Santa Teresa, New Mexico, but that has not been confirmed.



Serial #: 44-35495
Construction #: 28774
Civil Registration:
  On Mark Marketeer
Name: None
Status: Unknown
Last info: 1977


Registered as N2076A
Northern Natural Gas, Denver, CO, 1959-1961.
- Registered as N501NN.
Williams Brothers Co, Tulsa, OK, 1961.
- Registered as N507WB.
T.E. Mercer trucking Co, Fort Worth, TX, 1964.
- Emergency landing due to engine fire, San Antonio, TX, Dec. 6, 1965.
Tradewinds Aircraft Supply, San Antonio, TX, 1966-1970.
Milt Stollak, Burbank, CA, Nov. 1974-1977


Thought to have been lost during smuggling operations.


NTSB Identification: FTW66A0055
14 CFR Part 91 General Aviation
Event occurred Monday, December 06, 1965 in SAN ANTONIO, TX
Aircraft: DOUGLAS A-26, registration: N507WB

 FILE    DATE          LOCATION          AIRCRAFT DATA       INJURIES       FLIGHT                        PILOT DATA
                                                               F  S M/N     PURPOSE
2-1004   65/12/6   SAN ANTONIO,TEX     DOUGLAS A-26        CR-  0  0  2  NONCOMMERCIAL             AIRLINE TRANSPORT, AGE
        TIME - 1425                    N507WB              PX-  0  0  3  CORP/EXEC                 UNK/NR, 9700 TOTAL HOURS,
                                       DAMAGE-SUBSTANTIAL  OT-  0  0  0                            35 IN TYPE, INSTRUMENT
        TYPE OF ACCIDENT                                         PHASE OF OPERATION
           FIRE OR EXPLOSION: IN FLIGHT                             TAKEOFF: INITIAL CLIMB



Serial #: 44-34761
Construction #: 28040
Civil Registration:
  On Mark Marksman
Name: None
Status: Unknown
Last info: 2002


Delivered to Reconstruction Finance Corp as 44-34761
- Immediately put up for dispossal, 1945-1946.
Superior Oil Co, Lafayette, LA, 1954.
- Registered as N67158.
Colorado Interstate Gas, Colorado Springs, CO, 1961-1964.
- Registered as N400E.
Occidental Leasing Corp, Los Angeles, CA, 1966-1969.
- Operated by Occidental Petroleum, Las Angeles, CA, 1966-1970.
- Operated by Holiday Inns Of America, 1968.
Occidental Chemical Corp, Los Angeles, CA, 1970-1972.
- Registered as N60XY.
- Ferried from Beirut to USA, Feb. 13, 1974.
Registered as N60XX, Fort Lauderdale, FL 1976-2002.
- Sale Reported.

Thought to have been lost during smuggling operations.




Serial #: 44-35617
Construction #: 28896
Civil Registration:
  On Mark Marketeer
Name: The Devils Own Grim Reaper
Status: Displayed
Last info: 2002


Delivered to USAAF as 44-35617.
- BOC: May 15, 1945.
- SOC: January 1958
- Assigned to 140th Base Unit, Moody Field, GA, May 1945.
- Transferred to 4160th Base Unit, Hobbs Field, NM, Jan. 1946.
- Transferred to 4135th Base Unit, Hill Field, UT, July 1947.
- Transferred to Ogden Air Material Area, Hill AFB, Jan. 1951.
- Transferred to 117th Reconnaissance Technical Wing (Tactical Air Command), Lawson AFB, GA, Nov. 1951.
-- Modified to RB-26C configuration, June 1952.
- Transferred to 10th Reconnaissance Technical Wing (USAFE), Toul-Rosiere AB, France, July 1952.
- Transferred to 85th Air Defence Wing (USAFE), Erding AB, Germany, June 1953.
- Transferred to 10th Reconnaissance Technical Wing (USAFE), Spangdahlem AB, Germany, July 1952.
- Transferred to 737th Maintenance Group (USAFE), Chateauroux AB, France, March 1954.
- Transferred to 10th Reconnaissance Technical Wing (USAFE), Spangdahlem AB, Germany, April 1954.
- Transferred to 184th Technical Reconnaissance Squadron (Arkansas ANG), Ft. Smith, AR, 1955.
- Transferred to 154th Technical Reconnaissance Squadron (Arkansas ANG), Adams Field, Little Rock, AR, 1956.
- Retired to MASDC, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 1957.
Unknown Owner, 19??.
- Registered as N7660C.
Ridge Associates Inc, Flint, MI, 1961-1963.
- Registered as N600WB.
Mid America Air Transport, Chicago, IL, 1966.
Red Dodge Aviation Inc, Anchorage, AK, 1969-1972.
John Steinmetz, Griffin, GA, 1977.
Oklahoma Aircraft Corp, Yukon, OK, July 6, 1982-1987.
On March 17, 1983 the plane was seized by United States Marshalls in a drug raid in California, carrying a heavy load of marijuana. The Air Force flew the aircraft to Travis AFB, California, where it was placed in temporary storage. On January 3, 1984 a federal judge returned the plane to USAF control, but it remained at Travis for several years. Air Force personnel there repainted the aircraft in original USAF markings and placed it on static display. 
- Returned to USAF control by a federal judge, 1984.
USAFM, Travis AFB, CA, 1987-1991.
Hill Aerospace Museum, Hill AFB, UT, 1992-2002.
- Displayed as 435617/BC-617/N/The Devils Own Grim Reaper.
- Fitted with 8-gun nose.




Serial #: 44-34390
Construction #: 27669
Civil Registration:
  Monarch 26
Name: None
Status: Unknown
Last info: 1978



Delivered to French AF as 44-34390.
- BOC: Feb. 16, 1954.
- Based in Indochina.
- Returne to USAF, Nov. 10, 1955.
Open storage, Clark AFB, Phillippines, 1955-1958.
Rock Island Oil & Refining Co, Wichita, KS, 1959-1969.
- Registered as N6836D.
- Converted to Monarch 26 configuration, Hutchinson, KS, 1960.
Wells Aircraft Inc., Hutchinson, KS, 1970-1972.
Stored in EPA compound, Las Vegas, NV, 1975-1976.
Edron Co., Las Vegas, NV, 1977.
Aircraft Associates, Long Beach, CA, Apr. 13, 1978.

Thought to have been lost during smuggling operations.




Bogota Eldorado - SKBO Colombia in Feb 1998

Serial #: 41-39497
Construction #: 7210
Civil Registration:

  On Mark
Name: None
Status: Derelict
Last info: 2002


Alex Oser, circa 1950.
- Acquired from USAF as scrap.
Texas Railroad Equipment Co, Houston, TX, 1952.
- Registered as N71Y.
Eastern Aircraft Sales, New York, NY, 1953.
- Planned sale to French AF.
Standard Oil Co, Chicago, IL, 1954-1964.
Ralph D. Tait, Greensburg, PA, 1966.
Aviation Inc, Charleston, WV, 1969-1972.
Impounded Bogota-El Dorado AB, for suspected drug running, Colombia, 1975-1995.
Robert Kelley, Inglewood, CA, 1977
Registered as HK-?.
Jeremiah S. Boehmer, Grants Pass, OR, Feb. 1985-2002.
- Reregistered as N71Y.
- Remained impounded Bogota-El Dorado AB, Colombia, 1975-1995.
Derelict by 1995.



Serial #: 43-22281
Construction #: 18428
Civil Registration:

On Mark Marketeer
Name: None
Status: Unknown
Last info: 1984

See The Special feature " The parker '26 on the opening page of this site


Registered as N94A
Parker Pen Co., Janesville, WI, 1961-1963.
- Registered as N61B.
Kwiki Systems Inc, Leawood, KS, 1966.
On Mark Engineering Corp, Van Nuys, CA, 1969.
North American Rockeewell Corp, El Segundo, CA, 197-1977.
Sale reported, Miami, FL, 1984.

Thought to have crashed or been abandoned during drug smuggling operations.


NTSB Identification: MKC68F0538
14 CFR Part 91 General Aviation
Event occurred Saturday, March 16, 1968 in KANSAS CITY, KS
Aircraft: DOUGLAS A-26, registration: N61B

 FILE    DATE          LOCATION          AIRCRAFT DATA       INJURIES       FLIGHT                        PILOT DATA
                                                               F  S M/N     PURPOSE
3-0830  68/3/16    KANSAS CITY,KANS    DOUGLAS A-26        CR-  0  0  2  NONCOMMERCIAL             PRIVATE, AGE 38, 7642
        TIME - 1630                    N61B                PX-  0  0  2  PRACTICE                  TOTAL HOURS, 820 IN TYPE,
                                       DAMAGE-SUBSTANTIAL  OT-  0  0  0                            INSTRUMENT RATED.
        TYPE OF ACCIDENT                                         PHASE OF OPERATION
           GEAR COLLAPSED                                           TAXI: TO TAKEOFF



Serial #: 41-39230
Construction #: 6943
Civil Registration:
Name: Lady Liberty
Status: Airworthy
Last info: 2007


H. R. Wells
- Registered as N9682C.
Flight Inc, Dallas TX, 1963-1966.
D & D Aero Spraying Inc., Rantoul, KS, 1969-1980.
- Flew as Tanker #105.
Harley Wilke/Confederate Air Force, Harlingen, TX, 1980-1982.
CAF/Commemorative Air Force, Harlingen (later Midland), TX, Aug.21, 1982-2007.
- Flew as 13930/P/Panhandler's Pride.
- Long term restoration, North Vegas, NV, 1988-1996.
- Fitted with A-26C nose.
- First Flight, June 10, 1996.
- Flew as 139230/N/Vegas Vixen.
- Renamed Lady Liberty, 2003.

41-39230 is the oldest flying Invader. It was the 130th one produced, being accepted on 18 Aug, 1944, at Long Beach, California. It was flown to Great Dunmow, England on 20 Sep, 1944. It was immediately assigned to the 9th Air Force. The USAF Historical Squadron at Maxwell AFB does not have specific unit history of the aircraft. We have a letter written by a Colonel that says this aircraft was assigned to the 410th Bomb Group and began combat operations in early 1945. The 410th was initially assigned 4 A-26's. Each squadron was given one aircraft. They were painted completely black and initially used as night interdiction aircraft ranging all over Germany.

Today the plane still has patches in the tail that were attributed to encounters with German night fighters.

After WWII it was flown to Hobbs, NM and stored. After some refurbishment it was assigned to an Air Force Reserve unit in Georgia for three years. The aircraft was declared surplus and sold in 1958. After serving as a radio research aircraft for Texas Instruments in Dallas it was sold to Bill Dempsey in Rantoul, Kansas and used as a fire bomber. Tanker 8 was rarely flown and was eventually sold. It was seized by DEA for drug running. The aircraft was purchased at auction and donated to the CAF. After some time with the Panhandle (Texas) Wing it was transferred to the Nevada wing in Las Vegas. After some restoration it was transferred to the A-26 Sponsorship Group and returned to flight status. In 1999 it was relocated to Oklahoma City. After additional maintenance it has been a regular on the airshow circuit.