FlightAware Discussions

How Do You Find N-Numbers From Aircraft Decades Ago?

I use to ride with my dad in Skelly Oil’s various planes back in the '50’s. They had two variations of Lockheed Lodestars, one big fat boy and one much smaller. They had a V-Tail Bonanza, my favorite, and later a jet made in Israel which I never got to ride.

I have always wondered what happened to those planes and I can’t find a way to search or even where to begin. I tried the FAA N-Number (I think it is an FAA site) but nothing comes up. The company was eventually merged into Getty Oil but I didn’t turn up anything under that owner name that pertained to these birds.

N numbers on those kind of planes get changed all the time with new ownerships, so it’s kind of difficult to track it that way.
Give me a little more information, like which city they were based at or an N number from back then.

Could the N number on one of them be N66682?

Skelly Oil operated three Lockheed twins:

c/n (construction number) 1240: Lockheed 12A.
History: First flight 1937; operated by MClanahan Oil with registration NC18946. To Le Tourneau Co in 1941 (registration changed?) then to Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1941. Operated by Maritime Central Airways 1944 with registration CF-BXS. Returned to USA 1945 and operated by H G Chatteron trading s Dayton Airways with registration NC18946. Operated by Skelly Oil with registration N18946. To Tetyak Construction in 1961 then John Pace. Crashed on take off from Martrinsville, Virginia in 1963

c/n 18-2226 C-60A (Army Air Force designation for Lockheed 18)
History: First flight 1942; Converted to civilian use and registered NC66682 in 1946. To Skelly Oil, later reregistered N66682. To Tulsa University, Coral Drilling, Dee Howard (1968; Dee Howard was a major modifier of Lockheed twins), Jonnell Leasing (1968), Joyeria Walters S.A. and registered TI-ARD in March 1974. Stored at Panama City Airport from at least October 1973 with “Pan America Freeport” tiles. Derelict on fire dump by September 1976. Removed the TI (Costa Rica) register in 1976.

c/n 237-5371 PV-1 Ventura (US Navy)
History: delivered to US Navy as 33363 in Canada. Delivered to Royal Canadian Air Force as 2211 in 1943. To Howard Aero Services with registration N75381 in 1955. To Champlin Petroleum and reregistered N5C by 1959. Converted to Super Ventura and operated by Champion Oil & Refining about 1961. To Skelly Oil and registered N175SS, to B B Saxon & Co, to Gen Aero, to Sparlinco Corp, to Frank Armstrong, to Pioneer Ventures. Crashed near Chimichagua, Colombia on 15 April 1973 on an illegal flight.

Source: *The Lockheed Twins *by Air Britain


Wow. Thanks for the replies. Is there a link to “construction number”?

You’re welcome.
Not sure what you mean by “link to construction number.” The CN is the serial number of the aircraft (similar to the VIN of a car). The data I got was from a book. I tried a Google search of the 3 aircraft using “Lockheed” and the CN. The only information I found that was useful was at aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=9925 This details the crash of the first aircraft listed above.

Thanks again. Sad ending on the little Lockheed.
Do you have an idea what they meant on the 18 “derelict on fire dump”?
I didn’t know they owned a third Lockheed

I can still see Chief pilot Welch working in grease on the Lockheeds in the hanger every day it seemed.

I still recall taking off on grass runway in Augusta KS thinking that Bonanza would clear the hurricane fence by inches. Great days

“Derelict on the fire dump” usually means the aircraft is being used for practice by the fire fighters. They’ll set it on fire and, hopefully, put it out correctly.

I remember all three planes – I assume you’re talking about Tulsa. Painted gray with red stripe and lettering, I think. At least one of the Skelly pilots was named Punnett. My father (Bruce Crockett) flew a Lockheed 12 (N36P) for Pure Oil Company, parked in a neighboring hangar. I also go to ride with him quite a bit.

The Lockheed 12 he flew was destroyed in a fire on takeoff in the upper midwest quite a while ago. Pure had replaced it in 1960 with a Beech D18. Pure had another Lockheed 12 operated out of Chicago. It was N37P and is now in Australia where it’s been completed restored. Lots of photos on the Internet. Pure also had a PV-1 that landed wheels-up in Moab, Utah (when the airport was located south of town), flown by the company’s chief pilot, to my father’s amusement. No mechanical problem. I think he was busy watching the adjacent cliffs. At least, that what I recall perhaps 55 years later.

Great to hear. Yes, I was talking about Tulsa. The Chief Pilot was Bill Welch and one of his co-pilots was Bob Warren. I can’t remember Steve’s last name who was the mechanic/co-pilot. Our mother was not a very good flyer and Steve held her hand on many trips in the big Lodestar.

I rode many a mile in the big one and the small Bonanza. I’m still looking for the N number of the Bonanza. We use to fly every Saturday to the refinery in El Dorado with Bob Warren and looking back he could probably kill my father for sticking me with him babysitting at the hotel. I pestered him to death about flying. Great days.