May_June_2022 - 32

Makes the Old
New Again
by Walker Jaroch
aking the old new again is the specialty of
Basler Turbo Conversions. Headquartered
in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, twice a year Basler
Turbo Conversions takes a Douglas C-47 and
turns it into a Basler BT-67.
" We have the STC to take the C-47, which is the
military version of the DC-3, and essentially take it,
gut it, strip it and totally rebuild it, " said Joseph Varkoly, president
of Basler Turbo Conversions. " Essentially, it's a new airplane, and
in our minds, it really has an indefinite service plan. The thing
will fly forever. "
The work they do today is a continuation of the first conversion
performed by Warren Basler in 1990 when he replaced the piston
engines of his DC-3s with turbines to meet the requirements of a
US Mail Service contract.
" The US Mail Service said, 'Oh, you got to have a turbine-powered
engine to move the US mail.' So he gets this idea of, 'Well,
I'll take one of my DC-3s, tear off the piston engines and bolt on
some turbo prop engines.' And that's what he did, and low and
behold, in 1990 they did the first conversion. And over time, the
cargo airline kind of petered out and the conversion business
took off, " Varkoly recounts.
Thirty-two years later, Basler is undertaking their 70th conversation
at the time of this article's writing. Varkoly said that they have
the capacity to perform two conversions a year, with many conversations
being custom-tailored to the specific needs of a customer.
32 MAY/JUNE 2022
" No one else does what we do. We've got the STC to do it ... and
over the years, we've developed 32 or 33 STCs, and most of those
are developed by specific customer needs or customer applications.
A customer will say, 'Hey, can we do this with the airplane?' And
we essentially say, 'Well, we'll figure it out,' and we develop an STC
to be able to do that specific modification to the aircraft for the
customer's needs, " Varkoly said.
Additionally, Basler Turbo Conversions has the PMA authorization
to manufacture some 7,000 parts, which are otherwise no
longer in production for the Douglas aircraft. As they need parts
to replace, Basler fabricates them themselves in house.
" It really is a very vertically integrated company in the conversion
process, " said Varkoly. " We do have some subcontract vendors,
but we do our own composite work in house, we've got our own
fab shop here in house. In short of the avionics that we buy from
commercially available folks and communication systems, all the
mechanical stuff is really fabricated by our folks here. "
A Modern Aircraft in an Old Frame
The aircraft come from all around the world to be made into BT-67s.
Some fly in while many arrive on flatbeds. Varkoly estimates there
are likely 600 C-47s left in the world, waiting to be converted.
The conversion process starts by stripping the C-47s down to
essentially nothing.
" We pull out all of the hydraulic lines, all of the interiors, all of
the electrical wiring, everything comes out of the airplane, and it
Their specialty is creating the BT-67, a
unique modern aircraft that's converted
from the 80-year-old Douglas C-47.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May_June_2022

So What?
Industry Inspection
Your Mobile Home
The Hunt for Parts
An Inconvenient Truth
Getting Aircraft on Ground Flying Again
In the Post-Pandemic World, General Aviation is Taking Off
The Dos and Don'ts of Communication System Maintenance
Basler Turbo Conversions Makes the Old New Again
A Promising Outlook for General Aviation
How Naval Aviation is Combatting Its Billion- Dollar Corrosion Problem
Advertiser’s Index
May_June_2022 - 1
May_June_2022 - 2
May_June_2022 - 3
May_June_2022 - So What?
May_June_2022 - 5
May_June_2022 - Industry Inspection
May_June_2022 - 7
May_June_2022 - 8
May_June_2022 - 9
May_June_2022 - 10
May_June_2022 - 11
May_June_2022 - Your Mobile Home
May_June_2022 - 13
May_June_2022 - The Hunt for Parts
May_June_2022 - 15
May_June_2022 - 16
May_June_2022 - 17
May_June_2022 - 18
May_June_2022 - 19
May_June_2022 - 20
May_June_2022 - 21
May_June_2022 - An Inconvenient Truth
May_June_2022 - 23
May_June_2022 - Getting Aircraft on Ground Flying Again
May_June_2022 - 25
May_June_2022 - In the Post-Pandemic World, General Aviation is Taking Off
May_June_2022 - 27
May_June_2022 - The Dos and Don'ts of Communication System Maintenance
May_June_2022 - 29
May_June_2022 - 30
May_June_2022 - 31
May_June_2022 - Basler Turbo Conversions Makes the Old New Again
May_June_2022 - 33
May_June_2022 - 34
May_June_2022 - 35
May_June_2022 - A Promising Outlook for General Aviation
May_June_2022 - 37
May_June_2022 - How Naval Aviation is Combatting Its Billion- Dollar Corrosion Problem
May_June_2022 - 39
May_June_2022 - 40
May_June_2022 - 41
May_June_2022 - Advertiser’s Index
May_June_2022 - 43
May_June_2022 - 44