Kenmore Air Seeks Candidate DHC-2 For Project

The company has restored more than 150 deHavilland Beavers in its history.

Kenmore Air
The well-known yellow-and-white liveries of the Kenmore Air floatplanes grace the skies of the Pacific Northwest.Courtesy Kenmore Air

Pilots who live in northwest Washington state know the airplanes that fly for Kenmore Air on sight—with their distinctive liveries, and the fact that a lot of them use the copious waterways and lakes in the region for takeoff and landing. Right now under the current restrictions, the company operates domestic flights only, with that hopefully opening up on June 15.

What folks may not know, however, is that Kenmore has used its expertise with keeping legendary airplanes such as the DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver flying to craft extensive restorations of these models for clients. “We generally look for ex-military Beavers as they were built to a higher standard than the civilian version,” said Rob Richey, vice president of sales and consulting for Kenmore Air. “Even though Beavers do not have life-limited airframes, we do look for low-total-time planes. We are just finishing up one of Kenmore’s original line planes that has more than 40,000 hours on it but a customer generally wants a low-time airframe.”

The DHC-2, N22KK, that Kenmore restored for owner and EAA board member Keith Kocourek is a little unusual, however. “Keith’s plane is a little different, because it is such a high serial number—it was past the time when the US military was buying planes. Thus, his was built originally to the military specs.” Kenmore restored the airplane in 2019 with the hope of bringing it to EAA AirVenture this summer. Instead, the company is looking forward to next year—and searching for more candidate airplanes to restore in the interim.

Richey notes that they have two candidate airplanes in work already. The first, N5344G, had been essentially abandoned on Vancouver Island for many years, and Kenmore snapped it up when it came up for sale. The second, N95RC, had a “tussle with a shoreline in Alaska,” said Richey, and they bought it from the insurance company. “What is different about the Beaver market is we don’t care about damage history—it doesn’t affect the value in other words. It’s more about the shop that does the rebuild. We have done more than 150 rebuilds which is why they are known as ‘Kenmore Beavers’ in the industry.”

While the shop is full for the next couple of months, Richey understands the lead time involved in finding, purchasing, and relocating a candidate airplane can take several months, while the work in process can take 12 to 18 months. If you know of any DHC-2s that could use this kind of royal treatment, contact Richey at robr@kenmoreair.com.

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