Douglas C-47A Skytrain

Douglas C-47A Skytrain

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Douglas C-47A Skytrain

The Douglas C-47A Skytrain was produced in larger numbers than any other version of the C-47, and with 5,253 built represented nearly half of the total production run of 10,654 aircraft in the DC-3 family. The majority of these aircraft were ordered during 1942, and they were built in large numbers at Douglas’s factories in Long Beach (2,954 aircraft) and Oklahoma City (2,299 aircraft).

The only difference between the C-47A and the earlier C-47 was the replacement of the original 12 volt electrical system with a 24 volt system, and the use of better cabin heating.

After the Second World War the USAAF was left with vast numbers of C-47As. Although most of these aircraft were quickly sold off as surplus, a large number remained in the Air Force, where they were put to use in a variety of unusual ways.


The VC-47A was a staff transport with conventional airline style seating replacing the normal seats of the C-47.

SC-47 (HC-47 from 1962)

The SC-47 was a search and rescue aircraft, equipped with inflatable life rafts, flares, food supplies and other survival and rescue equipment. The SC-47 would search for the survivors of a crash at sea, drop a liferaft and supplies, and the rescue would then be carried out by either an amphibious aircraft of a helicopter.

AC-47 (1953-62), RC-47 (1962), EC-47 (1962-)

The first version of the C-47 to be designated as the AC-47 was an electronic warfare aircraft, used to monitor radio and radar frequencies, originally for use against the Soviets. It saw active service in Korea, where it was used to both monitor communications and drop flares to support tactical airpower, and in Vietnam, by which time it had been redesignated as the EC-47.

Statistics (standard C-47A)
Engines: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp x2
Power: 1,200 each
Wing span: 95ft 6in
Length: 63ft 9in
Height: 17ft 0in
Empty weight: 17,865lb
Loaded weight: 26,000lb
Maximum weight: 31,000lb
Maximum speed: 230mph at 8,800ft
Cruising speed: 170mph
Normal range: 1,600 miles
Maximum range: 3,800 miles

Naples International Airport

Naples International Airport (IATA: NAP, ICAO: LIRN) (Italian: Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli) is the international airport serving Naples and the Southern Italian region of Campania. According to 2019 data, [3] the airport is the fifth-busiest airport in Italy and the first one in Southern Italy. The airport serves as a base for easyJet, Ryanair and Volotea. [4] Located 3.2 NM (5.9 km 3.7 mi) north-northeast [1] of the city in the San Pietro a Patierno quarter of Naples, the airport is officially named Aeroporto di Napoli-Capodichino Ugo Niutta, after decorated WWI pilot Ugo Niutta.


The C-47 differed from the civilian DC-3 in numerous modifications, including being fitted with a cargo door, hoist attachment, and strengthened floor, along with a shortened tail cone for glider-towing shackles, and an astrodome in the cabin roof. [3] [4]

During World War II, the armed forces of many countries used the C-47 and modified DC-3s for the transport of troops, cargo, and wounded. The U.S. naval designation was R4D. More than 10,000 aircraft were produced in Long Beach and Santa Monica, California and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Between March 1943 and August 1945, the Oklahoma City plant produced 5,354 C-47s. [2] [5]

The specialized C-53 Skytrooper troop transport started production in October 1941 at Douglas Aircraft's Santa Monica plant. It lacked the cargo door, hoist attachment, and reinforced floor of the C-47. Only 380 aircraft were produced in all because the C-47 was found to be more versatile.

Super DC-3 (R4D-8) Edit

Large numbers of DC-3s and surplus C-47s were in commercial use in the United States in the 1940s. In response to proposed changes to the Civil Air Regulations airworthiness requirements that would limit the continuing use of these aircraft, Douglas offered a late-1940s DC-3 conversion to improve takeoff and single-engine performance. This new model, the DC-3S or "Super DC-3", was 39 in (0.99 m) longer. It allowed 30 passengers to be carried, with increased speed to compete with newer airliners. The rearward shift in the center of gravity led to larger tail surfaces and new outer, swept-back wings. More powerful engines were installed along with shorter, jet ejection-type exhaust stacks. These were either 1,475 hp (1,100 kW) Wright R-1820 Cyclones or 1,450 hp (1,081 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2000 Twin Wasps in larger engine nacelles. Minor changes included wheel-well doors, a partially retractable tailwheel, flush rivets, and low-drag antenna. These all contributed to an increased top speed of 250 mph (400 km/h 220 kn). With greater than 75% of the original DC-3/C-47 configuration changed, the modified design was virtually a new aircraft. [6] The first DC-3S made its maiden flight on 23 June 1949. [7]

The changes fully met the new FAR 4B airworthiness requirements, with significantly improved performance. However, little interest was expressed by commercial operators in the DC-3S. It was too expensive for the smaller operators that were its main target only three were sold to Capital Airlines. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps had 100 of their R4D aircraft modified to Super DC-3 standards as the R4D-8, later redesignated the C-117D. [8]

World War II Edit

The C-47 was vital to the success of many Allied campaigns, in particular, those at Guadalcanal and in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma, where the C-47 and its naval version, the R4D, made it possible for Allied troops to counter the mobility of the light-traveling Japanese Army. C-47s were used to airlift supplies to the encircled American forces during the Battle of Bastogne in Belgium. Possibly its most influential role in military aviation, however, was flying "The Hump" from India into China. The expertise gained flying "The Hump" was later used in the Berlin Airlift, in which the C-47 played a major role until the aircraft were replaced by Douglas C-54 Skymasters. [ citation needed ]

In Europe, the C-47 and a specialized paratroop variant, the C-53 Skytrooper, were used in vast numbers in the later stages of the war, particularly to tow gliders and drop paratroops. During the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, C-47s dropped 4,381 Allied paratroops. More than 50,000 paratroops were dropped by C-47s during the first few days of the D-Day campaign also known as the invasion of Normandy, France, in June 1944. [9] In the Pacific War, with careful use of the island landing strips of the Pacific Ocean, C-47s were used for ferrying soldiers serving in the Pacific theater back to the United States.

About 2,000 C-47s (received under Lend-Lease) in British and Commonwealth service took the name "Dakota", possibly inspired by the acronym "DACoTA" for Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft. [10]

The C-47 also earned the informal nickname "gooney bird" in the European theatre of operations. [11] Other sources [12] attribute this name to the first aircraft, a USMC R2D—the military version of the DC-2—being the first aircraft to land on Midway Island, previously home to the long-winged albatross known as the gooney bird which was native to Midway.

Postwar era Edit

The United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command had Skytrains in service from 1946 through 1967. The US Air Force's 6th Special Operations Squadron was flying the C-47 until 2008.

With all of the aircraft and pilots having been part of the Indian Air Force prior to independence, both the Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force used C-47s to transport supplies to their soldiers fighting in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1947.

After World War II, thousands of surplus C-47s were converted to civil airline use, some remaining in operation in 2012, as well as being used as private aircraft.

Vietnam War Edit

Several C-47 variations were used in the Vietnam War by the United States Air Force, including three advanced electronic-warfare variations, which sometimes were called "electric gooneys" designated EC-47N, EC-47P, or EC-47Q depending on the engine used. In addition, HC-47s were used by the 9th Special Operations Squadron to conduct psychological warfare operations over South Vietnam and Laos. Miami Air International, Miami International Airport was a USAF military depot used to convert the commercial DC-3s/C-47s into military use. They came in as commercial aircraft purchased from third-world airlines and were completely stripped, rebuilt, and reconditioned. Long-range fuel tanks were installed, along with upgraded avionics and gun mounts. They left as first-rate military aircraft headed for combat in Vietnam in a variety of missions. [Note 1] EC-47s were also operated by the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian Air Forces. [14] A gunship variation, using three 7.62 mm miniguns, designated AC-47 "Spooky", often nicknamed "Puff the magic dragon", also was deployed. [11]

31 December 1985

31 December 1985: At 5:14 p.m., Central Standard Time, a Douglas DC-3C, N711Y,¹ crash-landed in a field near DeKalb, Texas. The airplane struck a wire and several trees and was extensively damaged. The airplane, already on fire, was completely destroyed.

The pilot and co-pilot escaped through cockpit windows, but all seven passengers, including singer Rick Nelson, died.

N711Y was a Douglas C-47A-25-DK Skytrain twin-engine military transport, serial number 42-108981, built at the Midwest City Douglas Aircraft Company Plant, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, circa 1943–1944. Following U.S. military service, the transport was operated in Brazil. The Skytrain had been converted to a civil DC-3C in 1959, and registered N136H. At one time the airplane had been owned by the DuPont family, and later by singer Jerry Lee Lewis. It was registered to the Century Equipment Co., Los Angeles, California, 13 March 1981.

Rick Nelson’s Douglas DC-3C, N711Y. (Thomas P. McManus via lostflights)

At 5:08 p.m., the pilot informed Air Traffic Control that he had a problem and was going to divert from the intended destination of Dallas, Texas, to Texarkana. At 5:11 p.m., ATC received a call from N711Y saying that there was smoke in the cockpit. At 5:12 p.m., it was seen on radar at an altitude of 600 feet (183 meters). The airplane disappeared from radar at 5:14 p.m.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane descending in a left turn to line up with a farm field. It was trailing smoke. Small pieces of metal fell off which started several small fires. The DC-3 struck two power wires suspended about 30 feet (9 meters) above the ground, then a utility pole and several trees.

The pilot and co-pilot, who were both severely burned, gave differing statements as to what had occurred. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation found that there had been an in-flight fire in the passenger cabin which had probably started in the on-board cabin heater. The board concluded that the pilot in command did not follow proper procedures or check lists.

Burned-out wreckage of Douglas DC-3C N711Y. (Unattributed)

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain is an all-metal twin-engine, low wing monoplane transport with retractable landing gear. It was operated by a minimum flight crew of two pilots, a navigator and a radio operator. The wing is fully cantilevered and the fuselage is of semi-monocoque construction. Control surfaces are fabric-covered. The C-47A variant used a 24-volt electrical system.

The C-47 is 64 feet, 5½ inches (19.647 meters) long with a wingspan of 95 feet (28.956 meters) and height of 17 feet (5.182 meters). The wing center section is straight, but outboard of the engine nacelles there is 5º dihedral. The wings’ leading edges are swept aft 15.5°. The trailing edges have no sweep. Empty weight of the C-47A is 17,257 pounds (7,828 kilograms) and the maximum takeoff weight is 29,300 pounds (13,290 kilograms).

The C-47 is powered by two 1,829.4-cubic-inch-displacement (29.978 liter) air-cooled, supercharged R-1830-92 (Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G) two-row 14-cylinder radial engines. These had a maximum continuous rating for normal operation was 1,060 horsepower at 2,550, up to 7,500 feet (2,286 meters), and 1,200 horsepower at 2,700 r.p.m., at Sea Level, for takeoff. Each engine drives a three-bladed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic constant-speed full-feathering propeller with a diameter of 11 feet, 6 inches (3.505 meters) through a 16:9 gear reduction. The R-1830-92 is 48.19 inches (1.224 meters) long, 61.67 inches (1.566 meters) in diameter, and weighs 1,465 pounds (665 kilograms). (N711Y had been re-engined with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-75 engines, rated at 1,350 horsepower at 2,800 r.p.m.)

The C-47 has a cruising speed of 185 miles per hour (298 kilometers per hour) at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and service ceiling of 24,100 feet (7,346 meters).

The C-47 could carry 6,000 pounds (2,722 kilograms) of cargo, or 28 fully-equipped paratroopers. Alternatively, 14 patients on stretchers could be carried, along with three attendants.

The C-47A served with the United States Air Force until 1971. Hundreds of C-47s and DC-3s are still operational, worldwide.

Crash site of Douglas DC-3C N711Y, near DeKalb, Texas. (Unattributed)

¹ N711Y was registered to Century Equipment, Inc., Los Angeles, California. The airplane was sold to Rick Nelson on 2 May 1985, but was never re-registered.

3 May 1952

LCOL William P. Benedict and LCOL Joseph O. Fletcher in cockpit of C-47 enroute the North Pole, 3 May 1952.

3 May 1952: A ski-equipped United States Air Force Douglas C-47A Skytrain, piloted by Lieutenant Colonels William P. Benedict and Joseph O. Fletcher, USAF, was the first airplane to land at the North Pole.¹ The navigator was 1st Lieutenant Herbert Thompson. Staff Sergeant Harold Turner was the flight engineer and Airman 1st Class Robert L. Wishard, the radio operator.

Also on board was Arctic research scientist Dr. Albert P. Crary and his assistant, Robert Cotell. Additional personnel were Fritza Ahl, Master Sergeant Edison T. Blair and Airman 2nd Class David R. Dobson.

Colonel Fletcher was commanding officer of the 58th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Eielson Air Force Base, Fairbanks, Alaska. He was responsible for establishing Drift Ice Stations within the polar ice cap for remote weather observation bases. Ice Island T-3 was renamed Fletcher’s Ice Island in his honor. He became a world authority on Arctic weather and climate. Various geographic features, such as the Fletcher Abyssal Plain in the Arctic Ocean, and the Fletcher Ice Rise in the Antarctic are also named for him.

Crew and passengers of the C-47A Skytrain, 43-15665, at The North Pole, 3 May 1952. (A2C David R. Dobson, United States Air Force, via

The airplane flown on this expedition was Douglas C-47A-90-DL Skytrain 43-15665.

The Douglas C-47 in the photograph below is similar to the Skytrain that Benedict and Fletcher landed at the North Pole, however it is a screen image from the RKO/Winchester Pictures Corporation motion picture, “The Thing from Another World,” which was released just one year earlier, 29 April 1951. Howard Hawks’ classic science fiction film involves an Air Force C-47 Skytrain crew that flies in support of a remote Arctic research station.

Screen Image of a ski-equipped Douglas C-47 Skytrain, “Tropical Tilly.” (RKO Pictures)

The Douglas C-47A Skytrain is an all-metal twin-engine, low wing monoplane transport with retractable landing gear. It was operated by a minimum flight crew of two pilots, a navigator and a radio operator. The wing is fully cantilevered and the fuselage is of semi-monocoque construction. Control surfaces are fabric-covered.

The C-47 is 64 feet, 5½ inches (19.647 meters) long with a wingspan of 95 feet (28.956 meters) and height of 17 feet (5.182 meters). Empty weight of the C-47A is 17,257 pounds (7,828 kilograms) and the maximum takeoff weight is 29,300 pounds (13,290 kilograms).²

The C-47A is powered by two 1,829.4-cubic-inch-displacement (29.978 liter) air-cooled, supercharged R-1830-92 (Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G) two-row 14-cylinder radial engines. These were rated at 1,200 horsepower at 2,700 r.p.m. at Sea Level for takeoff. The maximum continuous rating for normal operation was 1,060 horsepower at 2,550, up to 7,500 feet (2,286 meters). Each engine drives a three-bladed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic constant-speed full-feathering propeller with a diameter of 11 feet, 6 inches (3.505 meters) through a 16:9 gear reduction. The R-1830-92 is 48.19 inches (1.224 meters) long, 61.67 inches (1.566 meters) in diameter, and weighs 1,465 pounds (665 kilograms).

The C-47 has a cruising speed of 185 miles per hour (298 kilometers per hour) at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and service ceiling of 24,100 feet (7,346 meters).

The C-47-DL could carry 6,000 pounds (2,722 kilograms) of cargo, or 28 fully-equipped paratroopers. Alternatively, 14 patients on stretchers could be carried, along with three attendants.

43-15665 crashed on Fletcher’s Ice island 3 November 1952. It has since sunk to the floor of the Arctic Ocean.

Derelict C-47A 43-15665 at T-3, Fletcher’s Ice Island.

¹ At least one source states that a Soviet expedition aboard three Lisunov Li-2 transports (a license-built Douglas DC-3) landed near the North Pole on 23 April 1948.

² Data from AAF Manual 51-129-2, Pilot Training Manual for the C-47 Skytrain

C-47A “Skytrain”

NUMBER BUILT : Douglas built a total of 10,047 C-47s and derivatives. This does not include 149 civil aircraft impresses before delivery.

Powerplant: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp, 14-cylinder radial air-cooled engines, 1,200 horsepower each.

Weight: Empty 16,970 lbs., Maximum takeoff weight 26,000 lbs.

Dimensions: Wingspan 95′, Length 64’5″, Height 16’11″.

Performance: Maximum speed 229 MPH at 8,500 feet, Cruising speed 185 MPH at 10,000 feet, Service ceiling 24,100 feet.

Significance of Type

The first DC-3s were ordered by the USAAF in 1941 under the designation C-47, but there was no way to predict that simple designation would become a legend, that over 10,000 would be built and that the plane would be listed by General Dwight Eisenhower as one of the four pieces of equipment “most vital to our success in Africa and Europe.” There were countless modifications to the C-47 fleet, some taking place at the factory and some in the field. There were VIP transports (designated VC-47A/B) and there were SC-47s used as search and rescue aircraft. Several C-47s were fitted with pontoons and redesignated C-47C. There were trainer versions designated TC-47 and reconnaissance versions designated RC-47. After World War II the C-47s were used in the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Many DC-3 and C-47s are still in operation, nearing the end of their first half century of service and looking like they could go another half century. On 7 July 1971 SAC’s last C-47 was transferred to the USS Alabama Monument Commission. This VC-47D had been assigned to the 97th Bomb Wing, Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas. Since its organization on 21 March 1946, SAC had continuously used C-47s’ or “Gooney Birds” as they were usually called, for support and administrative purposes.

About Our C-47A, S/N 43-48098 : The Museum’s C-47 was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and delivered to the USAAF on July 14, 1944. Below are the unit assignments of this aircraft:

July 1944- To Troop Carrier Command Staging Area, Baer AAF, Indiana

March 1945- To 815th AAF Base Unit (Troop Carrier Combat Crew Training Station, TCC), Malden AAF, Missouri

April 1945- To 4000th AAF Base Unit (Air Technical Service Command), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

February 1946- To 4105th AAF Base Unit (ATSC), Davis-Monthan AAF, Arizona (storage)

September 1950- To San Bernardino Air Materiel Area, Norton AFB, California

November 1950- To 1050th Air Base Wing (Headquarters USAF Command), Andrews AFB, Maryland

August 1952- To 1401st Air Base Wing (Military Air Transport Service), Andrews AFB (deployment to Ernest Harmon AFB, Newfoundland)

October 1957- To 1405th Air Base Wing (MATS), Scott AFB, Illinois

August 1959- To 63rd Troop Carier (Heavy) Wing (MATS), Donaldson AFB, South Carolina

March 1963- To 1608th Air Transport Wing (MATS), Charleston AFB, South Carolina

January 1966- Unit became 437th Military Airlift Wing

November 1966- To 21st Composite Wing (Alaskan Air Command), Elmendorf AFB, Alaska

October 1969- Dropped from inventory by transfer to the Strategic Air & Space Museum

Douglas C-47A Skytrain - History

From 1941 thru to 1945 a total of 10.048 were purchased by the USAAF and US Navy. Plus some 2.700 were built in the Soviet Union as the Lisinov Li-2. Additonally, another 1.900 flew in the 25 RAF squadrons as the 'Dakota'.

Serial numbers:
41-7722 thru -7866 41-18337 thru -18699 41-19463 thru -19499 41-38564 thru -38763.
42-5635 thru -5704 42-23300 thru -24419 42-32786 thru -32935 42-92024 thru -93823
42-100436 thru -101035 42-10879 (. ) thru -108993
43-15033 thru -15432 43-47963 thru -48640 43-48642 thru -49032 43-49034 thru -49267
43-49269 thru -49350 43-49352 thru -49374 43-49376 thru -49702 43-49704 thru -49759
43-49761 thru -49789 43-49971 (. ) thru -49807 43-49809 thru -49813, 43-49815 thru -49831
43-49833 thru -49851 43-49853 thru -49879 43-49881 thru -49902 43-49904 thru -49920
43-49922 thru -49938 43-49940 thru -49955 43-49957 thru -49962.
44-76195 thru -77294, with 71 randomly placed exceptions
45-876 thru -907.

Credit: USAF Photo nice line up of Mississippi Air National Guard aircraft. Probably taken in the 1960s. Left to Right: Lockheed C-121C Constellation (54-0151), Fairchild C-119F Flying Boxcar (51-8052), C-47A Skytrain (43-16050, cn20516) and Douglas Invader (0-434559). The C-47A served with the Miss.ANG till the end of the 1960s, after which it was stored at Davis Monthan AFB/MASDC,AZ.

C-47: two 1.200 hp R-1830-92 engines, seats for 27 troops or 10.000 pounds
C-47A: same as C-47, but with 24-volt electrical system
AC-47A: electronics calibration aircraft, later redesignated EC-47A (AC-47 designation given to gunships in 1962)
EC-47A: designation given to ex/AC-47As in 1962
HC-47A: designation given to ex/SC-47A, an air-sea rescue conversion
JC-47A: a C-47 used temporarily for testing
RC-47: converted for photographic survey purposes
SC-47A: originally designation for air-sea rescue conversion see HC-47A.
VC-47A: executive transport conversion
WC-47A: weather reconnaissance conversion, at least one (43-15218) flew
C-47B: a C-47A but with 1.200 R-1830-90 or -90B or 90C with high-altitude superchargers and provisions for additional fueltanks
TC-47B: diverted to US Navy for training purposes
VC-47B: converted for VIP transports
XC-47C: one C-47 (42-5671) fitted with twin Edo model 78 amphibious floats, each with 2 retractable wheels planned for use in the Pacific. Other C-47 had the floats attached in the field.
C-47D: basically a C-47B with superchargers removed
AC-47D: 26 converted in 1953 for electronic calibration, became EC-47D in 1962 when about 25 gunships, originally FC-47Ds, were redesignated AC-47Ds
EC-47D: electronic reconnaissance conversion, with R-1830-90D engines also designation for electronic calibration aircraft, formerly AC-47D designation
FC-47D: original designation for "Puff, the Magic Dragon" gunship used in Vietnam by 4th Air Commando Squadron fitted with 3 fixed 7.62mm miniguns on portside firing through 2 windows and the door. Also with increased fuel capacity for long loiter time. Redesignated AC-47D in 1962.
HC-47D: redesignation of SC-47D
RC-47D: photo/electronic reconnaissance conversion of the C-47D, with 2 R-1830-90C or -92 engines turned over to South Vietnamese Air Force
SC-47D: rescue conversion of C-47D with a ventrally mounted lifeboat redsignated HC-47D in 1962
TC-47D: TC-47Bs with superchargers removed
VC-47D: VIP transport conversions of C-47D
C-47E: projected version of C-47B with 2 1.200 hp R-1820-80 engines this version never flew and designation was given to 8 C-47As and C-47Bs modernized and given R-2000-4 engines (used by US Army for airways check aircraft)
YC-47F: Super DC-3 prototype with relocated wing, redesignated tail and other detail refinements. Evaluated by Air Force (51-3817), eventually turned over to US Navy as SR4D
C-47G: reserved but never used
C-47H: designation given to US Navy R4D-5s that were turned over to Air Force
EC-47H: designation given to US Navy R4D-5Qs that were turned over to Air Force
LC-47H: designation given to US Navy R4D-5Ls that were turned over to Air Force
VC-47H: designation given to US Navy R4D-5Zs that were turned over to Air Force
C-47J: designation given to US Navy R4D-6s that were turned over to Air Force
EC-47J: designation given to US Navy R4D-6Qs that were turned over to Air Force
LC-47J: designation given to US Navy R4D-6Ls that were turned over to Air Force
SC-47J: designation given to US Navy R4D-6Ss that were turned over to Air Force
TC-47J: designation given to US Navy R4D-6Rs that were turned over to Air Force
VC-47J: designation given to US Navy R4D-6Zs that were turned over to Air Force
TC-47K: designation given to US Navy R4D-7s that were turned over to Air Force
C-47L: reserved but never used
EC-47M: reserved for US Navy Electronic Counter Measures version of C-47
EC-47N: ECM/electronic reconnaissance version of C-47A wuth R-1830-90D or -92
EC-47P: an EC-47N but converted from C-47D
EC-47Q: a few C-47As and -Ds re-engined with R-2000-4 engines and outfitted with classified ECM equipment

DC-3As and DCT-As commandeered from United Air Lines and 3 taken from the production line.
The DST-A were Pullman conversions of the DC-3, equipped with sleeping platforms that were used for overnight flights. These 36 impressed aircraft flew either as staff transports or as air ambulances.
C-48 (41-7681): one DC-3A intended for United Airlines, a 21-seater powered with 2 R-1830-82s
C-48A 41-7682/3/4): three impressed DC-3As, with R-1830-82 engines and 18-seat interiors
C-48B: sixteen impressed DST-A, 15 from United Airlines and one from Northwest Airlines, with R-1830-51 engines, 16-seat interiors, used as air ambulances. (42-38324 thru -38326, 42-56089 thru -56091, 42-56098 thru -56102, 42-56609 thru -56612, 42-56629)
C-48C: sixteen impressed DC-3As, with R-1830-51 and 21-seat interiors. (42-38258 thru -38260, 42-38627, 42-38332 thru -38338, 42-78026 thru 78028, 42-52990 and 42-52991.

138 examples, commandeered by the military from airlines.
Most were standard DC-3, but a few were the DCT version. All were flying with civilian airlines when the government impressed them in 1942 and 1943 for use in the war effort.
Maximum payload: 3.950 pounds (upto 24 passengers).

14 examples, commandeered by the military from airlines.
These aircraft were "made available" from American, Central and Braniff Airlines to the Army Air Corps and put to use for the war effort.
The C-50, named by the AAC, was an early version of the DC-3 airliner reconfigurations were carried out to fit them for the military task.
C-50-DO, ex/American Airlines
C-50A-DO, special seating for 28 troops
C-50B-DO, ex/Braniff Airlines
C-50C-DO, ex/PA Central Airlines (1)
C-50D-DO, ex/PA Central Airlines (modified for 28 troops)

Max payload: 3.727 pounds (28 passengers)

C-50 serial numbers:
41-7695 thru 41-7696
41-7697 thru 41-7700
41-7703 thru 41-7705
41-7709 thru 41-7713

Only one Gooney Bird to receive the designation C-51 (41-7702). Like the C-50, this aircraft was commandeered from Canadian Colonel Airlines.
The plane carried a starboard-side door, seating 28 combat troops and a pair of Wright R-1820-83 engines. The plane was configured for carrying of paratroopers. It seems uncertain if the aircraft in fact was used for this task in combat. Records have shown that it was taken off the Army Air Corps rolls in 1943.

This Gooney Bird variant was basically the same as the C-49, only with larger powerplants.
The C-52 was mostly used for paratrooper operations. Only 5 were procured, they were commandeered from United Air Lines, Western, Eastern and Swiftline Airlines.
Engines were Pratt & Whitney R-1830s.
C-52-DO, ex/UAL (starboard-side door, 28 seats)
C-52A-DO, ex/Western A/l
C-52B-DO, ex/UAL
C-52C-DO, ex/Eastern (port-side door, 29 troops)
C-52D-DO, ex/Swiftline

Serial numbers: 41-7701, 41-7706, 41-7708, 41-7714, 42-6505.

Of this variant 404 were purchased or impressed. They were called Dakota Is and this version was powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 (1.200 hp) engines. It was primarily used as a troop transport and glider tug.
C-53 : basically a troop transport version of the C-47, with side seating for 28 troops and a port-side passenger door. But no large cargo door. Total of 219 of this version were delivered.
C-53B: winterized version of the C-53, with extra fuel capacity and separate navigator's station 8 were built (42-20047/50, 42-20052, 42-20057/59)
C-53C: same as C-53, but with a larger port-side door specialized as a troop transport and glider tug 17 were built (43-2018 thru -2034)
C-53D: same as C-53C, but with a 24-volt electrical system. Total of 159 were built (42-68693 thru -68851)
VC-53A: executive transport (41-15873)
XC-53A: a single aircraft (42-6480), with full-span, slotted flaps and hot-air leading edge de-icing equipment
ZC-53: designation given to surviving C-53s in 1948
ZC-53D: designation given to surviving C-53Ds in 1948

Max.payload: 4.000 pounds (upto 42 passengers / 26 paratroopers)

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Douglas C-47A Skytrain - History

Douglas VC-47A Skytrain
Two-engine Four-crew Low-wing VIP Transport, U.S.A.

Archive Photos [1]

[Douglas VC-47A &ldquoSkytrain&rdquo (AF 43-15578, c/n 20045) on display (c.1998) at the March Field Air Museum, Riverside, California (35mm photo by John Shupek copyright © 2001 Skytamer Images)]

Overview [2]

We are currently in the process of reformatting all of our aircraft pages on our website. Therefore, at this point we have chosen not to immediately include the history, usage, specifications and performance data of this aircraft. As soon as we have completed the task of reformatting the photo pages, we will revisit this page and include the above information. In the meantime, use the below Wikipedia link in the References section to get the history. When this page is revisited, we'll include specifications and performance data for this aircraft from Jane's All the World's Aircraft and/or other recognized references.

  1. Shupek, John. The Skytamer Photo Archive, photos by John Shupek, copyright © 1998 Skytamer Images (
  2. Wikipedia. Douglas C-47 Skytrain

Copyright © 1998-2019 (Our 21 st Year) Skytamer Images, Whittier, California

Here’s All the Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft that participated in a Flypast over Normandy on D-Day 75th anniversary

on June 2, 2019, we announced that D-Day 75th Anniversary Will Feature 30 Douglas C-47 Skytrains flyby and Massive Paratrooper Invasion. Apart from C-47 three Spitfires also flew over the white cliffs of Dover to mark the D-Day 75th anniversary. The three Spitfires, named Elizabeth, St George and City of Exeter, set off from North Weald Airfield in Essex for Cherbourg in Normandy.

On the night before the D-Day landings on June 6th, 1944, an aerial armada set out from England for Normandy. These were transports, Douglas C-47 Skytrain (or Dakotas) and C-53 Skytroopers, carrying elite paratroopers on a mission to seize objectives ahead of the seaborne landings. The lead plane of this main force was a C-47A bearing the name “That’s All, Brother.” Seventy-five years later, the same C-47A will fly over Normandy, a unique memorial to those who took part in one of the most important moments of WWII.

Seventy-five years later, the same C-47A will fly over Normandy, a unique memorial to those who took part in one of the most important moments of WWII.

Related Article: 97-Year-Old WWII Veteran Jumps From Plane Again to mark 75th D-Day Anniversary

According to a few sources In total, there were 37 confirmed DC-3s and C-47s.

Here’s All the Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft that participated in a Flypast over Normandy on D-Day 75th anniversary

1. “That’s All, Brother” N88874 – Commemorative Air Force

That’s All, Brother is one of the most exciting C-47s in the line-up thanks to its role in history as the lead plane on the drop over Normandy. Piloted by Lt. Col John Donalson, she carried paratroopers of the 101st and 82nd on June 6, 1944.

2. “Drag ’Em OoT” N473DC – Aero Legends / Paddy Green

Drag ’em Oot flew the U.S. 82nd Airborne on D-Day and went on to fly a second mission on the very same day to resupply the troops in France. She also participated in Operation Market Garden in September 1944, the largest paradropping operation in history.

Archangel12 / Public Domain

3. “Luck Of The Irish” N836M- Air Heritage

This C-47 flew with the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing, 435th Troop Carrier Group’s 75th Troop Carrier Squadron. She flew two resupply missions during the Battle of the Bulge and towed Waco CG-4A gliders for Operation Varsity on March 24, 1945. She then repatriated Allied POWs from France to England at the end of the war.

4. “Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber” N47SJ – Gooney Bird Group

N47SJ, built in Oklahoma in 1944, arrived too late for D-Day, but still contributed to the war effort in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge. She also participated in the Berlin Airlift. Her name, “Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber,” pays tribute to the wife of museum owner and Gooney Bird Group co-founder Glen Thompson and to its role in dropping supplies to troops.

Skeet Shooter / Public Domain

5. “Spooky” N2805J

“Spooky” was restored as John L. Levitow’s Medal of Honor Aircraft by the American Flight Museum in Topeka in 2000. She was active in WWII, flying to England in August 1944.

free4lance2 – The Douglas Aircraft Company / Public Domain

6. “Miss Montana” N24320 – The Museum Of Mountain Flying

Though Miss Montana didn’t fly during WWII, this Gooney Bird did fly the smokejumpers that fought the Mann Gulch Fire near Helena, Montana in 1949. Tragically, 12 smokejumpers and one smoke chaser perished in the fire. Eight of the 14 men jumping from her on the 75th D-Day anniversary are current or former U.S. Forest smokejumpers.

7. “Hit Or Miss” N834M – Wings Of Dream Aviation

Hit or Miss was produced in 1943 and eventually flew to England as part of the IX Troop Carrier Command. She didn’t participate in D-Day but was involved in Market Garden, Battle of the Bulge, and Operation Varsity.

FOX 13 News – Tampa Bay / YouTube

8. “Kwicherbichen” ZA947

Kwitcherbichen is a Dakota ZA947 painted to represent Dakota FZ692 of No 233 Squadron, around the D-Day period in 1944. She has the best name ever!

Australian Armed Forces / Public Domain

9. “Willa Dean” RA-05738 – Lyon Air Museum

Willa Dean transferred from the USAAF to the French in May 1945 and was transferred again to the Israelis in 1967. Today she is one of the most original and complete C-47s in operation.

10. “Placid Lassie” N74589 – Tunison Foundation

Placid Lassie was built in Long Beach, CA in July, 1943. After a few years of service stateside, she flew to France fro D-Day and participated in a number of operations: Neptune, Market Garden, Repulse, and Varsity. her pilot, 1st Lt. Richard Lumm, survived the war, as did she!

11. “Virginia Ann” N62CC – Mission Boston D-Day

Virginia Ann served with the 61st Troop carrier Group, the 59th Troop Carrier Squadron, and the 9th Air Force.

12. “Tico Belle” N3239T – Valiant Air Command

Tico Belle is a bonafide Normandy veteran. She dropped her men of the 82nd Airborne Division over Landing Zone O near St. Mere-Eglise. She also flew five other operations in France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany and stayed after the to participate in the Berlin Airlift.

13. “Miss Virginia” N47E – Dynamic Aviation

Miss Virginia never made it to Europe but served well in the States with the Training Command and the National Guard. She was also flown by legendary missionary pilot Bernie May and spent some time operating out of Colombia transporting missions supplies. Miss Virginia was the name of the P-38 Lighting that shot down Japanese Admiral Yamamoto in 1943.

In-box Review

1/48th scale C-47A Skytrain – Trumpeter 02828

While the historical significance of the airplane is undeniable, let’s see how the model scale options stack up. Well, if you like the idea of building one of these beasts, there are several kits on the market. Some of the widely-available ones include:

I really wanted to build something large, so I did a lot of research between the Monogram and Trumpeter kits ultimately choosing the latter, thanks to it being a lot more detailed and a bit easier to handle. To go with it, I got the Big Ed package from Eduard which is basically a collection of all their aftermarket detailing sets including photo-etch for detailing up the exterior, cockpit interior, troop seat-belts, exterior and flaps.

As I’m writing, the project is two thirds of the way to being done, but I don’t think it can throw any surprises at me, so I’m feeling pretty safe to review it.

Watch the video: Folsoms DC-3 on floats (June 2022).


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