C-47A Skytrain

Serial Number: 42-92841

The museum began in 1986 with a single C-47A that was rejected as “beyond salvage” by other museums. Today it stands immaculately restored, complete with D-Day invasion stripes, as it was when it served with the 61st Troop Carrier Squadron in World War II. Its extensive combat history is meticulously documented with actual photos and memorabilia donated by former crewmembers. This plane, “Turf & Sport Special,” was the centerpiece of a reunion in July 1990, that included the D-Day pilot, aerial engineer, and three of the 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers who dropped into St. Mere-Eglise on June 6, 1944—forty-six years earlier.

Mission

Few aircraft are as well known or were so widely used for so long as the C-47 Skytrain, nicknamed “Gooney Bird.” The aircraft was adapted from the DC-3 commercial airliner which first appeared in 1936. The first C-47s were ordered in 1940 and by the end of WWII over 10,000 had been procured for the USAAF and U.S. Navy. They carried personnel and cargo, and in a combat role, towed troop-carrying gliders and dropped paratroops into enemy territory.

The most widely used military transport in WWII, the C-47 also saw service with the U.S. Navy as the R4D and with the RAF as the Dakota.

After WWII, many C-47s remained in USAF service, participating in the Berlin Airlift and other peacetime activities. One hundred C-47J aircraft were re-engineered by Douglas and incorporated new wings, a new, taller vertical tail, modified landing gear, and more powerful engines. They entered the U.S. Navy service under designation C-117D.

During the Korean War, the C-47s hauled supplies, dropped paratroops, evacuated wounded, and dropped flares for night bombing attacks. In Vietnam, the C-47 served again as a transport but it was also used for a variety of other missions which included flying ground attack, reconnaissance, and psychological warfare missions. The AC-47 “Spooky,” a heavily-armed gunship version of the C-47, was equipped with three side-firing 7.63mm Miniguns and was nicknamed “Puff the Magic Dragon.” The last C-47 was retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1975.

Gallery

  • Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft
  • First Flight: 23 December 1941
  • Retired: 1975
Specifications
  • Crew: 3
  • Payload: 6,000 lbs
  • Length: 63 ft 9 in
  • Wingspan: 95 ft 6 in
  • Height: 17 ft 0 in
  • Empty Weight: 18,135 lbs
  • Loaded Weight: 26,000 lbs
  • Powerplant: 2x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C
  • Maximum Speed: 224 mph at 10,000 ft
  • Cruise Speed: 160 mph
  • Range: 1,600 mi
  • Service Ceiling: 26,400 ft
Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's C-47A Skytrain, serial number 42-92841:

Date Location
The assignment history from April 21, 1944 to June 5, 1945 are excerpts from TSgt W.E. "Bing" Wood's diary, the aerial engineer of #42-92841 during that time.
Apr 1944 Departed US for England (Shipping Code "SOXO") and was assigned to 9th Air Force
21 Apr 1944 A new plane is assigned to the 61st Troop Carrier Squadron stationed in Saltby England, # 42-92841
6 Jun 1944 Small excerpt detailing the night of D-Day accounted by the Crew Chief, "The red warning light had been on for a few minutes, and as we came out of the cloudbank, the green light flashed on and the pilot yelled for me to get the troopers out. The lieutenant's face looked ghastly in the green light as he felt my hand tap him on the shoulder. He gave a yell and sprang out the door followed by screaming, yelling troopers. The eighth or ninth trooper got stuck in the door--too much equipment, he couldn't get himself through--so I kicked him out. As soon as the last yelling trooper had gone out the door I thumbed the mike and yelled "All clear" and yanked in the static cords. All hell was breaking loose outside. Planes were blowing up in the air and the roar of exploding shells was deafening. The plane gave a lurch, then headed toward the ground at an angle as the pilot stuck the nose and the left wing toward the ground to get the utmost of flying speed. At first I thought we had been hit and was all ready to jump out the door. With one wing pointing almost directly at the ground and the throttles pushed solidly against the stops, we went barreling out as fast as the plane would go." ... "We dropped our troopers at 2:06, right on the nose as far as time calculations."
29 Jun 1944 A lot of flights picking up wounded from the front lines and transporting them back to England
26 Aug 1944 Took food to Orleans France
17 Sep 1944 Made the Arnhem Drop with British Paratroopers
26 Sep 1944 Flew to Graves Holland loaded with a jeep, motorcycle, and supplies. Very exciting trip, we brought back a War Correspondent for The Daily Sketch, and a Major of the British Airborne that had escaped from the Arnhem Pocket
Unknown Took elements of the 17th Airborne to Vivay to help relieve Bastogne
28 Feb 1945 Moved to a new base in France
28 Apr - 7 May 1945 Flying wounded from South England to Prestwick for transportation home
5 Jun 1945 Picked up Commandos and flew them to Oslo, to disarm the left-over Germans
Jan 1948 43rd Troop Carrier Squadron, Oberpfaffenhofen AF, Germany
1 Jul 1948 10th Troop Carrier Squadron, Erding AB, Germany
4 Jul 1948 61st Troop Carrier Squadron, Rhein Main, Germany
Aug 1948 60th Troop Carrier Squadron, Wiesbaden, Germany
1951 60th Troop Carrier Wing, Wiesbaden, Germany
1952 7150th Air Base Group, Wiesbaden, Germany
1954 17th Headquarters Squadron, Rabat, Morocco
1956 7272nd Air Base Wing, Wheelus AB, Libya
1959 1001st Air Base Wing, Andrews AFB, Maryland
1959 3800 Air Base Wing, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
1964 Dropped from U.S. Air Force inventory; turned over to U.S. Army
1979 Sighted at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in the "Bone Yard" with several other C-47s to be used as target material
1986 Declared surplus by U.S. Army at Muir Field near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It had been used a "heavy lift load" for Army CH-54 helicopters. Flown to Dover AFB, Delaware, under a Pennsylvania Army National Guard helicopter

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