C-47A Skytrain

The museum began in 1986 with a 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 photos, artifacts, and memorabilia donated by former crew members. 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. Mère-Église on 6 June 1944—46 years earlier.


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 U.S. Army Air Force 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 Royal Air Force 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 U.S. Navy service under the 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.

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Serial Number: 42-92841
Douglas Aircraft
First Flight:
23 December 1941
Crew: 3
Payload: 6,000 lbs
Powerplant: 2x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C
63 ft 9 in
95 ft 6 in
17 ft 0 in
Empty Weight:
18,135 lbs
Loaded Weight:
26,000 lbs
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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Without a doubt, my dad, TSGT Donald E. Lapp, worked on this aircraft while stationed at Wheelus. He is in heaven rehabbing now. Thanks for the great work on this C47. Hope to visit sometime.

Great restoration on this iconic C-47, kudo’s to all the restoration crew.

I have a soft spot for the C-47 having spent from March 1968 through September of 1969 as assistant crew chief and flight engineer on C-47 43-49680 in Vietnam. I was attached to Detachment 1 460 TRW stationed at Tan Son Nhut AFB near Saigon. Our mission was material and troop transport for 7th Air Force Headquarters.

What a historical aircraft. I was a paratrooper in the Army Reserves with 11th SF Group 1979-1982. My deceased father was a career pilot in the USAF and flew these birds, but mostly C-54’s out of Rhein-Main Air Base April 5 – Aug 1949 during the Berlin Airlift – Operation Vittles. His diary says he visited Wiesbaden several times and may have seen this aircraft.
Steve, COL, USA (Ret.)

Hello COL, Thank you for your service and sharing your comments. My Dad served in the AF 22 yrs, flight engineer/crew chief, and supervisory aircraft mechanic. He was also part of the Berlin Airlift mission around the same time your Dad was there (April – Sep 1949). My Dad had crew of 50+ locals that he would pick up every morning and take to R/M. He told us his crew broke the record for overhauling engineers during the “Easter parade”. I am currently writing his memoirs from his time in the service and was wondering if there is any insert of your Dad’s diary you wouldn’t mind sharing with me as insight to what the operations was like during the last few months of the blockade. Best regards, Elaine Gray, daughter of Kit Gray, Jr. AF Msgt

The Douglas chassis number of the plane is: 12686. The type is C-47A-15-DK.


The flight crew for 42-92841 on 6 Jun 44 was (P) Maj Campbell N. Smith, (C.P.) 1LT Thomas E. Yarbrough, (N) 1LT Thomas C. Knuckles, (C.C.) TSgt Winfield E. Wood, (R.O.) SSgt Morris (NMI) Rubin, (A/C.C.) Sgt Robert P. Bodmer.

SSgt Morris (NMI) Rubin, (A/C.C.) Sgt Robert P. Bodmer”. What would the abbreviations for NMI and A/C.C. stand for?
Thank you,

NMI, No Middle Initial; A/CC, Asst Crew Chief

My father Flight Officer George T. Ryan was “Pilot in Command”, Dum Dum Airdrome, India November, 17, 1944. He flew C-47 and C-53 flying from the India China Division 1305th AAF Base. He was awarded many commendations including the “air Medal” after completing 25 flights over the Himalayas in China. In 1946 had a total of 4500 flying hours of which about 200 are actual instrument. I have his “Flight Record” and “Itinerary”.

Additional history of my dad, his mission and location would be appreciated. Anyone having a father with the same experience may contact me, through this site.

C47 serial number 242895 was shot down over the English Channel on d day. My wife’s uncle was in that aircraft. The only photos we have of the airship is the tail section with the serial number and a hand painted #4 just ahead of the door. I am building a replica and search to see if there were any other letters or drawings on the airship so that I replicate authenticity. You guys have access or maybe photos of that aircraft that might help me? Advise? His name was corporal Jack Mattz

Jack E. Mattz was one of the pathfinders who were aboard #42-92845. They ditched in the channel and were rescued by H.M.S Tartar.

Looking for the serial number of the C-47 assigned to the U.S. Military Group in the Dominican Republic around 1963.

My father William Joeseph McBreen was a c-47 load master crew chief and carried both gliders and paratroopers into France and Italy . Also I was told he was in the South Pacific near the end of the war with Germay. Don’t know much more than that except he was discharged from Camp Blanding in Middleburg Florida before he went back home to Miami

While on vacation in the Dominican Republic on November 16th 2019 I found the fuselage, tail assembly, Wheel assembly and two Pratt and Whitney engines on a beach in pieces. Took photos of plane, interior serial number , 42-68733. Research on the D-Day website revealed the plane was used by the 314th Troop carrier Group out of Saltby, England on June 6 1944. It Was used to drop paratroopers of the 82nd airborne over drop zone N. It flew in serial 20 in the number 15 slot by a pilot, last name , McDonald no known first name. Commissioned to the the Army Air Corp on May 5 1943 scrapped for salvage on March 28, 1945.
Any information on what happened in between 1943 and 1945, and any information on the Pilot or crew would be appreciated.

42-68733 (Manufacturer’s Ser # 11660) delivered 26Mar43. Oran, Algeria 5Jun43. 62nd TCS, 314th TCG, Ninth Air Force, Saltby (Station 538). Transported paratroopers of the 2nd Bn, 508th PIR a drop zone one mile NW of Picauville, Normandy, France on Mission ‘Boston’ 6Jun44.
92nd Troop Carrier Squadron [J8*X], 439th Troop Carrier Group, Ninth Air Force, Châteaudun (A-39). Towed two gliders transporting men and materials for the 17th Airborne Division to a landing zone at Wesel, Germany on Operation ‘Varsity’ 24Mar45.
Hit by flak damaging the right engine. The pilot diverted to a British fighter field but the landing gear collapsed on landing. Salvaged 28Mar45.

I am writing about air delivery of supplies to the 1011st Airborne at Bastogne on December 23, 1944 and am looking for dimensions of the cargo doors on the C-47. Each plane could only deliver a ‘small’ amount of supplies because of the ‘small size’ of the cargo doors and because the planes had very little time to drop supplies before they overflew the drop zone. But if you could get a jeep through those cargo doors they couldn’t have been so small. Can you provide me with the measurements for those cargo doors? Many thanks.

We are a small group of veterans restoring Camp Toccoa at Currahee in Toccoa, Georgia. This is where they trained the paratroopers for D-Day jumps and others. Was also the basis for the book and HBO’s mini-series “Band of Brothers.”
We have acquired a C-47 aircraft like the ones these men trained to jump from.
Can you tell us the way and place to get parts? We have a few volunteers willing to help us rebuild the aircraft. It is going to be for static display only, so non airworthy parts are fine. Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. We are trying to get it ready for the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6th, 2019. We are a 501c3 non-profit orginization.
Thank you for your time,
Patrick Hall
Construction Coordinator
Camp Toccoa at Currahee Project

Please email Les Polley, our aircraft restoration chief, at les.polley@amcmuseum.org about the restoration of your group’s C-47. Good luck!

My late uncle went to Grave: Airstrip B-82 on the 26th September 1944 with the (108) 2nd Air landing Light -Anti aircraft Battery They were scheduled to fly to airstrip north of Arnhem on the 19th September In Gliders. This was cancelled due to the changing battle and he landed here ( only for one day) with the AFDAG from RAF Saltby; 2nd Air landing landed first, he was later wounded on the Island.

I am currently building a 1/48 scale model of this C-47 since it was one of aircraft carrying paratroopers of 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade to Holland during Market-Garden operation. Unfortunately you did not mention this fact in your historical dateline. The plane took polish paratroopers to Holland but “Turf” was one of the machines which came back to England due bad weather without dropping the men. I am currently looking for the chalk number which was applied to the plane for the polish drop. Unfortunately I did not find anything yet. Dear Museum staff can you help ?

Dear Mr. Mann, It is certainly possible that your father may have flown this aircraft,although I don’t have that info. The only information I have might be some help.

My father served with the 508th P.I.R. ,and jumped from this plane on 6/6/1944. The pilot on that flight was,T.E. Yarbrough; crew chief W.E. (Bing) Wood. The aircraft info was sent a few years ago to my dad from Mr. Lew Johnton (61st TCS pilot). You can try to contact him at (415)567-4717, or his last address, 2665 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123.

Maybe he will have the info you need.

Do you have any crew name information. From my family discussions it is possible my dad, Robert E Mann, was the pilot of this plane at some point during the war.