Douglas C-47B “Skytrain”
The Douglas C-47 “Skytrain” or “Dakota” is a military transport aircraft developed from the famed Douglas DC-3 Airliner. Operated by the USAAF and allied air forces during WWII it would go on to serve with distinction long after the war throughout the world and is still in service today. More than 10,000 aircraft were produced in Long Beach and Santa Monica, California as well as Oklahoma City, OK. Between March 1943 and August 1945, the Oklahoma City plant produced 5,354 C-47s.
The C-47 was credited as vital to the success some of the major campaigns of WWII. Supporting the battle in the Pacific in its early days, flying the “Hump” critical to the resupply of operations in China, Burma, and Southeast Asia. Earning its most notable fame as the carrier of Paratroopers of the 101st and 82nd Airborne as well as Glider Infantry during Operation Overlord better known as D-Day the Invasion of Normandy France – June 5/6, 1944. Also used with great success in Operation Market Garden the combined airborne and armored attack on Holland in September 1944, and re-supplying troops under siege during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944-January 1945. Of note, 2,000 C-47s in British and Commonwealth service took the name Dakota possibly inspired by the acronym “DACoTA” for Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft. The C-47 also earned the informal nickname “Gooney Bird” in the European theatre of operations. Other sources 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.
About our Douglas C-47B “Skytrain”:
The American Airpower Museum Douglas C-47B “Skytrain”, affectionately known as “Second Chance” is a unique original un-modified C-47B built in 1944 and supplied to the USAAF and flown to England where it was transferred to the British Royal Air Force in 1945. Serving through the end of WWII and the Berlin Airlift our C-47 would go on to serve in the French Air Force during the Indo-China conflict in Vietnam and would eventually spend most of its operational life in the service of the Israeli Air Force. The C-47 would end its military service in 1996 and was sold surplus into the general aviation community. The C-47 was flown to Canada and then the United States where it was acquired in 2000 by the American Airpower Museum.
The C-47 dubbed “Second Chance” began flying from our museum at Republic Airport almost immediately after it was acquired and was painted to resemble the C-47s that flew on D-Day June 5/6th, 1944. “Second Chance” carries the unit colors of the 439th TCG of IX Air Force Troop Carrier Command whose C-47s carried paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division from Upottery England to their drop Zones in and around St. Mere Eglise in Normandy, France. Our C-47 is unique in the Warbird community as it has maintained its stock military Configuration throughout its operational life, making it one of the most original stock aircraft still flying today.
The American Airpower Museum C-47 has been and is a popular attraction at Air Shows up and down the East Coast of the United States for over 20 years and flies regularly at the museum during the Spring, Summer, and Fall Months. In addition, our C-47 is the highlight of our unique D-Day Living History Flight Experience where customers can purchase seats to fly back in time aboard this historic aircraft. Flight Experience Rides are available Spring – Fall at the museum. See our Flight Experiences Page for more info.