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The Douglas built C-47 Skytrain (aka Dakota, aka “Gooney Bird”) was a superlative military aircraft and saw widespread use by every Allied service in every theater of WWII. The C-47, a modified DC-3, became famous for carrying paratroopers and towing gliders full of soldiers and heavy equipment into battle. The C-47 was used to deploy the first airborne troops in July 1943 when C-47s dropped almost 4,000 paratroopers into Sicily. In June 1944 more than 1,000 C-47s dropped paratroopers before and during the Normandy D-Day invasion. In 60 hours, C-47s alone airlifted more than 60,000 paratroopers and their equipment into Normandy.
In the Pacific, with careful use of the island landing strips of the Pacific Ocean, C-47s were even used for ferrying soldiers serving in the Pacific theater back to the United States. C-47s in British and Commonwealth service took the name Dakota.
Our C-47, “What’s Up Doc?” was built in either Tulsa or Oklahoma City, OK, and was delivered to RAF (UK) Squadron 187 in March, 1945. Later assignments include: Belgium-1949; French Air Force-1952; Israeli Air Force- 1967-1997. It was surplused in 2001 and purchased by Cascade Air.
Palm Springs Air Museum acquired the aircraft from Cascade Air in October 2003, and it has been a mainstay of the museum and Warbird Ride program ever since!