C-47A “Skytrain”

Sponsored by The Ahmanson Foundation

Aircraft Type: C-47A, S/N 43-48098, Skytrain, Douglas

Mission: Cargo and Troop Transport

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