The C-47 military aircraft was the workhorse of the U.S. military for decades. Trips Into History had the opportunity to ride in one of these historic aircraft and we recommend it to anyone interested in vintage aircraft and twentieth century military history.
Below in this article we have listed several events that may offer these rides but before that we wanted to give you a brief history of the C-47.
An Aircraft With Many Names
The C-47 aircraft was the military version of the civilian DC-3. Nicknamed the “Gooney Bird“, the U.S. Army Air Corps ordered its first C-47s in 1940 and took delivery of it’s first aircraft in 1942.
The C-47’s, which also went by the names “Dakota” and “Skytrain“, carried troops and cargo around the world and when the war ended in 1945 the Army had taken delivery of some 9,348 C-47 airplanes. The planes served in every theater of the war. .At the same time the commercial version DC-3 dominated the civilian passenger business after it’s introduction in 1935.
Differences in the Military VersionBecause the C-47 had to do many more things than the DC-3, several modifications were made. Floors were reinforced, the two engines were more powerful (1,200-horsepower Pratt & Whitney radial engines) and large doors in the rear for cargo. As a supply plane, the C-47 could carry up to 6,000 pounds of cargo. Every branch of the U.S military and all the major allied powers flew the C-47. The British and the Australians designated the C-47 the Dakota.
The C-47 / Unparalleled Military Service
There were many many uses for the C-47. Including what was mentioned above, the C-47’s dropped paratroops behind enemy lines and even towed troop carrying gliders that would land without any power in fields.
Add to this the job of being an air ambulance evacuating sick or wounded patients. The plane was capable of carrying eighteen stretchers.
An interesting note is that the C-47 was modified to actually sweep down and hook on to a landed troop glider and tow it back to base for further use. This method was developed when many of the gliders landed in fields to small for a C-47 to land.
The C-47 remained in service long after the war ended in 1945. The plane saw service during the Korean War carrying troops and supplies and evacuating the wounded much as it did during the Second World War. The C-47 was used during the Berlin Airlift and during the Southeast Asian War of the 60’s and early 70’s.
The C-47 was a rugged aircraft. Stories are that it survived mid-air collisions and could land on it’s belly with little damage. This was because the plane’s retracted tires still extended beneath the cowl.
Where to Enjoy a Ride in the Historic C-47
Commemorative Air Force / Falcon Field in Mesa Arizona
The Commemorative Air Force offers rides in the C-47 as well as in several other military aircraft including the B-17, B-25 and the Boeing PT-17 Trainer. Detailed information is found on the website…http://www.azcaf.org/
Airfest in Georgetown Texas
The C-47 Southern Cross that was built in 1941 offers rides each year at the Airfest event in Georgetown Texas, about 25 miles north of Austin along Interstate 35. This particular aircraft not only served during wartime and afterward but also was utilized for passenger service and was used by the president of Mexico. It was also used as a skydiving plane. For information of upcoming Airfest events see wwbesite…https://airfest.georgetown.org/
Holiday Lights Flights Over the Dallas / Fort Worth Area
The same C-47 aircraft, Southern Cross, that appears at the Georgetown Airfest offers flights during the holidays over the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Groups of up to 17 passengers enjoy hot chocolate and cookies before being driven out to the plane.
Flying at low altitudes, they will see Lake Arlington’s Interlochen Christmas Lights as well as views of downtown Fort Worth.
More information regarding the Dallas / Fort Worth Holiday Flights can be found at website…https://www.facebook.com/pages/Greatest-Generation-Aircraft/182241821796002
You may also enjoy the more of our articles on the links below…
The Cavanaugh Flight Museum
An airworthy C-47 Skytrain aircraft is displayed at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum located at the Addison Airport in Addison, Texas, a north Dallas suburb.
The museum offers several rides on a variety of aircraft and presents some excellent aircraft exhibits. For more information on this museum see website…http://www.cavanaugh flightmuseum.com/
The Dutch Dakota Association / Netherlands
The Dutch Dakota Association was founded in 1982 with the slogan “Working on a future for our aviation past”. It`s main objective to keep its two DC-3 historical aircraft in the air and make them accessible to a wide audience so they can experience romantic flying the way it used to be. While flying at 1400 feet you will enjoy a wonderful view of the Dutch landscape. For more information from this organization see website…https://www.dutchdakota.nl/en
Having the opportunity to take a flight on the C-47 will lead to a fun experience. In addition to the few venues listed above, additional opportunities where C-47 rides are offered will certainly be available around the country during select airshows and special events.
(Article,photos and video copyright 2014 Trips Into History)