The Skytrain, Dakota, and the Gooney Bird. This aircraft has many names and the well-deserved reputation of being one of the greatest airplanes ever built. The C-47 is the military version of the famed DC-3 airliner, which revolutionized the civilian aviation industry. Likewise, its military sister, the C-47, has had a similar distinguished career. Combined production of the DC-3, DST and C-47 plus other variants totaled 10,654. The last C-47 left Air Force service in 1975.
Pressed into service in World War II, it became the major transport for the allies. It also carried cargo, dropped paratroops and served as a glider tow vehicle in support of major airborne operations such as D-Day and Operation Market Garden. Many of them served with the RAF as Dakotas.
C-47s played a major role in the Berlin Airlift and in Korea. Others were sold to the civilian market and, from these aircraft, many an airline was born. The C-47 saw service well into the Vietnam Conflict era. A gunship version , code named "Puff the Magic Dragon", supported ground troops until being replaced by AC-130 Spectre gun ships.
The aircraft on display at Castle Air Museum saw military service from 1944 to 1946, where it primarily flew transport duties in the Caribbean area. It later served as an airways inspection aircraft for the FAA, flight checking radio navigation facilities and instrument landing systems.
By kjfitz @ 2007-03-10 14:43:49