The C-117 was based on the reliable and proven DC-3/C-47 and was originally intended for the civilian airline market. The "Super DC-3" featured a longer fuselage, redesigned tail and wings, and fully enclosed the landing gear when retracted. In 1951 the Navy evaluated the Super DC-3 and liked the increased performance and accepted the aircraft as the R4D-8. Rather than purchase new aircraft a total of 98 earlier R4Ds were converted to R4D-8 standards. In 1962, the R4D-8 was re-designated under the joint Air Force-Navy designation system as the C-117D. Super Gooneybirds continued in U.S. Navy service into the mid-1970s.
By kjfitz @ 2007-11-18 20:38:27