wbalogo.gif (14066 bytes)

[Back to Warbird Alley Main Page]

Fighter / Attack:
   Bell P-39 Airacobra
   Bell P-63 Kingcobra
   Brewster Buffalo
   Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair
   Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
   Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
   Douglas A-1 Skyraider
   Douglas A-26 Invader
   Douglas SBD Dauntless
   Fairey Firefly
   Focke-Wulf Fw 190
   Grumman F4F Wildcat
   Grumman F6F Hellcat
   Grumman F7F Tigercat
   Grumman F8F Bearcat
   Grumman TBF Avenger
   Hawker Hurricane
   Hawker Sea Fury
   Lockheed P-38 Lightning
   Messerschmitt Bf-109
   Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen
   North American P-51 Mustang

   Polikarpov I-16
   Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
   Supermarine Spitfire
   Yakovlev Yak-3
   Yakovlev Yak-9

Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan (C-45)
   Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
   Boeing / Stearman PT-17

   Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
   Commonwealth CA-1 Wirraway
   DeHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
   DeHavilland DH-82 Tiger Moth
   Fairchild PT-19 Cornell
   Hunting / Percival Provost
   Meyers OTW
   Nanchang CJ-6
   Naval Aircraft Factory N3N
   N. Am. BT-9 / BT-14 / Yale
   N. Am. T-6 Texan / SNJ / Harvard
   N. American T-28 Trojan

   Piaggio P149
   Ryan PT-22 Recruit

   Scottish Aviation T1 Bulldog
   Vultee BT-13 Valiant
   Yakovlev Yak-11
   Yakovlev Yak-18
   Yakovlev Yak-52

   Avro Lancaster
   Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
   Boeing B-29 Superfortress
   Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
   Consolidated B-24 Liberator
   Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

   Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
   DeHavilland Mosquito
   Fairey Swordfish
   Heinkel He-111 / Casa 2.111

   Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon / Ventura
   Martin B-26 Marauder
   North American B-25 Mitchell

   Beechcraft C-45 (AT-11)

   Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (KC-97)
   Curtiss C-46 Commando
   Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota
   Douglas C-54 Skymaster

   Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
   Fairchild C-123 Provider
   Grumman C-1 Trader (S-2)
   Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
   Lockheed C-69 Constellation

Utility / Observation / Special Duty:
   Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper
   Aeronca L-16 Grasshopper
   Antonov AN-2 Colt
   Auster AOP 6/9
   Avro 652 Anson
   Avro Shackleton
   British Taylorcraft I-V
   Cessna L-19 / O-1 Bird Dog
   Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster
   Cessna T-50 / UC-78 Bobcat
   Consolidated PBY Catalina

   DeHavilland U-6A / L-20 Beaver
   Fairey Gannet
   Fairey Swordfish
   Fieseler Fi156 Storch
   Grumman S-2 Tracker (C-1)
   Grumman HU-16 Albatross
   Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
   Junkers Ju 52/3m

   Lockheed P2V Neptune
   Max Holste M.H.1521 Broussard
   Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

   Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
   North American L-17 Navion
   N. Am./ Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
   Piper L-4 Grasshopper
   Stinson L-5 Sentinel
   Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
   Westland Lysander

   Aero L-29 Delfin
   Aero L-39 Albatros
   Aermacchi MB-326
   Avro Vulcan
   BAC Strikemaster
   Blackburn (BAC) Buccaneer
   Canadair Tutor
   Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
   DeHavilland Vampire
   DeHavilland Venom
   English Electric Canberra
   English Electric Lightning
   Folland Gnat
   Fouga CM-170 Magister
   Gloster Meteor
   Grumman F9F Panther
   Hawker Hunter
   Hispano HA-200 Saeta
   Hunting Jet Provost
   Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
   Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
   McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
   McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
   Messerschmitt Me-262
   Mikoyan MiG-15
   Mikoyan MiG-17
   Mikoyan MiG-21
   N. Am. F-86 Sabre / FJ-4 Fury
   N. Am. F-100 Super Sabre
   N. Am. / Rockwell T-2 Buckeye
   Northrop T-38 Talon / F-5
   PZL / WSK TS-11 Iskra
   Saab J35 Draken
   Soko G-2A Galeb
   Temco Pinto & Super Pinto

[Back to Warbird Alley Main Page]


Copyright 2016
The Doublestar Group


Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota

(Variants/Other Names: AC-47; C-53; C-117; DC-3; EC-47; Lisunov Li-2/PS-84; Nakajima/Showa L2D; R4D, VC-47; BT-67)

Douglas C-47
Photo by Max Haynes - MaxAir2Air.com

"Probably the most memorable thing about the [Dakota] was the smell. The odor of the leather mixed with hydraulic fluid made a perfume second to none. [The plane] always treated me well, unlike some of the other birds I've flown, and my memories of it are all good."
          -- Tex Gehman, Winnipeg, Canada

History: The Douglas DC-3 was born of the intense competition for modern commercial aircraft that characterized the post-World War I era. It was the direct descendant of the DC-1, which first flew in 1933 as Douglas' initial response to a short supply of competitor, Boeing Aircraft's, landmark 10-passenger 247, the first, low-wing, all-metal airliner. With only one 12-passenger sample flying, and already a record-breaking success, the DC-1 was quickly made obsolete, replaced by an a more powerful version with greater seating capacity, the 14-passenger DC-2, of which 193 were built.

When, in 1934, American Airlines asked Douglas for a larger version of the DC-2 that would permit sleeping accommodations for transcontinental flights, Douglas responded with the 24 passenger (16 as a "sleeper" craft) DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport), the 24-passenger version of which was designated DC-3.

The DC-3 is given most of the credit for an almost 600% increase in airline passenger traffic between 1936 and 1941. Recognizing its great potential as a military transport, the United States Army specified a number of changes needed to make the aircraft acceptable for military use, including more powerful engines, the removal of airline seating in favor of utility seats along the walls, a stronger rear fuselage and floor, and the addition of large loading doors. A large order was placed in 1940 for the military DC-3, which was designated C-47 and became known as "Skytrain," a name it would soon be asked to live up to.

Used as a cargo transport to fly the notorious "Hump" over the Himalayas after the Japanese closed the Burma Road, and as a paratroop carrier in various campaigns from Normandy to New Guinea, the Douglas C-47 was one of the prime people movers of WWII where, in one form or another, it was manufactured by belligerents on both sides, after first having been licensed to Mitsui before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and to the Russians, who manufactured it under license as the Lisunov Li-2. During the war, Mitsui built their own version, via contract with the Showa and Nakajima companies, which built about 485 "Tabbys" (the code name given to the aircraft by the Allies) as the Showa L2D.

Known also as "Dakota" (British designation), R4D (U.S. Navy), "Skytrooper" and "Gooney Bird," the Douglas C-47 (USAAF) went through many modifications during its long service life, largely with respect to engine power ratings, but also with structural modifications for specific tasks like reconnaissance and navigation training. It was even tested as a floatplane, and as an engineless glider, a task it performed well, but too late in the war to matter. It was also used as a fighting machine as the AC-47D gunship ("Puff, the Magic Dragon") of the Vietnam war, where the plane was equipped with three modernized Gattling guns (General Electric 7.62mm "Miniguns," each mounted and firing from the port side) for use as a "target suppressor," circling a target and laying down massive fire to eliminate or at least subdue the enemy position.

By war's end, 10,692 of the DC-3/C-47 aircraft had been built, with 2,000 Li-2s by the Soviets, and 485 Showa L2Ds by the Japanese, for a total of about 13,177. Between its first flight on December 17, 1935, and this writing, the DC-3 will have had over 70 years of continuous service. From its pioneering of military airlifts over the hump, to its perfecting of the technique during the Berlin Airlift, the C-47 has been prized for its versatility and dependability, factors that explain its remarkable longevity as an active carrier worldwide.

Nicknames: Gooney Bird; Super DC-3 (R4D-8); Skytrooper; Biscuit Bomber; Tabby (NATO code name for the Showa L2D); Cab (NATO code name for Lisunov Li-2); Dumbo (SC-47 Search-and Rescue variant); Sister Gabby/Bullsh*t Bomber (EC-47 dispensing propaganda-leaflets in Vietnam); Spooky/Puff the Magic Dragon (AC-47 Gunship); Dowager Dutchess; Old Methuselah; The Placid Plodder; Dizzy Three; Old Bucket Seats; Duck; Dak; Dakleton (South African C-47s which replaced their Avro Shackletons), Vomit Comet (Nickname used by US Army paratroops during the Normandy invasion), Fantasma /"Phantom" (AC-47T in Columbian Air Force service.)

Specifications (C-47):
        Engines: Two 1,200-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp radial piston engines
        Weight: Empty 16,865 lbs., Max Takeoff 25,200 lbs.
        Wing Span: 95ft. 0in.
        Length: 64ft. 5.5in.
        Height: 16ft. 11.5in.
            Maximum Speed: 230 mph
            Cruising Speed: 207 mph
            Ceiling: 23,200 ft.
            Range: 2,125 miles
        Armament: None

Number Built: 13,177 (All manufacturers)

Number Still Airworthy (All Variants):  300+

AC-47/DC-3 -- WoA Squadron 14, Topeka, KS, USA
AC-47 Photos
American Aeronautical Foundation -- Operators of C-47B "Aluminum Mistress."
Aviation Safety Network DC-3/C-47 Accident Index
Basler Turbo Conversion DC-3s (BT-67s)
C-47 NZ3548 Restoration in New Zealand
C-53D Skytrooper, N45366, Commemorative Air Force
CNAPG Douglas Dakota Page
Dakota Association of South Africa
The Dakota Club
The Dakota Trust, UK
Danish Dakota Friends, Denmark
The DC-3 Hangar
The DC-3 Network -- A site for DC-3 pilots and enthusiasts.
DC-3 Historical Society
Discovery Air Tours -- Offers DC-3 flights in Sydney, Australia.
Dream Flight -- DC-3 flights and flight training in Mission Viejo, California, USA.
Dutch Dakota Association, UK
Flagship Detroit -- The oldest flying DC-3 in the world.
Friends of the DC-3
The Last Time -- 75th Anniversary mass flight of C-47s/DC-3s to Oshkosh 2010.
Merrville Dakota Ass'n, 43-15073 "The Snafu Special" in Bosnia
Online DC-3 Museum
South African Airways Museum Society's DC-3 (ZS-BXF / "Klapperkop")
South Coast Airways, UK
"Spooky and Puff" -- Information on the AC-47 gunship in Vietnam.
"Tico Belle" -- A C-47 operated by the Valiant Air Command.



[ Click here for more great books about the C-47 and the DC-3. ]



[Back to Warbird Alley's Main Page]

All text and photos Copyright 2016, The Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
You may use this page for your own, non-commercial reference purposes only.

wbalogo.gif (14066 bytes)