The Only World War II Aircraft Still in Active Service
(The C-47 was) “one of the most vital pieces of military equipment used in winning the war.” -- Dwight D. Eisenhower.
God bless the Gooney Bird.
Some aircraft seem to fly forever. A prime example has been the DC-3/C-47. The latest revival for this iconic plane is a refurb that creates a 13 ton aircraft with a rebuilt and lengthened fuselage, upgraded wings, new engines, and modern electronics. Called the BT-67, it is in use by eight civilian (including the U.S. Forestry Service) organizations and nine air forces (including the U.S. Air Force and the Chinese Air Force). The BT-67 is about a meter (three feet) longer than the original DC-3 and 1.5 tons heavier. Cruising speed is 380 kilometers an hour, compared to 240 for the DC-3. Range is more than twice the 1,600 kilometers of the DC-3. Typical load for the BT-67 (4 tons) is also about twice what the DC-3 would normally haul. The longer range made the rugged BT-67 capable of delivering airfreight to research stations in Antarctica, from an airport in South Africa. The BT-67s cost about $5 million each.
Here's the link for the Basler BT-67, and here's a photo of one in Antarctica:
The picture of the Gooney Bird brought back memories. I was a Marine and drew a 3 day rest with the Air Force in Thailand. I was flying on a 47 from Viet-nam, across Laos to Udorn Thailand. Over Laos, the pilot decided he wanted to see the Ho Chi Minh trail up close. So, we did a low-level. Never in my time in Nam have I seen anything bombed as the section we flew over. Bomb craters were interlocked as far as the eye could see. The trail itself look like pictures you see in history books of the Burma road. Exciting as it was, I remember being damn concerned about the NVA opening up on us with 20mm AA guns known to protect the trail. The Gooney had no defenses, but fortunately, nothing happened.
My Dad was RCAF. I got to sit in 'Pinocchio' as a Child.
:...A Dakota fitted with CF104 Radome.
I'll always remember FLYING Magazines article that called the DC3 'A 13 Ton Toad bounding down the Runway in search of less than Perfect Landings'
Our Static Display at CFB Comox Airbase features one,, it's in pretty rundown Condition, her Rudder in Tatters, a string of old, bold Cessnas humbled in her Dirty Wake.
..aaand were Back, Squawking 7600
If I ever win the lottery, I always dreamed of getting a pilot's license and buying a C-47 and painting it camo like the AC-47s that were used in Vietnam. I wish I could own one of these historic and tough birds!
Some classics never die. I'm glad to see this updated and rejuvenated to continued use into the next century.
Just something about the sweep and grace of the old planes and wings that hasn't been carried over into the newest generation.
Put many pax hours in 47's flown by Air America.
Just flew over our garden we are lucky enough to see all the usual fly pasts go over too what a wonderful sight
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