Published October 19, 2010
Douglas VC-47D-15-DK "Skytrain"
Crew: Three to Five
Engine: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C Twin Wasp radials; 1,200 hp each
Wingspan: 95 ft 6 in
Length: 63 ft 9 in
Height: 17 ft 0 in
Weight: 17,865 empty; 31,000 lbs loaded
Speed: cruise: 185 mph; max: 230 mph
Range: 1,500 miles
Ceiling: 26,400 ft
Cost: $88,574 (average C-47 unit cost as of 1944)
This C-47 aircraft, S/N 43-49281, was originally manufactured as a B model by Douglas Aircraft in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was delivered to the USAAF in November 1944 and assigned to the 2527th Base Unit at South Plains Field, Texas.
Over the next twenty years of active duty it served with USAF units all over the United States, even being modified to D model and then VC-47D configuration. It was finally dropped from the USAF inventory in September 1962 and turned over to the U.S. Army. Eventually it was delivered to the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, for long-term storage.
On February 21, 1975 the aircraft was flown from Davis-Monthan AFB to Ogden, Utah, to a new assignment with the U.S. Forest Service under the United States Department of Agriculture. There it was used primarily for transporting the elite "Smokejumpers" and their firefighting equipment.
During the summer fire season the aircraft was stationed at forward bases in McCall and Boise, Idaho, and at Ogden's Hinckley Field. On September 23, 1983 it was ferried back to Hill AFB from Idaho for its final retirement, having over 16,000 hours on the airframe. The engines and most of the cockpit instruments were removed and the Ogden Office of the Forest Service reported it as "scrap" to the General Services Administration.
In early 1984 the USAF Museum Program requested the aircraft be transferred to its responsibility and the old plane was subsequently assigned to the Hill AFB Heritage Program and Museum (which had earlier requested a C-47 for its collection). The aircraft was officially received by the museum on July 18, 1984 and was completely restored on base.