April 2018 News
On 31 January at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the Commemorative Air Force’s Douglas C-47A Skytrain 42-92847 That’s All Brother made a 20-minute post-restoration flight with Doug Rozendaal and Tom Travis at the controls.
The aircraft had not flown for 10 years, and was due for conversion to Basler BT-67 configuration with the installation of Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67R turboprop engines before US Air Force historian Matt Scales, researching the airframe’s history during 2015, found that it was operated by the US Army Air Forces’ 438th Troop Carrier Group based at Greenham Common, Berkshire, during May-June 1944. It was selected by Lt Col John M. Donaldson, commander of the 438th, to lead the first wave of C-47s over Normandy, and was fitted with SCR-717 radar in a pod under the rear fuselage in the hope that this specialised equipment would help deliver the C-47’s cargo of ‘pathfinder’ paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division directly onto their targets. That’s All Brother took off from Greenham just before midnight on 5 June 1944, leading 800 C-47s towards Normandy. After dropping its paratroopers at 00.48hrs on 6 June, 42-92847 returned to Greenham, and flew a glider-towing mission later that day. The machine went on to participate in Operation ‘Dragoon’, the invasion of southern France on 15 August 1944, Operation ‘Market Garden’ over Arnhem, and Operation ‘Varsity’, the Rhine crossing.
The restoration has taken 22,000-plus hours so far. Bob Stenevik, the CAF president/ CEO says, “Much of the work up until this point has been carried out by Basler Turbo Conversions at Oshkosh. Their skilled employees have unparalleled knowledge of the C-47 type, accelerating the early stages of the restoration considerably.”
After initial flight testing has been completed, That’s All Brother is due to fly to its new home in San Marcos, Texas, where members of the CAF Central Texas Wing will detail the aircraft, completing the navigator and radio operator work stations, fitting out the fuselage with paratroop seats and painting it in the original 438th TCG colour scheme. During 2019, this historic machine is one of several US-based C-47s that are scheduled to cross the Atlantic to take part in the ‘Daks over Normandy’ D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations being staged at Duxford and over northern France. At the time of writing, 32 aircraft had confirmed their involvement, including no fewer than 18 examples from the United States. Also on the list are C-47/DC-3 variants from operators in the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, together with the Lisunov Li-2 from Hungary.
They will gather at Duxford from 2-5 June 2019 and Caen-Carpiquet Airport, France, from 5-9 June. See www.daksovernormandy.com.
The CAF Central Texas Wing will complete the navigator and radio operator stations, fit out the fuselage and paint it in its original colours