Drag-Em-oot

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Andy Jordan

Chessington, United Kingdom

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Small 10.7" x 8.0"
Medium 16.0" x 12.0"
Large 21.3" x 16.0"
X large 26.7" x 20.0"

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  • Superior quality silver halide prints
  • Archival quality Kodak Endura paper
  • Lustre: Professional photo paper with a fine grain pebble texture
  • Metallic: Glossy finish and metallic appearance to create images with exceptional visual interest and depth

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Artist's Description

Taken at the Abingdon air show on the 6/5/2012.

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.

The C-47 differed from the civilian DC-3 in numerous modifications that included being fitted with a cargo door and a strengthened floor.2

During World War II, the armed forces of many countries used the C-47 and modified DC-3s for the transport of troops, cargo, and wounded. The U.S. Naval designation was R4D. More than 10,000 aircraft were produced in Long Beach and Santa Monica, California and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma City plant produced 5,354 C-47s from March 1943 until August 1945.
U.S. Army Pathfinders and USAAF flight crew prior to D-Day, June 1944, in front of a C-47 Skytrain
U.S. Navy C-117Ds at RAF Mildenhall in 1967
Lawson Field, Ft. Benning, Georgia
Super DC-3 (R4D-8)

In response to proposed changes to the airworthiness requirements that would limit the continuing use of the large numbers of DC-3s and surplus C-47s in commercial use in the United States, Douglas offered a late 1940s conversion of the DC-3, modified to improve takeoff and single-engined performance, to meet the new Civil Air Regulations, and with increased speed to compete with newer airliners. The new model, the DC-3S or “Super DC-3”, was 39 in (0.99 m) longer, allowing thirty passengers to be carried. It also had larger tail surfaces and new outer wings with a greater sweep back at the trailing edge to accommodate a rearward shift in the center of gravity. More powerful engines, either 1,475 hp (1,100 kW) Wright R-1820 Cyclones or 2,000 hp (1,490 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2000s incorporated into larger engine nacelles, were installed along with shorter, jet ejection-type exhaust stacks. Minor changes included wheel well doors and a partially retractable tail wheel along with flush rivets and low drag antennas, that all contributed to a top speed of 250 mph. With greater than 75% of the original DC-3/C-47 configuration changed, the modified design was virtually a new aircraft.3 The first DC-3S made its maiden flight on 23 June 1949.4

Although the changes fully met the new FAR 4B airworthiness requirements, and significantly improved performance, there was little interest from commercial operators in the DC-3S, which was too-expensive for the smaller operators who were its main target, with only three being sold to Capital Airlines. The U.S. Navy, however, had 100 of its R4D aircraft modified to Super DC-3 standard as the R4D-8, these later being redesignated C-117D.5
Operational history

The C-47 was vital to the success of many Allied campaigns, in particular those at Guadalcanal and in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma where the C-47 (and its naval version, the R4D) made it possible for Allied troops to counter the mobility of the light-traveling Japanese army. Additionally, C-47s were used to airlift supplies to the embattled American forces during the Battle of Bastogne. Possibly its most influential role in military aviation, however, was flying “The Hump” from India into China. The expertise gained flying “The Hump” would later be used in the Berlin Airlift, in which the C-47 would play a major role, until being replaced by the C-54.

In Europe, the C-47 and a specialized paratroop variant, the C-53 Skytrooper, were used in vast numbers in the later stages of the war, particularly to tow gliders and drop paratroops. In the Pacific, with careful use of the island landing strips of the Pacific Ocean, C-47s were even used for ferrying soldiers serving in the Pacific theater back to the United States.

C-47s in British and Commonwealth service took the name Dakota, from the acronym “DACoTA” for Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft.6 The C-47 also earned the informal nickname Gooney Bird in the European theater of operations.7

The USAF Strategic Air Command had C-47 Skytrains in service from 1946 through 1967.
C-47s unloading at Tempelhof Airport during Berlin Airlift

The Pakistan Air Force used C-47 Dakota cargo planes to transport supplies to the Pakistan Army soldiers fighting in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1947 against India.

Several C-47 variations were used in the Vietnam War by the United States Air Force, including three advanced electronic warfare variations, which sometimes were called “Electric Gooneys” designated EC-47N, EC-47P, or EC-47Qs depending on the engine used.8 EC-47s were also operated by the Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian Air Forces.9 A gunship variation, using three 7.62mm miniguns, designated AC-47 “Spooky” often nicknamed “Puff the Magic Dragon” also was deployed.7

The Royal Canadian Air Force and later, the Canadian Armed Forces employed the C-47 for transportation, navigation, and radar training, as well as for search and rescue operations from the 1940s to the 1980s.10

After World War II thousands of surplus C-47s were converted to civil airline use, some remaining in operation in 2010[citation needed], as well as being used as private aircraft.
Variants
Main article: List of Douglas DC-3 family variants
Paratroop C-47, 12th Air Force Troop Carrier Wing, invasion of southern France, 15 August 1944
Interior view of Douglas C-47, Hendon Aerodrome, England
Aircraft of the 6th Special Operations Squadron including a C-47T in use by the U.S. Air Force
C-47B Skytrain -serial 43-49942
An ex-USAAC C-47A Skytrain which was displayed at Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire, England was recently purchased by Kermit Weeks and returned to the U.S. in August 2011. This aircraft flew from a base in Devon, England, during the D-Day Normandy invasion and shows “invasion stripes” on her wings and fuselage.
N1944A parked on ramp near a C-47 in Icelandair colours in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2011. The C-47 in army colours is en route to the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin from its previous home at Cotswold.

C-47
Initial military version of the DC-3 with seats for 27 troops, 965 built including 12 to the United States Navy as R4D-1

C-47A
C-47 with a 24-volt electrical system, 5,254 built including USN aircraft designated R4D-5
RC-47A
C-47A equipped for photographic reconnaissance and ELINT missions
SC-47A
C-47A equipped for Search Air Rescue; redesignated HC-47A in 1962
VC-47A
C-47A equipped for VIP transport role
C-47B
Powered by R-1830-90 engines with superchargers and extra fuel capacity to cover the China-Burma-India routes, 3,364 built
VC-47B
C-47B equipped for VIP transport role
XC-47C
C-47 tested with Edo Model 78 floats for possible use as a seaplane 1112
C-47D

C-47B with superchargers removed after the war

AC-47D

Gunship aircraft with three side-firing .30 in (7.62 mm) Minigun machine guns

EC-47D
C-47D with equipment for the Airborne Early Warning role; prior to 1962 was designated AC-47D
NC-47D
C-47D modified for test roles
RC-47D
C-47D equipped for photographic reconnaissance and ELINT missions
SC-47D
C-47D equipped for Search Air Rescue; redesignated HC-47D in 1962
VC-47D
C-47D equipped for VIP transport role
C-47E

Modified cargo variant with space for 27–28 passengers or 18–24 litters

C-47F
YC-129 re-designated, Super DC-3 prototype for evaluation by USAF later passed to USN as XR4D-8
C-47L/M
C-47H/Js equipped for the support of American Legation United States Naval Attache (ALUSNA) and Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) missions
EC-47N/P/Q
C-47A and D aircraft modified for ELINT/ARDF mission, N and P differ in radio bands covered, while Q replaces analog equipment found on the N and P with a digital suite, redesigned antenna equipment and uprated engines
C-47R
One C-47M modified for high altitude work, specifically for missions in Ecuador
C-47T
Designation applied to aircraft modified to a Basler BT-67 standard
C-47TP Turbo Dakota
Refit with modern turboprop engines and fuselage stretch for the South African Air Force

C-53 Skytrooper
Troop transport version of the C-47

XC-53A Skytrooper
One aircraft with full-span slotted flaps and hot-air leading edge deicing
C-53B Skytrooper
Winterised version of C-53 with extra fuel capacity and separate navigator’s station, eight built
C-53C Skytrooper
C-53 with larger port-side door, 17 built
C-53D Skytrooper
C-53C with 24V DC electrical system, 159 built

C-117A Skytrooper
C-47B with 24-seat airline-type interior for staff transport use, 16 built

VC-117A
Three redesignated C-117s used in the VIP role
SC-117A
One C-117C converted for air-sea rescue
C-117B/VC-117B
High-altitude superchargers removed, one built and conversions from C-117As all later VC-117B
C-117D
USN/USMC R4D-8 redesignated
LC-117D
USN/USMC R4D-8L redesignated
TC-117D
USN/USMC R4D-8T redesignated
VC-117D
USN R4D-8Z redesignated

YC-129
Super DC-3 prototype for evaluation by USAF redesignated C-47F and later passed to USN as XR4D-8
CC-129
Canadian Forces designation for the C-47 (post-1970)
XCG-17
One C-47 tested as a 40-seat troop glider with engines removed and faired over
R4D-1 Skytrain
USN/USMC version of the C-47

R4D-3
Twenty C-53Cs transferred to USN
R4D-5
C-47A variant 24-volt electrical system replacing the 12-volt of the C-47; redesignated C-47H in 1962, 238 transferred from USAF
R4D-5L
R4D-5 for use in Antarctica. Redesignated LC-47H in 1962
R4D-5Q
R4D-5 for use as special ECM trainer. Redesignated EC-47H in 1962
R4D-5R
R4D-5 for use as a personnel transport for 21 passengers and as a trainer aircraft; redesignated TC-47H in 1962
R4D-5S
R4D-5 for use as a special ASW trainer; redesignated SC-47H in 1962
R4D-5Z
R4D-5 for use as a VIP transport; redesignated VC-47H in 1962
R4D-6
157 C-47Bs transferred to USN; redesignated C-47J in 1962
R4D-6L, Q, R, S, and Z
Variants as the R4D-5 series; redesignated LC-47J, EC-47J, TC-47J, SC-47J, and VC-47J respectively in 1962
R4D-7
44 TC-47Bs transferred from USAF for use as a navigational trainer; redesignated TC-47K in 1962

United States Navy R4D-8

R4D-8
R4D-5 and R4D-6 aircraft fitted with modified wings and re-designed tail surfaces; redesignated C-117D in 1962
R4D-8L
R4D-8 converted for Antarctic use, redesignated LC-117D in 1962
R4D-8T
R4D-8 converted as crew trainers, redesignated TC-117D in 1962
R4D-8Z
R4D-8 converted as a staff transport, redesignated VC-117D in 1962

RAF designations
Royal Air Force’s Dakota IV in RAF Transport Command colours, owned by the UK Air Atlantique Classic Flight

Dakota I
RAF designation for the C-47 and R4D-1
Dakota II
RAF designation for nine C-53 Skytroopers received under the lend lease scheme. Unlike the majority of RAF Dakotas these aircraft were therefore dedicated troop transports, lacking the wide cargo doors and reinforced floor of the C-47.
Dakota III
RAF designation for the C-47A.
Dakota IV
RAF designation for the C-47B.
Airspeed AS.61
Conversion of Dakota I aircraft
Airspeed AS.62
Conversion of Dakota II aircraft
Airspeed AS.63
Conversion of Dakota III aircraft

Operators
See also: List of C-47 Skytrain operators
Portuguese Air Force C-47A
Swedish Air Force Tp 79 (C-47A)
A Royal Air Force Memorial Flight Dakota with open parachute door at Duxford, England, in 2008
C-47 in USAAC markings with invasion stripes, Rotterdam 1985

Argentina
Australia
Belgium
Benin
Biafra
Bolivia
Brazil
Burma
Cambodia
Canada
Chad
Chile
Republic of China
People’s Republic of China
Colombia
Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cuba
Czechoslovakia
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Ethiopia
Finland
France
Gabon
Nazi Germany 13
East Germany
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Israel
Italy
Côte d’Ivoire
Jordan
Japan
Laos Kingdom of Laos
Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali

Mauritania
Mexico
Monaco
Morocco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
North Korea
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Rhodesia
Romania
Rwanda
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
South Africa
South Korea
Somalia
Soviet Union
Sri Lanka
Spain
Sweden
Syria
Thailand
Togo
Turkey
Uganda
Uruguay
United Kingdom
United States
Venezuela
Vietnam
South Vietnam
Yemen
Yugoslavia
Zaire
Zambia

Accidents and incidents
Memorial in remembrance of a 1954 C-47 crash, Alaska Veterans Memorial
Further information: List of accidents and incidents involving the DC-3
Specifications (C-47B-DK)
An orthographically projected diagram of the C-47 Skytrain

Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920 14

General characteristics

Crew: 3
Capacity: 28 troops
Payload: 6,000 lb (2,700 kg)
Length: 63 ft 9 in (19.43 m)
Wingspan: 95 ft 6 in (29.41 m)
Height: 17 ft 0 in (5.18 m)
Wing area: 987 ft² (91.70 m²)
Empty weight: 18,135 lb (8,226 kg)
Loaded weight: 26,000 lb (11,793 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 31,000 lb (14,061 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each

Performance

Maximum speed: 224 mph (195 kn, 360 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
Cruise speed: 160 mph (139 kn, 257 km/h)
Range: 1,600 mi (1,391 nmi, 2,575 km)
Ferry range: 3,600 mi (3,130 nmi, 5,795 km)
Service ceiling: 26,400 ft (8,045 m)
Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 9.5 min

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