The Douglas C-47: The Greatest Aircraft of Its Time
83-year-old Trudell Jensen remembers it as a work colleague. Back then, she was a 22-year-old stewardess (yes, that’s what they were called back then) with United Airlines. In keeping with the era when travelers donned their best clothes for a flight, this popular aircraft was elegantly outfitted with wide, comfortable chairs, curtained windows, and a galley capable of producing gourmet fare such as Steak Diane.
Craig Miller remembers it as a literal lifesaver. Just as then 20-year-old Miller was drafted and sent to Viet Nam, the DC-3 was given back its World War II military designation of C-47 and also drafted into battle. Miller and fellow troops relied often on this retrofitted beast to protect them from enemy fire.
“The C-47,” he says, “literally saved my life.”
In World War II, the C-47, then the most popular choice for commercial airlines, was put into service as a troop transport.
In other words, the C-47 played an enormous role in American history of the last century.
The Estrella Warbird Museum, located in Paso Robles, has huge respect for this plan, so much that it located an old C-47, and then lovingly restored it.
The Estrella Warbirds C-47 will appear at the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Half Moon Bay Airport.
It will be a hard display to miss. The aircraft is over 63 feet in length, with a wingspan over 95 feet wide. It has 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines, which give it an average cruising speed of 160 MPH, and a range of approximately 1600 miles.
Over the years, the C-47 has been lovingly christened with a lot of nicknames. In the Viet Nam era, it was known as Puff the Magic Dragon. Paratroopers skydiving into Normandy during D-Day called it the Vomit Comet.
When you see this proud and glorious restored aircraft at Dream Machines, you’ll most likely just call it awesome.