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Douglas C-47 Skytrain


The C-47 transport, commonly referred to as "Gooney Bird," was one of four weapons singled out by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as the most instrumental in helping the US win World War II. (The others were the bazooka, the jeep, and the atomic bomb.) The C- 47 (also next C-53, C-84, R4D) was adapted from the DC-3 Dakota commercial airliner and was used to carry personnel and cargo, tow gliders (usually one Waco CG-4A), and drop paratroopers.
Having great longevity, it was also used in Korea and in Vietnam, where it took on additional roles of attack as the AC-47 "Spooky" gunship and for psychological warfare missions. The need to take supplies over the Himalayas led to the C-47B version with higher horsepower engines. Among the unusual variants of the C-47 was one where the engines were removed and it was converted into a glider and another that was equipped with floats. The C-47 towed gliders and dropped 4,381 paratroopers in the invasion of Sicily on July 10, 1943; C-47 crews dropped 60,000 paratroopers and towed several thousand CG-4 gliders at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
C-47s were used extensively in the Berlin airlift. In one notable action in Korea, C-47 crews flew 4,689 casualties out of the Chosin Reservoir area in five days. In Vietnam, the AC-47 gunships effectively suppressed enemy ground forces and picked up the secondary nickname of "Puff, the Magic Dragon." On February 24, 1969, while flying in a AC-47, A1C John L. Levitow, stunned and wounded by shrapnel, flung himself on an activated, smoking magnesium flare, dragged himself and the flare to the open cargo door, and tossed the flare out of the aircraft. For saving his fellow crew members and the gunship, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
AC-47s were replaced by AC-119s and AC-130s, and the last C-47 was retired from the Air Force in 1975.
General characteristics C-47
Primary function Transport
Contractor Douglas Aircraft Co.
Power plant Two Pratt&Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder, twin- row radials engines
Thrust 2x 1,250 HP 2x 932 kW
Wingspan 85.5 ft 29.11 m
Length 63.7 ft 19.43 m
Height 17 ft 5.18 m
Wingarea 987 sq ft 91.69 sq m
Weight empty 18,201 lb 8,256 kg
max. 26,000 lb 11,794 kg
Speed 229 mph 368 km/h
Ceiling 23,294 ft 7,100 m
Range 1,491 miles 2,400 km
Freight 9,920 lb (4,500 kg) or 28 seats.
Crew Three
First flight December 17, 1935
Date deployed 1941
Cost $138,000
Number built 10,654 incl. civilian models, plus approx 2,500 aircraft license-built in Japan and the Soviet Union (8,882).


Jirka Wagner

 

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Last updated 01.01.2017