The C47 was derived from the DC3 family of commercial planes. The military was looking for a good trasport plane. The first flight by the C-47 prototype was made from Clover Field (now Santa Monica, CA) at 3 p.m. on 17th December 1935, which just happened to be the 32nd anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight.
For half a century the Douglas C-47 and its numerous derivatives has remained the most versatile aviation workhorse the world has ever known, and can arguably claim the title of World's Greatest Aircraft. Born in brassy years of the mid-1930s, the DC-3 became the world's standard airliner, before donning warpaint as the world's standard military transport. Both these and other roles have continued unabated through to current times.
Recognizing its great potential as a military transport, the United States Army specified a number of changes needed to make the aircraft acceptable for military use, including more powerful engines, the removal of airline seating in favor of utility seats along the walls, a stronger rear fuselage and floor, and the addition of large loading doors. A large order was placed in 1940 for the military DC-3, which was designated C-47 and became known as "Skytrain," a name it would soon be asked to live up to.
The C-47 had quite a few nicknames: Gooney Bird; Super DC-3 (R4D-8); Skytrooper; Biscuit Bomber; Tabby (NATO code name for the Showa L2D); Cab (NATO code name for Lisunov Li-2); Dumbo (SC-47 Search-and Rescue variant); Sister Gabby/Bullshit Bomber (EC-47 dispensing propaganda-leaflets in Vietnam); Spooky/Puff the Magic Dragon (AC-47 Gunship); Dowager Dutchess; Old Methuselah; The Placid Plodder; Dizzy Three; Old Bucket Seats; Duck; Dak; Dakleton (South African C-47s which replaced their Avro Shackletons), or the Vomit Comet (Nickname used by US Army paratroops during the Normandy invasion.)
Over 13,000 aircraft were built, under various configurations, by multiple manufacturers in multiple countries. N47SJ is one of 64 registered by the FAA and there are approximately 300 still flying in the world.
This particular C-47B was manufactured by the Douglas Air Craft Corporation in Oklahoma City..
o r Sky Train, Gooney Bird, Puff The Magic Dragon or many more names.
and had the following previous identities:
43-48608, K-11 (Belgian AF),
also served with the French AF and 4X-FNN/016 for the Israeli Air Force.
A complete restoration to restore her to 1943 charm was completed in mid-summer, 2009. Fuselage has been sanded and repainted as noted by picture above. This multi-named bird is on display from the Gooney Corp. This C-47B was first delivered to the Air Transport Command at Roswell AAF in New Mexico. In late September, she left for England and arrived early in October. Information indicates she was assisgned to the 9th AF (later the Air Service Command of the United States Stratigic Air Forces), 302nd Air Transport Wing, 27th Air Transport Group. Then she saw service with the Belgium, French, and Israeli Air Forces prior to landing in Canada. After sitting silent for six years, the Wonder Boys of the restoration crew went to Canada, fired it up and flew it home to Paso Robles. Prior to leaving Canada, it had a total of 9,420 flight hours. She has returned to flight status August 1st, 2009.
Click here to watch aquisition pictures from Villeneuve to Paso Robles!
Click here to watch progress of restoration!
New...Flash slide show. (1-4-08)
Watch the C-47B fire up her engines while under restoration.
Click here to watch the finishing up!
Click here for C-47B tri-view.
Click here for N47SJ history.
Click here for C-47 pre flight briefing, test flight 8-8-09
Click here for C-47 first flight, check flight 8-8-09