C-47 Skytrain

C-47 Skytrain

Infobox Aircraft
name= C-47 Skytrain C-53 Skytrooper

type=Military transport aircraft
manufacturer=Douglas Aircraft Company
designer=Douglas Aircraft
first flight=
primary user= U.S. Army Air Force
more users= US Air Force Royal Air Force See operators
number built=>10,000
unit cost=
developed from = Douglas DC-3
variants with their own articles = Lisunov Li-2 AC-47 Spooky

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport 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.

Design and development

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. Over 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.

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) alone made it possible for Allied troops to counter the mobility of the light-travelling Japanese army. Additionally, C-47s were used to airlift supplies to the embattled American forces during the Battle of Bastogne. But possibly its most influential role in military aviation was flying The Hump from India into China where the expertise gained would later be used in the Berlin Airlift in which the C-47 would also play its part.

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" [ [http://www.boeing.com/history/mdc/skytrain.htm Boeing: History - Douglas C-47 Skytrain Military Transport] . Retrieved: 7 August 2008.] . The C-47 also earned the nickname "Gooney Bird" during the European theater of operations.O'Rourke, G.G, CAPT USN. "Of Hosenoses, Stoofs, and Lefthanded Spads." "United States Naval Institute Proceedings", July 1968.]

The USAF Strategic Air Command had C-47 Skytrains in service from 1946 through 1947.After World War II the U.S. Navy also structurally modified a number of the early Navy R4D aircraft and re-designated the modified aircraft as R4D-8.

The C-47 was used by the Americans in the initial stages of the Berlin Airlift and was subsequently replaced by the C-54.

The Air Force also continued to use the C-47 for various roles, including the AC-47 gunships - code named "Puff the Magic Dragon"cite journal|author=O'Rourke, G.G, CAPT USN |title=Of Hosenoses, Stoofs, and Lefthanded Spads |publisher=United States Naval Institute Proceedings |date=July 1968] or "Spooky" - and the EC-47 for counterintelligence during the Vietnam War.

The Royal Canadian Air Force also adopted the C-47 for use in search & rescue operations throughout the 1940s and 50s.


;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.;C-47D:C-47B with superchargers removed after the war. ;AC-47D:Gunship aircraft with three side-firing 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.;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 Adivsory 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-48:One former United Air Lines DC-3A impressed.;C-48A:Three impressed DC-3As with 18-seat interiors.;C-48B:Sixteen impressed former United Air Lines DST-As with 16-berth interior used as air ambulances.;C-48C:Sixteen impressed DC-3As with 21-seat interiors.;C-49, C-49A, C-49B, C-49C, C-49D, C-49E, C-49F, C-49G, C-49H, C-49J, C-49K:Various DC-3 and DST models, 138 impressed into service.;C-50, C-50A, C-50B, C-50C, C-50D:Various DC-3 models, 14 impressed.;C-51:One aircraft ordered by Canadian Colonial Airlines impressed into service, had starboard-side door.;C-52, C-52A, C-52B, C-52C, C-52D:DC-3A aircraft with R-1830 engines, 5 impressed.;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 de-icing.;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-68:Two DC-3As impressed with 21-seat interiors.;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 R4D-8 redesignated;LC-117D:USN R4D-8L redesignated;TC-117D:USN 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.;XCG-17:One C-47 tested as a 40-seat troop glider with engines removed and faired over.;R4D-1 Skytrain:USN version of the C-47.;R4D-2:Two Eastern Air Lines DC-3s impressed into USN service as VIP transports, later designated R4D-2F and later R4D-2Z.;R4D-3:Twenty C-53Cs transferred to USN.;R4D-4:Ten impressed DC-3s;R4D-4R:Seven impressed DC-3s as staff transports.;R4D-4Q:Radar countermeasures version of R4D-4.;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 aicraft. 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.;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.;Dakota I:RAF designation for the C-47 and R4D-1;Dakota II:RAF designation for impressed DC-3s;Dakota III:RAF designation for the C-47A.;Dakota IV:RAF designation for the C-47B.;C-47TP Turbo Dakota:Refit with modern turboprop engines for SAAF


pecifications (C-47B)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop

capacity=28 troops
payload main=6,000 lb
payload alt=2,700 kg
payload more=(8,000 lb/3,700 kg - war emergency)
length main=63 ft 9 in
length alt=19.43 m
span main=95 ft 6 in
span alt=29.11 m
height main=17 ft 0 in
height alt=5.18 m
area main=987 ft²
area alt=91.70 m²
empty weight main=17,057 lb
empty weight alt=7,760 kg
loaded weight main=26,000 lb
loaded weight alt=11,800 kg
max takeoff weight main=31,000 lb
max takeoff weight alt=14,000 kg
engine (prop)=Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C "Twin Wasp"
type of prop=14-cylinder radial engines
number of props=2
power main=1,200 hp
power alt=895 kW
max speed main=224 mph
max speed alt=195 knots, 360 km/h
cruise speed main=160 mph
cruise speed alt=140 knots, 260 km/h
range main=1,600 mi
range alt=1,400 nm, 2,600 km
ceiling main=26,400 ft
ceiling alt=8,050 m
climb rate main=1,130 ft/min
climb rate alt=5.75 m/s
loading main=26.3 lb/ft²
loading alt=129 kg/m²
power/mass main=0.092 hp/lb
power/mass alt=150 W/kg

ee also

*Douglas DC-3
*AC-47 Spooky
*Lisunov Li-2
similar aircraft=
*C-46 Commando
*List of military aircraft of the United States
*List of military aircraft of the United States (naval)
see also=




* Francillon, René J. "McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920". London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-370-00050-1.
* Pearcy Jr., Arthur ARAeS. "Douglas R4D variants (US Navy's DC-3/C-47)". "Aircraft in Profile, Volume 14". Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1974, pp. 49-73. ISBN 0-35383-023-1.
* Yenne, Bill. "McDonnell Douglas: A Tale of Two Giants". Greenwich, Connecticut: Bison Books, 1985. ISBN 0-517-44287-6.

External links

* [http://www.assaultgliderproject.co.uk The Assault Glider Trust]
* [http://www.warbirdalley.com/c47.htm Warbird Alley: C-47 page]

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