C-47 Skytrain Wartime Piloting
by Herbert Holeman, Colonel, USA(Ret)
Compared to previous aircraft, the C-47 revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. It was fast,
had a good range and could operate from short runways. Its construction was all-metal and
had a wingspan of 95 feet, a length of 64 feet 5 inches. The aircraft had a cruise speed of 155 miles per hour
and a range of 1,600 miles with a normal payload of 5,000 pounds. It was powered by two 1,200-horsepower Pratt
and Whitney radial engines.
The aircraft's first flight was in 1935, and from January 1942 to the summer of 1945, 10,000 C47's were produced
for the war effort. The aircraft designation (C-47) consists of a letter indicating the type / mission of the aircraft.
Hence, C = Cargo transport and 47 = Sequence number for U.S. Army Air Force cargo transport aircraft.
For U.S. Army Air Force Training Films on pilot cockpit procedures flying the C-47 Troop Carrier Airplane for paratrooper operations.
Click here for Part One
Click here for Part Two
Click here for Part Three
for a pilot telling his story during Normandy D-Day. He flew in a 2,000 plane formation at 1,500 feet, and
encountered heavy flak when decending to drop the paratroopers at 600 feet, and on the two-hour return flight to England.