Brief history

The C-47 flew with the Minnesota Air National Guard with the 109th FIS until the late 1950s and with the 179th FIS until the early 1970s. It was a support aircraft carrying crews and supplies to deployed exercises. The C-47 nicknamed the “Gooney Bird” first flew as the DC-3 in 1935, the actual C-47 first flight was in 1941. The C-47 is a military transport aircraft that was first developed as the DC-3 commercial airliner.

It was used extensively during WWII and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day. The C-47 differed from the civilian DC-3 in numerous modifications that included being fitted with a cargo door and strengthened floor. There were over 10,000 built. Some notable contributions the C-47 made during WWII were its success in “Flying the Hump” and the “Berlin Airlift”. Several variations of the C-47 flew with the USAF through the Vietnam War.

After WWII thousands of surplus C-47s were converted to civil airline use with some remaining even today. Many of the flyable DC-3/C-47s have remained in the air for close to 75 years and are still going strong. The DC-3/C-47 was also license built in Japan and Russia.

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Cost: $138,000
Crew: 3
Capacity: 28 Troops
Payload: 6,000 Pounds
Length: 63 Feet, 9 Inches
Wingspan: 95 Feet, 6 Inches
Height: 17 Feet, 0 Inches
Engines: 2 Pratt and Whitney R-1830-90C Twin Wasp, 14 cylinder Radial Engines, 1,200 HP Each
Max Speed: 224 MPH
Range: 1,600 Miles
Service Ceiling: 26,400 Feet
Armament: None

Interesting Facts

The museum aircraft started out as a C-47 in 1944, MSN 26583, USAAF serial number, 42-49322, then transferred to the U.S. Navy and redesignated R4D-6R, Bureau Number, 50793. This aircraft was then transferred to the FAA, converted to a DC-3C on 12-1957 and registered as N33 and used for ILS and terminal approach inspections plus the detailed commissioning inspections of all new facilities.

The FAA maintained a fleet of 60 of these aircraft. This aircraft was the first aircraft of this museum’s collection. Another version of this aircraft, the AC-47 “Spooky” served as a very successful gunship in the Vietnam War, also nicknamed “Puff the Magic Dragon”. Its primary mission involved protecting villages, hamlets and personnel from mass attacks by VC guerrilla units. C-47s are regular visitors at air shows across the country.