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Amazing facts about the Douglas C-47 Skytrain; The Military transport Aircraft

The aircraft for today is the Douglas C-47 Skytrain which served the various world militaries as their military transport aircraft during World War II and in the spot World War II era. The aircraft is so renowned for its service that it is still in limited active duty to this date in few countries. The design of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain was derived from the commercial airliner designated s the Douglas DC-3.

The aircraft started its service first with the US Military for their air force after its first prototype flight on 23rd December 1942 ad after one month of it the US also got involved in World War II. Throughout World War II, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain was regarded as the best of best when it came to the transport aircraft. Although the military service of it began with World War II, its predecessor the airliner DC-3 started its operations in the early 1930s period.

For our readers, we have gathered a bunch of amazing facts about the Douglas C-47 Skytrain; the military transport aircraft.

Origin and Development:-

The origin for the Douglas C-47 Skytrain is derived from the airline version of the aircraft which also happens to be its predecessor named DC-3. The original model of the DC-3 had a passenger cabin that offered the seating for the passenger. The engineers took this base model and then revised it to create a cabin that could house about 27 of the combat-ready soldiers in the classic Spartan formation. The passenger seats for the DC-3 design were taken and then replaced with a bench-style seats where the army personnel would now face in the centerline position while seated on the bucket seats.

The difference from DC-3:-

There were many design modifications carried out in the design of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain when compared to the DC-3 airliner. The prominent changes that made all the difference in the 2 designs were the addition of the cargo door, strengthened floor, and the hoist attachments, in addition to the small tail cone for allowing the Douglas C-47 Skytrain to have shackles for glider-towing purposes.  As for the cabin roof of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, it had the astrodome.

Variants of DC-47:-

The initial production of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain was started with designation C-47 and then the name Skytrain was added to it later. Soon the production line saw the manufacturing of nearly 93 of the C-47A models which had improved changes for electrical capacity for the numerous onboard electrical systems.

Another major production line was for the C-47B which had an improved performance for the engines. The stock of the C-47B was created especially for service over the Southeast Asia region where the aircraft offered for better performance on high altitudes and was acquired mainly by China.

The very same model C-47B was also redesigned to create a trainer aircraft which was designated as the TC-47B.


The design for the Douglas C-47 Skytrain offered for smoother and rolling contours with a monoplane wing set and a tubular shaped fuselage section. As for the tail, it was a single vertical surface. The aircraft had two radial engines mounted on its each wing that delivered a collective power of 2400 HP.

The seats for the pilots were placed at the full front of the fuselage section which had the observation blister located behind the cockpit area. As for the Entry or the Exit doors, they were placed on the aft sides as well as on the forward direction of the aircraft’s fuselage for the loading of the troops and then existing of the paratroopers. During the service, the design of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain got its recognition because of its ability to bear extreme damage.

World War II service:-

The first flight of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain took place on the 23rd of December 1942 and after one month of it was the time when the US also entered World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese. The aircraft proved itself to be f vital importance during the jungles of Burma and New Guinea. The Douglas C-47 Skytrain was used as the airlift for supplies during Belgium’s Battle of Bastogne.

A variant of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain was designated as C-53 Skytrooper which was used as the paratrooper aircraft in Europe. This variant was used heavily in Europe for doing two gliders as well as a drop of paratroopers. During the Invasion of Normandy also known by the name D-Day, nearly 50000 of the paratroopers were dropped from the C-47s.

Post World War II service:-

After the contribution of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain during World War II, it also played many other vital roles in the spot war era.  Notable of these roles are as follows.

  • Berlin Airlift of 1948 to 1949
  • Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975

Nicknames other than Skytrain:-

The Skytrain is not the nickname that this aircraft got as it had many other nicknames. One notable nickname for the Douglas C-47 Skytrain was “Gooney Bird” which it received during the European theater of World War II. One other nickname for it was Old Bucket.

Designation as AC-47 Spooky:-

Nearly 53 of the old Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft form World War II were modified by attaching on to them guns of large caliber on their port side and they were given the designation as AC-47 Spooky.

An offshoot glider from C-47 design:-

An offshoot aircraft development for the Douglas C-47 Skytrain was also taken up which was designated as XCG-17. This model was the assault glider which only reached the prototype stage and flew only for the first and last time in 1944.

Number of C-47 produced:-

It is hard to put down the exact numbers of Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft produced throughout history as the aircraft had been offered for licensed production to even the Soviet Union back during eh World War II. The total number of Douglas C-47 Skytrains produced is estimated to be about 10000 aircraft.


Only the models from the post World War II era had been outfitted with the miniguns which were used to assist for the close air support.

Powerplant and other specs:-

A single Douglas C-47 Skytrain was powered by 2 of the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 radial piston engines that delivered a power of 1200 HP per engine. These engines propelled the three-bladed propellers that allowed for the aircraft to fly at a top speed of nearly 230 mph for a maximum range of 1600 miles while flying at a maximum ceiling of 23999 feet.

Current Status:-

Although a wide range of its operators has already retired the aircraft from their active duty service since long ago, some of them are still in limited service with countries like South Africa, El Salvador, and Colombia. Other countries only hold these aircraft as their national heritage and fly them during the airshows.

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