A big crowd came out to see the squardron of C-47s land at the Presque isle Airport Sunday. The meet & greet was open to the public for pictures and questions.

The vintage planes are heading to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, June 6th, 1944.

C-47 HISTORY:

On D-Day, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. The Allies suffered 10,000 casualties including 2,500 deaths that day.

C-47s were designed and manufactured here in the United States (California and Oklahoma) with the first flight taking place December 23, 1941.  Only 10,147 of these were built. 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.  The C-47 was instrumental in the success of many Allied campaigns as this aircraft made it possible for Allied troops to counter the mobility of the light-travelling Japanese Army.

The United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command had Skytrains in service from 1946 through 1967. The US Air Force's 6th Special Operations Squadron was flying the C-47 until 2008.  In fact, several C-47 variations were used in the Vietnam War by the US Air Force.  After World War II, thousands of surplus C-47s were converted to civil airline use, some remaining in operation in 2012, as well as being used as private aircraft.

The C-47 had a crew of four and could hold 28 troops.  The length is just over 63 feet with a wingspan of slightly more than 95 feet and height of 17 feet.  The range is 1,600 miles with a maximum speed of 224 mph and cruise speed of 160 mph.

Information contributed by the Presque Isle Air Museum. For more info, contact the museum at piarimuseum@hotmail.com.