y Morgan Montalvo
That’s All Brother, the restored World War Two C-47 paratroop plane that was first over the pre-dawn skies of Normandy, France during the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion, made its national debut at the massive Oshkosh annual fly-in in Wisconsin in preparation for its return to France next year, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The historic transport plane earned a best-in-type award from the Experimental Aircraft Association, which hosts the gathering known in aviation circles simply as “Oshkosh,” in recognition of its meticulous return to wartime configuration by volunteers and corporate donors, says Joe Enzminger, leader of the Commemorative Air Force’s Cen-Tex Wing in San Marcos, where the aircraft is now based.
While at Oshkosh, the plane flew in formation with other C-47s and hosted relatives of its wartime aircrew, Enzminger says.
“It was a real touching moment,” Enzminger tells News Radio 1200 WOAI, “and what was cool about was, it’s what it’s all about. We’re doing this to keep the memories of the men that flew on the airplane, and jumped out of the airplane, and built the airplane alive.”
The C-47’s next stop is Basler Turbo Conversions, a firm that re-engines C-47s with modern turboprop power plants and transforms surviving examples of the vintage-1930s cargo and people hauler into modern, cost-efficient workhorses.
Basler is a That’s All Brother corporate sponsor.
Enzminger says with Oshkosh in the aircraft’s log book, CAF volunteers now turn to fine-tuning the C-47 for its upcoming Summer, 2019 return to Normandy, where it will participate in flyovers and related D-Day 75th Anniversary ceremonies.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get all these airplanes ready to go over the Atlantic,” he says.
The Commemorative Air Force is scheduled to send two C-47s to Normandy for next year's D-Day remembrance.
Hundreds of C-47s remain flyable today. The Douglas C-47 is the military version of the company’s venerable DC-3 passenger airliner. Its design is considered one of the safest in aviation history.
PHOTO: CEN-TEX WING, COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE
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