The Douglas C-47 Skytrain is a military transport aircraft.
Initially, the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner formed the base for its development. However, it differed from the civilian DC-3 in many modifications. For example, it included being fitted with a cargo door, hoist attachment, and strengthened floor etc.
“Dakota” was another name that it went by. It was possibly inspired by the acronym “DACoTA” for Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft.
The Allies used them a lot during World War II. Specifically, the US, Britain, and Canada were some of the main users of the aircraft. Hence, they built over 10,000 of them.
The C-47 was vital to the success of many Allied campaigns. They were used to airlift supplies and played a big role in the start of the Berlin Airlift after the war. The Douglas C-54 Skymaster and Avro York machines and British flying boats Short Sunderland later replaced it.
On Tuesday 6th June 1944, roughly 850 of these aircraft flew accross the English Channel to Normandy. This was part of the D-Day Landing. During the first few days of the D-Day campaign, C-47s dropped more than 50,000 paratroops. On the 75th-anniversary in June 2019, American and European Dakotas retraced the same route.
It remained in front-line service with various military operators for many years. Today, there are about 203 that still survive. Of these, 94 are airworthy and 109 are on display.