Photographs taken at the Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Not all R4D’s were camouflaged. This is the aircraft of Rear Admiral Osbourne B. Hardsion, Chief of Naval Air Primary Training. His two-star flag placard is visible beneath the pilot’s window. (80-G-K-5297)
Another Navy R4D in a natural metal finish, this one is assigned to the Naval Air Transport Service.
Another mission frequently assigned to the Dakota was casualty evacuation, as being performed by the Royal Air Force example seen here.
A patient being transferred to a Skytrain with invasion stripes. This photo provides a good view of the boarding ladder and inside of the cargo door.
A similar view of a U.S. Marine casualty being evacuated from Vella Lavella in the Solomon Islands.
Not the clearest of photographs but some interesting markings with yellow and red identification panels. An earlier “55” aircraft identification number has been removed aft of the yellow 25.
A paratrooper poses in front of a rather weathered C-47, the nose of which has been repainted. Compare the size and positioning of the Troop Carrier Command lettering with that of the photo of the paratrooper from last week’s post here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/douglas-c-47-r4d-skytrain-dakoda-color-photographs-part-ii/
42-92862, a Skytrain of the 32nd Troop Carrier Squadron.
Sad Sack hauling cargo is the subject of this nose art.
Puddle-Jumper displaying some interesting details of propeller markings. Note the white trim to the carburetor intakes. One has to wonder if the nose art is intentional or the victim of an over-zealous removal of another marking. (LIFE Magazine)
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain (R4D for you Navy types) is one of the classic designs of aeronautical engineering. Rugged and versatile, many are still flying today, almost eighty years after they were built – a testament to their design and construction.
From a modeling perspective the C-47 offers many interesting possibilities. Here a USAAF C-47 is seen over Mindanao, Philippines in 1945. While the tail markings are somewhat unusual, the high degree of fading and wear to the finish is common to the type and can be a challenge to replicate.
An adaptation of the DC-3 civilian airliner, Douglas produced over 10,000 C-47’s during the Second World War. Interestingly, the Japanese obtained a license to produce the design before the war, and built over 500 as the L2D. Similarly, the Soviet Union produced approximately 5,000 (counts vary) as the Lisunov Li-2.
A U.S. Navy R4D is seen at Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic. It was called Ciudad Trujillo from 1936 to 1961, but is known as Santo Domingo today. Notice the paint has worn off the back of the propeller blades.
Three Navy R4D’s in flight, demonstrating the effectiveness of their Blue Gray / Light Gray camouflage.
The British received around 2,000 C-47’s under Lend Lease and gave the type the name “Dakota”. After the war many were distributed to Commonwealth and former colonial countries. Several of these aircraft are still flying today, including some with the South African Air Force in the maritime patrol role.
42-32892 served with the Soviet Air Force and was transferred to Aeroflot after the war. It crashed on the Taymyr Peninsula on 13APR47 with 9 fatalities, 28 were later rescued. The aircraft is pictured as it remained in 2012.
Many civilian DC-3’s were pressed into military service before and at the beginning of the war, one of which may be this aircraft pictured in pre-war USAAC markings and insignia.
Nose art on several C-47’s were photographed for LIFE Magazine at Townsend, Australia in 1943. These are two examples.
Part II here:
During the Second World War a small number of C-47 Skytrain transports were converted to amphibians by installing two large floats. The floats were constructed by the EDO Corporation of College Park, New York. The amphibious Skytrains were intended for medical rescue work and supply of Pacific Island outposts.
EDO constructed a total of 33 sets of floats and Douglas manufactured approximately 50 airframes with the floatplane conversion hardware installed. 11 airframes were fitted with floats, making them the largest floatplanes ever built.
Serial numbers known to have been converted are 42‑5671, 41‑18582, 42-92577, 42‑92699 and 42-108868.
The floats were 42 feet long and were divided into fourteen compartments. The floats each contained a 325 gallon fuel tank. The aircraft was fully amphibious and could operate from either land or water. The floats contained a fully retractable nosewheel and a semi-retractable mainwheel and the float step.
42‑5671 was used for the initial test program and is the most photographed of the C-47C floatplanes. It crashed into Jamaica Bay, NY on 13NOV43 during load tests and was written off.
The floatplanes operated as far North as Alaska and as far South as Australia. In model form the C-47C has been kitted in 1/144 scale by Minicraft. Resin conversion sets have been produced in 1/72 scale but are currently unavailable. An unusual subject for modelers lucky enough to locate a set!
One amphibian was operated in civilian livery by Folsom Aviation. This is an ex-USAAF C-53D, serial 42-68834, and was converted by her civilian owners to a floatplane using a set of surplus EDO floats. The struts are not standard, they were made from Aluminum tubing compressed into oval sections. Her FAA certificate is Experimental, not authorized as a commercial transport for passenger service. The floats were removed for repairs in 2008, the aircraft has since been returned to a standard wheeled configuration.
Surprisingly, there is color video footage of the EDO floats leaving the factory and the XC-47C test flights. Screen captures are below, a link to the video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=g_8ccwoVZTc