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Flight of the Daks

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a flight of 75 Dakotas (that’s C-47’s to us ‘Merkins) flew to Normandy today and dropped a cargo of paratroopers. It seems likely they won’t be able to do that for the 100th, so it’s a big deal.

Just to the West of us, sadly. We didn’t see nothink in the sky. But for all the plane footage you can stand, check out this excellent TwitchTV channel. They have hours and hours of behind the scenes (and in front of the scenes) footage of the prep and the flight. Badger House has resonated with the sound of aircraft engines all day.

Poor old Uncle B is an aviation nut and would love to have seen it go over. The picture is one of his from a couple of years ago. We crawled into this one and were astonished at how primitive the controls were. Not to mention the seats.

Those poor bastards, 75 years ago.


Comment from p2
Time: June 5, 2019, 11:18 pm

I can assure you the seating in modern military transports has improved not a whit. I wish I had a nickel for every mile I’ve flown sitting sideways crammed into a windowless, too cold or too hot, noisy, fluid reeking trash hauler. I wouldn’t have to still be bending wrenches on 60+ year old C-46’s and DC-6’s……

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: June 6, 2019, 12:24 am

I’d buy one 🙂 Hire p2 to be my mechanic. How do you feel about B-25s and Hurricanes? Cause I’d buy one of each. Soon as I win the lottery. And a P.T. boat.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 6, 2019, 12:38 am

I have very fond memories of my first several airplane rides as a kid. This was 1959-61 when my father, a U.S. Navy submarine officer, was sent with family for three years in Argentina to teach the Argentines how to run and fight those boats. I was 10-11-12 years old.

The U.S. military advisory group had assigned to it an Air Force DC-3. Not a C-47/Dakota, but the same plane with normal seating and WINDOWS!

I got to go on some family-oriented junkets – the pilot and crew needed air/training time, dont-ya-know – and the most memorable was to Iguazú Falls on the border between Argentina and Brazil.

Our Air Force pilot was a frustrated fighter jock, it seems. He flew us up the river towards the very extensive cataract at about 250 feet and pulled three or four 360°s just slightly above the upper level, partly through the mist. The view was spectacular and utterly unforgettable.

We later found out that the minimum flight altitude around the falls was something like 1,500′ because of severe clear air turbulence that had caused multiple plane crashes.

Comment from Surly Ermine
Time: June 6, 2019, 3:53 am

God bless all those poor bastards from 75 years ago.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: June 6, 2019, 12:21 pm

My first love was given to Mossie, that foreign dame the De Havilland Mosquito.

Though I was later tempted for a bit by that Fork Tailed Devil, the P38 Lightning.
But my secret love? The P47D Republic Thunderbolt, the flying jug.

And the heros? – I look at the photos and they all look so much older than they really were and too many of them never got any older.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: June 6, 2019, 3:13 pm

Deborah HH – the poor Hawker Hurricane – always in the shadow of it’s more glamorous sister the Spitfire.

Hurricanes were far more numerous than Spits and did better than half the work driving off the Luftwaffe in the dark days of 1940 while the Spit got all the recognition.

An unsung wood and fabric hero.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: June 6, 2019, 5:23 pm

As a thought – these guys were flying around in what was some top of the line tech for the time.

Poor bastards then were the guys who had to go up in Fairey Battles, Brewster Buffaloes and Bolton Paul Defiants.

Comment from OldFert
Time: June 6, 2019, 6:15 pm

For those who like airplanes, ships, other military hardware (and sometimes other stuff), modern and vintage, check out:
Lots of interesting stuff.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: June 6, 2019, 6:58 pm

I visited an Air Museum once which had the nose section of a B-24 and which allowed visitors to walk inside it.

I was -shocked- at how thin the aluminum skin was…. literally no thicker than it had to be to keep the air out. When you look at the planes in pictures, they seem big and heavy and give the illusion that they would offer fliers some protection. Up close, you realize that a 12-year-old could punch right through that skin with a pencil.

Brave, brave men.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: June 6, 2019, 10:44 pm

My locals:

I believe they pranged their C-47 once, but they’ve got it flying again!

They have a yearly airshow around St. Patrick’s Day…

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: June 7, 2019, 1:38 am

Some years ago, I and my dad toured the Collings Foundation’s B-17. He showed me where he sat as a bombardier (30 missions including two over Berlin.) “Flying Fortress”… Yeah, right.

BTW, that plane is still flying – it was here in Chicago last summer and I saw (and heard) it overhead.

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