Douglas C-47 Skytrain

One of the more popular military transport aircraft during the Second World War was developed by the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, also known as Dakota. It is considered to be the best WW2 aircraft that was used to transport military personnel.

The Skytrain was originally developed as a commercial airliner under the DC-3 model during the 1930s. It quickly became the best commercial transport aircraft due to its high level of performance which cannot be equaled by any other commercial airliner during that time.

However, due to the necessities of war, the DC-3 commercial aircraft was developed into the C-47 model. During the Second World War, armed forces of many countries used the Douglas C-47 for the transport of cargo, troops and wounded armies. The C-47 appeared in similar and varied forms within the US Navy, the British Royal Air Force, and the Soviet Air Force. Approximately more than 10,000 C-47 were produced in two different plants located in California and Oklahoma. The Oklahoma plant produced 5,354 C-47s. Ninety three examples of the base C-47 were produced before the line evolved to producing the C-47A. The C-47A was made notable by the improved electrical capacity system. On other hand, the C-47B featured improved performance engines and was earmarked for work in South East Asian theaters.

The C-47 was of a fundamental shape, featuring a low-monoplane wing set, tabular cabin, a single vertical tail surface and smooth rolling contours. The two engines, with 1,200 horsepower each, were mounted at each wing leading edge. The C-47 as a whole was duly noted for its ability to withstand extreme amounts of damage and still keep aloft. The C-47, as a supply plane, could carry up to 6,000 pounds of cargo or it can also hold a fully assembled jeep or a 37mm cannon. It could also carry 28 soldiers in full combat gear. This WW2 transport aircraft can accommodate 14 stretcher patients and three nurses when it plays its role as a medical airlift plane.

The C-47 Skytrain also earned the affectionate nicknames “Gooney Bird” and “Old Bucket” during its prominent days. The British Royal Air Force designated it the “Dakota”, a clever acronym composed of the letters DACoTA for Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft. The Skytrain airframe proved to be up to the task making it one of the more influential aircraft designs of all time and undoubtedly contributed immensely to the Allied war effort and its ultimate victory, in both civilian travel and military transport. With the end of the war, thousands of surplus C-47s were sold and overhauled and modified for civil airline use, some remaining in operation in 2008.


Allied Codename: Dakota. Gooney Bird, Old Bucket
Type: military transport aircraft
Design: Douglas Aircraft Company
Engine(s): 2 x 1200-HP R-180 radial engines
Max Speed: 230 mph
Max Range: 1,600 nautical miles
Ceiling: 7,315 meters
Length: 19.43 meters
Wingspan: 29.11 meters
Height: 5.18 meters