The Douglas C-47 Skytrain is a military transport derived from the DC-3 airliner. Considered the greatest airplane of its time, the DC-3 did not go unnoticed by one of Douglass oldest customers, the United States Army. In 1940, a large order was placed for the military DC-3, which was designated C-47. By 1941, the US Army Air Force had selected the C-47 as its standard transport aircraft. A reinforced fuselage floor and the addition of a large cargo door were the only major modifications. For both airline and military use, the aircraft proved to be tough, flexible, and easy to operate and maintain.
As a supply plane, the C-47 can carry up to 6,000 pounds of cargo. It can also hold a fully assembled jeep or a 37 mm cannon. As a troop transport, it can carry 28 soldiers in full combat gear. As a medical airlift plane, it can accommodate 14 stretcher patients and three nurses.
The ubiquity of the Skytrain and its ability to operate from very rough forward airstrips made it familiar to Allied forces stationed around the world. It not only pioneered in-theater wartime routes but also served as a VIP transport, general personnel transport, troop carrier, cargo transport, paratroop assault transport, glider tug, airborne ambulance, air-sea rescue craft, and special operations aircraft.
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