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Jungle Skipper — Douglas C-47D Skytrain in green over grey

17 August 2012

Jungle Skipper — Douglas C-47D Skytrain in green over tan

35º 09′ 56″ N / 79º 00′ 13″ W

What has not been said of the DC-3 and what has it not done?

The DC-3/C-47 has been flying since 1936 when the DC-3 was first used by American Airlines to replace their Curtiss Condor* which revolutionized air travel in the U.S. Coast to coast flying was then possible in three hops with sleeping accommodations during the overnight legs. This was much different than the norm which had many more legs and overnight travel by train. The new norm meant that one could travel coast to coast in less than 18 hours.

These aircraft are flying and earning a living today though production ceased midway through the 20th Century — at the end of WW II. So it is no surprise that the DC-3/C-47/Dakota is one of the most produced aircraft in history — ranking only with the Antonov An 2 and Boeing B-737 in the category.

Douglas’s outstanding design has flown in Antarctic as well as jungle conditions, delivered paratroops over Normandy and supplies in Burma during WW II, flown as a glider and as a float plane, used as executive transport as well as a gunship — but it is flown almost all over the world out of regional airports as well as village scale airstrips. What has not been said and what has not been done by this aircraft?

There have been several posts and many photos in this blog about this aircraft type, please use the search window to find them all. The C-47 which is the subject of today’s images is exhibited at the Airlifters Air Park located in Pope Army Air Field (also a subject of a previous post).

Douglas C-47D Skytrain at Pope Army Air Field Airlifters Air Park — photo by Joseph May

Green over grey livery on this Skytrain — photo by Joseph May

The C-47 has a generous vertical stabilazer and rudder — photo by Joseph May

Right front quarter view of this C-47D — photo by Joseph May

“Jungle Skipper” in profile — photo by Joseph May

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Paste “Curtiss Condor” into the search window to find a photo of a model in the National Air & Space Museum as well as a photo of  passenger seat in the Miami Springs Historical Museum

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 August 2012 09:01

    Looks beautifully restored. I have a question I’ve not been able to find an definitive answer for yet. Years ago, I was told that the military never painted their aircraft with satin or gloss paint, only flat finish and that many times it was hand brushed on. Do you know if that’s true or not?

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      17 August 2012 12:23

      Hi Dave,

      Like you I’ve been curious about camo for while. I recall reading an article about the beginnings of it but don’t remember the history of it except that we are more than adequate whereas the British and Germans both excelled at it. So, we’ll have to look into it properly :)

      I’d hazard a guess that the military uses matte finishes to reduce the reflective qualities of the livery (reducing chances of glinting from the sun or reflecting moonlight and searchlights). As for hand brushing — I’d say that was a field expedient to just get the job done. Like you know, airbrushing would make for a smoother and more aerodynamic effect as well as using less paint (reducing weight).

      Thx :)

      Joe

    • 12 February 2013 20:03

      David,

      We painted this particular aircraft a gloss color so it would hold up to the elements as a static display. The shades are historically correct, however the matte finish would be proper. Also note that the national star and the colors of the tail number are both incorrect. Nat’l star should be blue and white and tail numbers should be yellow. “Jungle Skipper” is also incorrect as it should be plural. Check back late this spring and these errors should be corrected.

      Aaron Shuler
      Pope Field Air Park Custodian

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        15 February 2013 12:53

        One can tell from the condition of the aircraft at the park that a prefssionally minded group caretakes them — it’s good to know who they are and congratulations to you all. Thank,s too, for your attention to detail and calling out the corrections and improvements which are planned. This air park is one of my favorites to visit with the large aircraft, somewhat rare emphasis on cargo aircraft (often overlooked in contrast to their strategic significance) and having enough room to wander around each of the aircraft. “Jungle Skippers” does make more sense as a unit name and I’ll be sure to revisit as well as contact — thanks so much for your work, Joe

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