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The XC-47C—the Skytrain/Dakota/DC-3 that could waterski

26 April 2016
Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

The Douglas XC-47C was likely a trial to determine the feasibility of the aircraft to perform amphibiously. Whether the idea was from military contingency planning, a need to fund the Edo Aircraft Corp. (now absorbed into a larger company), or to meet a specific need could not be found on-line—nor any first hand experiences. Although the context of its history remains latent it is a curious development. One can readily see its utility in areas rich in wide and long river expanses devoid of nearby airfields.

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

The Edo Aircraft Corp. manufactured their Model 78 amphibious floats for the trials and they appear to have worked well enough for calm water operations at least, as seen in this YouTube video link, though the all important taking off (where water spray from the prop wash is the most critical) remains unaddressed. This video also shows how entry and exit was made using a two ladder process with intermediate steps on the rear left float strut−which appears a bit precarious, in places requiring some faith. Also what could not be found was the ease of loading and unloading cargo. The twin engines would have aided in maneuvering on the water as well as the rudders on the floats. Its best operating environment could have been islands and remote wilderness, it would seem.

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats with personnel for scale—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats (note personnel for scale as well as the nose gear doors)—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats on the water—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats on the water(note the rungs on the rear left float strut)—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats and gear down for an airfield landing—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

Douglas XC-47C with Edo Model 78 amphibious floats and gear down for an airfield landing—San Diego Air and Space Museum image archive

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce Kay permalink
    26 April 2016 20:28

    Thanks for the tough as nails float plane!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      29 April 2016 08:28

      Cool looking plane 🙂

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