No. 7473. Douglas DC-3C (N229GB c/n 26874)
Photographed at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, Reading Regional Airport/Carl A Spaatz Field, Pennsylvania, USA, October 8, 2006, by Jack McKillop

Douglas DC-3C

02/28/2008. Remarks by Jack McKillop: "There was chaos in the US aircraft industry in early 1940. The British and French had ordered a large number of aircraft and were willing to pay high prices for them. At the same time, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt had called for a 'minimum increase of 3,000 planes' for the US military and this number kept increasing as war came nearer to the US.

These were uncoordinated requirements and the industry could not handle them. In order to solve this chaotic situation, the President formed the National Defense Advisory Commission (NDAC) to initiate the countryís defense mobilization. In July 1940, the U.S. military and the British Purchasing Commission agreed that: '... the procurement of airplanes and engines during the next two fiscal years ... should be coordinated to permit a unified effort.'

As part of this coordination, the USAAF was tasked with ordering all transport aircraft, i.e., DC-3s, DC-4, Curtiss Commandos, etc., for the USAAF, USN and Lend-Lease shipments to Allies. As a result, this Douglas Model DC-3A-456 was ordered by the USAAF as a C-47B-20-DK Skytrain, s/n 43-49613. It was delivered on November 29, 1944, and transferred to the USN which designated it R4D-6 and assigned BuNo 50819. In January 1945, the aircraft was assigned to the Naval Air Transport Serviceís (NATSís) Transport Squadron Two (VR-2) based at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. (NATS was equivalent to the USAAFís Air Transport Command.)

After the war, the aircraft served at NAS Olathe, Kansas; NAS San Diego, California; NAS Memphis, Tennessee; NAS Barbers Point, Territory of Hawaii; and NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey. At some time, it had been converted to an R4D-6Z and served as an admiralís aircraft. In 1959, the aircraft was transferred to Naval Air Facility Litchfield Park, Arizona, for storage.

In 1960, this was one of 20 R4Ds acquired by the Federal Aviation Administration and equipped as facility flight-check aircraft; this aircraft was given civilian registration N9119Z and later re-registered as N60. This DC-3 was transferred to the US Department of Agriculture in August 1966 and reregistered N68 and later N68AH in January 1977. The Department of Agriculture used the aircraft in their screw worm eradication program. It was declared surplus and stored at Douglas, Arizona, in 1979.

The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum purchased the aircraft on June 2, 1981, and restored it as an admiralís aircraft assigned to VR-2 of NATS. It now flies to a number of air shows every year as N229GB."

Created February 28, 2008