The Commemorative Air Force has succeeded once again in returning a historically significant airplane to the skies. And this one is extra special. That’s All Brother happens to be the Douglas C-47A Skytrain that led some 800 paratrooper-carrying C-47s over Normandy, France, during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, when about 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships brought in 160,000 Allied troops to the French coastline in an attempt to defeat Adolph Hitler’s Nazi troops — a day that served as the beginning of the end of World War II.
Before finding its way to the CAF, That’s All Brother served in many capacities after the war and was about to be converted to a turboprop by Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. But CAF found the historic C-47 just in time and committed to taking it on as a restoration project. Basler completed much of the restoration.
“Their skilled employees have unparalleled knowledge of the C-47-type aircraft, and have been a major resource, accelerating the early stages of the restoration considerably,” said CAF’s president and CEO Bob Stanevik.
“We estimate that we have put more than 22,000 hours into this restoration project so far and the work continues,” said Stanevik. “Thanks to the financial support of over 3,000 individuals and organizations, and an extraordinary group of volunteers, we have been able to achieve this great milestone with the first flight.”
That’s All Brother lifted off from the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh around mid-day on January 31. CAF pilot Doug Rozendaal, who also landed the airplane in Oshkosh after its last flight nearly one decade ago, successfully took That’s All Brother to the skies not one but three times.
This return to flight is a major step in the right direction to fulfill the CAF’s ultimate goal for That’s All Brother, to once again lead a flight of C-47s over Normandy on the celebration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6, 2019. The airplane will soon move from Oshkosh to San Marcos, Texas, where the CAF Central Texas Wing will continue to care for and maintain it.