The Commemorative Air Force’s restoration of the airplane that led the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944 in Normandy, France — a C-47 named That’s All, Brother — is progressing quickly. The team is closing in on first flight activities less than three years after the CAF committed to restoring the historic airplane. The C-47 was found at Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where the C-47 had originally been slated for a turboprop conversion project.
The airplane had suffered metal corrosion during the decades and more than 1,600 hours of anti-corrosion work was completed at Basler last year with help from funding gained from an ongoing Internet-based campaign. The exterior of the airplane was decorated with historical imagery and fast facts about the airplane’s history to help with further fundraising. However, the airplane will be painted in its original colors. To date, more than $2 million has been raised to help complete the project, but the extensive work required to complete it will require more money.
In addition to the metal work, some instrumentation has been installed in the panel and the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines have been completely overhauled. The team is scheduled to do the first engine run very soon and the plan was for the airplane to take to the skies this year; however, the new schedule puts the first flight off to early next year.
Following the initial flight program, the interior restoration will be completed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The paint and exterior work is also planned for the first half of 2018. The airplane is scheduled to once again lead a team of warbirds during the 75th anniversary celebration of the D-Day invasion in 2019.