Whiskey 7

Whiskey 7 is a 1943 build Douglas C-47A Skytrain troop transport. A derivative of the venerable DC-3 airliner, the C-47 was created out of necessity and was pressed into military service with few modifications. The C-47 had no armor and carried carried no weapons. They were slow and unmaneuverable, with a maximum cruising speed of about 150 mph. But the “Gooney Bird,” as she was known to her crews, could transport over 6000 lbs of men and equipment to and from the front lines, making it a critical aircraft in the Allied fight.

Whiskey 7 rolled off of the Douglas Aircraft assembly line in Long Beach, California in September 1943 and was assigned USAAF serial number 43-30652. From there she was assigned to the 12th Air Force, 316th Troop Carrier Group, 37th Troop Carrier Squadron, in North Africa where she carried troops and supplies in support of Allied operations there. In April of 1944 she was flown to England and assigned to the 9th Air Force in preparation for the Allied invasion of Northern Europe.

In the early hours of June 6th, 1944 she departed RAF Cottesmore, England under the command of 37th TCS Commander Lt. Col. Leonard Fletcher. She flew as the lead ship for the second wave troop carrier force for the airborne invasion, dropping elements of the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division on Drop Zone "O" near St. Mere Eglise. The 505th PIR was one of only a handful of units to drop on their assigned drop zone and was quickly able to assemble an effective fighting force. Lt. Col. Edward C. Krause, commander of the 3rd Battalion, jumped from W7 and led the initial assault on St. Mere Eglise, the first village to be liberated in France. Despite heavy enemy fire, no aircraft of the 316th TCG were lost on D-Day.

Whiskey 7 continued to fly throughout the war, including towing gliders in operation Market Garden. She was decommissioned in July of 1945 and sold to Penn Central Airlines and converted back to a passenger airliner. During her long career she was operated by several other airlines and was eventually sold to a private operator in 1993. Whiskey 7 was donated to the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group (now the National Warplane Museum) in 2005 where she was converted back to her wartime configuration and is now used to educate the public and honor those who served their country in World War II. She is painted in her D-Day color scheme, including the large W7, the squadron code for the 37th TCS.

Our C-47 in 1944, serving with the 36th Troop Carrier Squadron over Europe.

C-47A Specifications:
General characteristics
Crew: 4 (Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator, Radio Operator)
Capacity: 28 troops
Payload: 6,000 lb (2,700 kg)
Length: 63 ft 9 in (19.43 m)
Wingspan: 95 ft 6 in (29.41 m)
Height: 17 ft 0 in (5.18 m)
Wing area: 987 ft² (91.70 m²)
Empty weight: 18,135 lb (8,226 kg)
Loaded weight: 26,000 lb (11,793 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 31,000 lb (14,061 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each
Maximum speed: 224 mph (195 kn, 360 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
Cruise speed: 160 mph (139 kn, 257 km/h)
Range: 1,600 mi (1,391 nmi, 2,575 km)
Ferry range: 3,600 mi (3,130 nmi, 5,795 km)
Service ceiling: 26,400 ft (8,045 m)
Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 9.5 min