Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Last Time
Half of the DC-3s in America celebrate the Gooney Bird’s 75th
He’s back in the war, sitting hip-to-shoulder with 27 other air-landing GIs in a British Airspeed Horsa troop glider, about to be cut loose to glide to a landing near Sainte-Mère-Église, the infamous post-D-Day battle of June 6, 1944. At 27, Joe is the “old man,” a seasoned three-year vet of nearly all the major campaigns of World War II.
The Horsa rides the other end of a tow line from a C-47 Dakota, the military version of the immortal DC-3 that will become a prime symbol of dependability, hope and victory across 75 years of military and civilian aviation. But to Joe Colmer, the transport ship makes a mere background overture to the terrors of battle looming ahead. He only wants to do his job, then someday walk again under the big tree, through the white fence and up the front porch of home. The Dak is the airplane that’s going to help him—and thousands more—get there.
In 1939, under the shadow of the European war, near the end of recovery from the Great Depression, Americans bought newspapers for two cents, gas for a dime a gallon and hamburger meat for $.14 a pound. Albert Einstein wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt to propose an atomic bomb, the World’s Fair and LaGuardia Airport opened in New York, television broadcasting began, and Gone with the Wind was one of several big film hits.
Page 1 of 3
Labels: Aviation History, Classic Airplanes, Features, Journeys, Pilot Resources, Shows and Fly-Ins, Vintage Aircraft, Vintage Airplanes, Vintage/Classic Airplanes, Aviation Personalities, Aircraft, Adventure Flying