Today marks a very important anniversary, the 76th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which were the allied invasion of Europe in 1944. This invasion gave the allies a foothold in France that allowed them to push back against German-occupied Europe. Beach heads, Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha, and Utah were the designated landing spots and were heavily fortified by the Germans. Omaha Beach was the deadliest with the high cliffs and heavy fortifications. The original plan for the allies was to link up the beaches by the end of the first day but due to heavy resistance, it wasn’t until 8 days later that they were secure. Many brave men from multiple nations helped secure this victory without which the war would’ve been much different.
The C-47 or C-53 based on its use were used to drop paratroopers behind enemy lines and push the Germans out of the beach areas and nearby towns and villages. It was the largest airborne drop in history. The planes were marked with the black and white stripes so that they wouldn’t be shot by friendly ground fire.
There’s nothing quite like the morning glow of sunrise on a freshly polished airplane. It’s a strange combination of the natural world and the mechanical. Even if the plane is backlit it will still pop. Of course, a small trick to help make the silhouetted side come out is to use the shadow slider in ACR.
There are a few important dates to remember in May when it comes to aviation history but one of the ones that doesn’t get looked at as much is the first flight and first acceptance of the Douglas DC-2. The DC-2 first flew on May 11th and was accepted by Trans World Airlines May 18th 1934. The DC-2 was the precursor to the DC-3, as seen below, and while the DC-3 made a very large name for itself since it’s first flight December 17th 1935, the DC-2 had an impressive history in its own right.
The DC-2 was bigger, faster and could carry more people then the DC-1. Most importantly it was the first commercial plane to fly from coast to coast and not loose a business day. The DC-2 was the first Douglas plane to fly in an international airline when it competed in the 9,000 mile London to Melbourne race. It came in second even after picking up a stranded passenger. 198 examples were built between 1934-1939. A few examples still exist today but only a handful in the United States.
Today marks the first fight of the Douglas DC-3. This is one of the most iconic aircraft made during the 1930’s and saw major service during WWII as it was converted to fulfill many other roles under the designations of C-47 and C-53. The DC-3 was always the commercial version made for Airlines like TWA but later grew to many others. While it’s first flight was in 1935, it has been flying around the world under multiple owners, governments, and airlines, to the present day. The history of this one aircraft can not be summed up in a single post. It extends just too far.