This last April, it was finally time to bring our Douglas C-47 home and finish the trip that started last summer in southern England. We recently completed a new storage facility that allowed us to make some room and get it inside. I grabbed some of the crew from last summer and headed north to Oshkosh where we had left it on display in the EAA Museum. By the time we arrived, it had been moved over to the Flight Research Hangar where we could begin working on it.
Once we got there, we did a quick survey of everything and got started.
Over the course of the next few days, we installed the charged batteries, re-installed the GPS, began inspections, did gear swings . . .
and began loading up what we needed to take home.
Once completed, we pushed it out into gorgeous weather to fuel it and prepared to make some smoke and noise.
The engines ran great and it looked as if we were getting close to flying. The other pilot that crossed the Atlantic with me, Verne Jobst, was on stand-by a couple hours away but, unfortunately, had recently had some minor eye surgery and found out at the last minute he was not legal to make the trip. Bummer! I called Frank Moss in Florida, the father of Glen Moss, who had flown across the Atlantic with us last summer. Frank and his kids run a DC-3 operation in Florida and is very qualified. He was willing to help us and arrived the next day.
Unfortunately, after Frank arrived, we learned we were not legal to fly on the annual inspection we had done. We needed to have an inspection program by approved our local Florida FAA! This wasn’t something that was going to happen overnight. Our only option was to request a ferry permit from the FAA to get home and sort out the proper paperwork later. Unfortunately for us, it was Friday afternoon and the offices were closed!
Sadly, some of our crew went home the next day, as we could only legally fly with “essential crew only” on the ferry permit. We hung around over the weekend making small tweaks to the airplane and visiting the EAA museum. Monday morning came and we soon had our permit in hand.
Unfortunately, the weather was about to move in but not before we got a short flight in. While the weather was somewhat marginal, everything checked out fine.
We got out the next day before more weather moved in but still had weather south of us. This forced us to head out across Lake Michigan to try and get around the east side of it.
Crossing the last major water body from England, we dodged some weather in Indiana and eventually broke out into gorgeous weather.
After about six hours of flying, we stopped for the night in Douglas, GA where we hooked up with some other warbird owners. The next day was absolutely beautiful for our last leg to Fantasy of Flight. We delayed our take-off to arrive in time for our daily Airplane of Day display at 1:30 pm. Our Grand Arrival was greeted by many supporters and employees, as well as a couple of newspapers and news stations.
It was great to be home and I want to thank everyone that helped make our trip a successful and memorable one. We met a lot of new friends along the way and each of us now has a lot of great stories to tell.
It’s interesting how life can be full of surprises. Just over a year ago, I didn’t even know this airplane existed and now its safely on display at Fantasy of Flight. A year ago, I never would have dreamed I would be crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a C-47 and would became the reason for me to finally get my instrument rating last January.
Once we get the final FAA approval, I’ll get my type-rating and look forward to showing it off! One thing is for certain, this will be one adventure I will never forget!