Lead D-Day Plane Found

Published: August 12, 2015

Lead D-Day Plane Found, The plane with an ominous message for Adolf Hitler painted on its nose sat vacant in a boneyard, mere weeks from being torn apart.

The yellow letters read “That’s All Brother” — brother as in Hitler — a statement of confidence that the reign of the Third Reich was about to end. The young men who flew it knew they’d be the first plane in formation, leading 800 behind them, inbound to Normandy on D-Day.

The Douglas C-47 transport plane passed through 15 hands after World War II before being purchased by Basler Turbo Conversions, a company that breaks down old planes and turns them into modern ones. After the war, it was common for the armed forces to sell aircraft it no longer needed or even sink them in the ocean.

“It was right there on the production line,” said Stephan Brown, president of the Commemorative Air Force, a nonprofit group based in Dallas that preserves old military planes and runs educational programs around the country. “This is a modern miracle.”

The CAF has preserved at least one example of each type of aircraft flown by U.S. forces in World War II. And after a donor put up the money to buy the plane from Basler, the CAF ran a crowdfunding campaign and raised $350,000 for the restoration.

Basler’s headquarters are in Oshkosh, which also happens to be where EAA AirVenture, billed as the largest general aviation show in the world, takes place. The C-47 was featured there last month.

“We still have a ways to go,” Brown said. “It’s probably going to take a million dollars — a million and a half dollars — to totally get this airplane rebuilt from the ground up so it can last for 75 or 100 more years.”


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