A rare chance to fly in an historic aircraft which played a critical role in World War 2
The C47 is visiting Camarillo until October 1.
The engines start to run to warm up from this 80 year old World War Two military aircraft, this C-47 named, That's All Brother, played a pivotal role in World War Two.
"This plane is very historically significant. It was the lead of the main airborne invasion on D-Day. So 802 C-47 made their way across the English Channel to deploy over 13,000 paratroopers into occupied France. And that was the beginning of D-Day. And turning the tide of history, and we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the brave people who participated in that operation," said Andy Maag, one of the pilots of That's All Brother.
"We have to walk uphill to get into the plane and downhill to get out. When we're up in the air. It flies like any normal airplane, but it's really handling it on the ground - taxiing, takeoff and landing are the trickiest parts," he explained.
We get up to speed on the runway here at Camarillo Airport in this piece of living history, lovingly restored by the commemorative Air Force after being found in a scrapyard in Wisconsin. On the exterior, she's sporting black and white stripes, as she would have been for the D-Day landings to identify her as allied forces.
When the aircraft carried paratroopers on a one way trip across the English Channel, flying as low as 500 feet to avoid detection in 1944.
"They got a one way trip and from about 1000 feet. So maybe about one minute in the air under a round canopy that comes down very quickly. You can't steer. It was also in the middle of the night. So really where they landed was basically just luck of the draw after they jumped out of the airplane," said Maag of the paratroopers abroad in 1944.
And the name? "It was a message to Hitler," said Maag. "And it was a message that, you know, your time is up."
In 1944, it can't have been a comfortable journey. The seats are more like shallow metal sinks and it's noisy. But comfort would have been the last thing on the minds of the paratroopers, some just 18 or 19 years old, who had to jump into the dark over enemy territory, looking out of the windows, which are about the size of a microwave door.
We can see the fields of Ventura County, but back then, the paratroopers on board would have seen the coast of France coming into focus as they began their mission, a mission that would change the course of World War Two.
Maag says it's "amazingly humbling" to fly the aircraft now.
"We get to fly these amazing pieces of history and they each have an individual story to tell. And each one is unique. You know, we have a saying like, if you see one C-47, you've seen one C-47. Everyone is different. Everyone has lived a long life and done amazing things," he said.
Now, as we cruise over Ventura County, it's a pleasure flight. But in every rivet, in every propeller turn, you can feel the ghosts of those brave men who flew in her before you.
TheD-Day Living History Flightis available through October 1 at CAF Southern California Wing, 455 Aviation Drive, Camarillo.