The restoration of the DC-3 that dropped smokejumpers on the Mann Gulch Fire in 1949 is nearly complete as the departure date for its flight to Normandy looms. Named Miss Montana, the plane had not been flown since 2001, meaning the volunteers working on the project for the last year or so have had plenty on their to-do list.
Sunday’s test flight, the first time it has left the ground in 18 years, went better than expected said Jeff Whitesell, who will be the chief pilot when it leaves Montana later this week for Normandy to help commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 5-6 along with many other DC-3s that are being flown in from around the world. A group of 15 men and women will parachute from Miss Montana during planned events in England and France.
Later in the week, after the test flights, Miss Montana took to the air again and dropped jumpers. That video is below.
Another DC-3 that hopefully completes its restoration in time to fly to Normandy is a project being conducted by Mikey McBryan of Buffalo Airways. Buffalo, based in the northern part of the Northwest Territories, operates several air tankers, including a P3 undergoing major maintenance at Sacramento McClellan Airport. (UPDATE May 16, 2019: Darryl tells us the Buffalo DC-3 will not go to Normandy, but they hope to have it finished by D-Day.)
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