The Douglas C-47A Skytrain was produced in larger numbers than any other version of the C-47, and with 5,253 built represented nearly half of the total production run of 10,654 aircraft in the DC-3 family. The majority of these aircraft were ordered during 1942, and they were built in large numbers at Douglas’s factories in Long Beach (2,954 aircraft) and Oklahoma City (2,299 aircraft).
The only difference between the C-47A and the earlier C-47 was the replacement of the original 12 volt electrical system with a 24 volt system, and the use of better cabin heating.
After the Second World War the USAAF was left with vast numbers of C-47As. Although most of these aircraft were quickly sold off as surplus, a large number remained in the Air Force, where they were put to use in a variety of unusual ways.
The VC-47A was a staff transport with conventional airline style seating replacing the normal seats of the C-47.
SC-47 (HC-47 from 1962)
The SC-47 was a search and rescue aircraft, equipped with inflatable life rafts, flares, food supplies and other survival and rescue equipment. The SC-47 would search for the survivors of a crash at sea, drop a liferaft and supplies, and the rescue would then be carried out by either an amphibious aircraft of a helicopter.
AC-47 (1953-62), RC-47 (1962), EC-47 (1962-)
The first version of the C-47 to be designated as the AC-47 was an electronic warfare aircraft, used to monitor radio and radar frequencies, originally for use against the Soviets. It saw active service in Korea, where it was used to both monitor communications and drop flares to support tactical airpower, and in Vietnam, by which time it had been redesignated as the EC-47.
Statistics (standard C-47A)
Engines: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp x2
Power: 1,200 each
Wing span: 95ft 6in
Length: 63ft 9in
Height: 17ft 0in
Empty weight: 17,865lb
Loaded weight: 26,000lb
Maximum weight: 31,000lb
Maximum speed: 230mph at 8,800ft
Cruising speed: 170mph
Normal range: 1,600 miles
Maximum range: 3,800 miles