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The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Thursday, November 10, 2011

St. Louis Museum of Transportation Restores Its C-47 Skytrain to Former Luster

By Fred Harl
Most visitors to the St. Louis Museum of Transportation in west St. Louis County (MO) set out to enjoy the outdoor locomotive yard declared "one of the largest and best collections of transportation vehicles in the world" by John H. White, Curator Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution.  Upon entering the museum, operated by The Transport Museum Association and the St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department, one cannot help but notice an airplane parked near the entrance.  It is a Douglas C-47A Skytrain, serial number 43-15635, and it has been given a facelift after being allowed to weather in the 4- season Midwest climate for decades.  Here is a brief history of the aircraft and a walk-around of the current display.

This aircraft was produced during the Second World War, in time to likely be used during the D-Day invasion of France (or shortly thereafter), and retains the distinctive stripes once used to identify Allied aircraft during the D-Day campaign.  After the war, it was used in commercial service and then again in military colors with the 131st TFW, MO Air National Guard, until 1972.  It is now on loan to the St. Louis Museum of Transportation from the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

Here is how the C-47 arrived at the museum, on a CH-54 Skycrane of the Kansas National Guard:

(Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Archives)

(Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Archives)

The current display at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation can be seen by all visitors, in a place of honor, as they approach the parking lot.  Here is a walk-around view of the aircraft as it looks today:

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