The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) reports that the aircraft that led a formation of more than 800 C-47s to Normandy to drop paratroopers on D-Day will take its first flight since the restoration began.
On Jan. 31, 2018, at 1 p.m. CST in Wisconsin, D-Day C-47 That’s All, Brother will return to the sky — and you can watch it live.
It has been nearly 10 years since That’s All, Brother flew, but the airplane’s incredible D-Day history was only recently discovered by U.S. Air Force historian Matt Scales.
This airplane, which led the first major blow in the Allied liberation of Europe, was found in an aircraft boneyard in Wisconsin. Like so many aircraft that survived World War II, That’s All, Brother was used in a variety of civilian roles, hauling people and cargo across the United States.
In time, its vital role in the liberation of Europe was forgotten. Upon learning of the potential for the airplane to be cut up or scrapped, the CAF, an organization known for rescuing, restoring and flying more than 170 vintage military airplanes, launched an effort to save That’s All, Brother.
After a far-reaching fundraising campaign, supporters made it possible for the CAF to acquire and begin an unprecedented restoration with the goal to authentically restore That’s All, Brother to its original D-Day configuration.
It was known early on that the restoration would be massive due to extensive corrosion, CAF officials said.
Nearly every inch of That’s All, Brother would need to be restored to full functionality as it was in 1944, in order to permit the aircraft to fly again, officials said.
“We estimate that we have put more than 22,000 hours into this restoration project so far and the work continues. Thanks to the financial support of over 3,000 individuals and organizations, and an extraordinary group of volunteers, we have been able to achieve this great milestone with the first flight,” said Bob Stenevik, the CAF President/CEO. “Much of the work up until this point has been carried out by Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Their skilled employees have unparalleled knowledge of C-47-type aircraft, and have been a major resource, accelerating the early stages of the restoration considerably. The aircraft, once flying, will become a valuable tool for our organization, helping to tell the story of D-Day and the great efforts and sacrifices made on the shores of Normandy.”
Once initial flight operations are complete, That’s All, Brother will head to its new home in San Marcos, Texas. There it will be assigned to the CAF Central Texas Wing, where volunteers will be responsible for the care and maintenance of the aircraft.
In June 2019, That’s All, Brother will participate in the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, flying along with several other World War II aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean to Duxford, England, and then to Normandy, France.
“The first flight represents the successful completion of the first phase of our ambitious plan for the C-47 That’s All, Brother’s return to Normandy in 2019, and it is a tremendous achievement for everyone involved in this historic project,” said Central Texas Wing Leader Joe Enzminger. “The Wing is excited to have the aircraft arrive at its new home in San Marcos, and we look forward to the challenge of completing the mission. The next steps are interior and detail work in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and restoring the aircraft exterior to its 1944 appearance.”
Going forward, the Central Texas Wing will offer aircraft tours, attend aviation events and conduct educational programs leading up to the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Those interested in learning more and supporting the efforts to keep this aircraft flying and the goal for it to participate in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day events in Normandy, June 2019, can visit ThatsAllBrother.org.
Watch the First Flight Live
Live footage of the first flight is set to be broadcast via Facebook on Jan. 31, 2018 at 1 p.m. CST.
Many determining factors, such as maintenance preparation or weather may adjust the date/time of the flight.
To receive the most updated information and notifications, go to Facebook.com/thatsallbrother.