Lyon Air Museum’s C-47 Dakota, recently christened “Willa Dean,” has had a long and successful service life. Transferred from the USAAF to the French in May of 1945, this aircraft continued to fly for the most part unmodified, unlike so many of its contemporaries. In 1967 it again changed ownership, this time transferring to the Israelis. There, it continued service without major modification, ultimately being sold to the civilian market where it found its way to Lyon Air Museum as one of the most complete and original C-47s currently in operation. “Willa Dean” now carries the colors of the 440th Troop Carrier Group’s 97th Troop Carrier Squadron, complete with D-Day Invasion Stripes.
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Prototype First Flight: