C-47 Placid Lassie

About our C-47

Our C-47 is a real war hero, a veteran of D-day and operations Market Garden (Netherlands), Repulse (the relief of Bastogne) and Varsity.

 

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Her History

July, 1943

Built in Long Beach, California by the Douglas Aircraft Company as a C-47, Army Air Force order number AC- 20669.  Her contract number (or serial number) was 9926. On July 26, 1943 she was turned over to the U.S. Government and assigned the military registration number 42- 24064. The cost to build her was $109,683.

 

From Long Beach she was flown to:

  • Baer Field (Fort Wayne, IN) on July 29, 1943
  • Daggett Air Base (13 miles east of Barstow, CA) on July 31, 1943
  • Bookley Field (near Mobile, AL) by August 8, 1943

August, 1943

Assigned to the 74th Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS), 434th Troop Carrier Group (TCG). The 74th was activated on February 19, 1943 in Alliance, NE.

July, 1943 - Nov, 1945

U.S. Army Air Force

 

  • ​South Atlantic crossing (Sept. 23 to Oct 18, 1943)
  • Operation NEPTUNE (June 6 1944)—Normandy Invasion
  • Operation MARKET GARDEN September 17- 25 1944) – Netherlands
  • Operation REPULSE (Dec. 23-25, 1944) – Relief of Bastogne
  • Operation VARSITY (March 23, 1945) Rhine Crossing
  • South Atlantic crossing (June 22-July 6, 1945)

Pictured is 1st Lt. Richard Lumm, the pilot of Placid Lassie during World War II. He survived the war.

1945

After WWII, Placid Lassie was flown to the Reconstruction Finance Company in Walnut Ridge, AR. The RFC was a U.S. Government company with the mission to dispose of about 150,000 WWII aircraft via storage, sale or scrapping.

1947 or 1949

Purchased by West Coast Airlines, Seattle, WA

 

West Coast Airlines began operations in 1946 for the purpose of carrying passengers and mail based out of the Pacific northwest. WCA bought C-47s, presumably from RFC, converted them to DC-3 specification, and were based out of Boeing Field near Seattle, WA.

1969

Purchased by Aero-Dyne Corp

 

Aero-Dyne offered aircraft charters and aircraft maintenance, and may have used their DC-3 aircraft for type rating training. Areo-Dyne operated out of Renton Field in Renton, VA, until 1985.

1984

Purchased by Saber Cargo Airlines

 

Saber Cargo Airlines was based out of Charlotte, SC. At least six DC-3s are known to have been with Saber over the years. Saber went bankrupt 2003.

1992

Purchased by Express Air Cargo

 

Placid Lassie was owned by Jurmie E. Watkins, Jr. of Simpsonville, SC. Watkins was the registration agent of Express Air Inc, which was headquartered in South Carolina. The company dissolved in 2000.

2000

Dodson International Air

 

Dodson International Air was based at Covington Municipal Airport, Georgia. In the late 1990s they were operating four DC-3s, including Placid Lassie.  Soon after being purchased, Lassie had major engine issues and was parked due to lack of funds for repairs. She sat in tall weeds at the edge of the ramp for a decade, until James Lyle and Clive Edwards searched for a DC-3 to bring back to life.

2010

Restoration to Placid Lassie

 

In 2010, the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the DC-3, Clive Edwards, a DC-3 restoration expert, and James Lyle were determined to find a “dead” DC-3, and return it to flight status. Their goal was to complete the restoration and fly it to Oshkosh AirVenture for the 75th anniversary celebration. After considering many candidates across the nation and the Caribbean, they decided to acquire a DC-3 in Covington, GA that had been sitting for 10 years. A Union Jack flag was painted on the fuselage and she was named Union Jack Dak.

 

Seven weeks before AirVenture 2010 in Oshkosh, the restoration crew arrived in Covington and began their herculean task. The DC-3 was pulled out the weeds, wings removed, engines overhauled. Since the log books were missing all Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives had to be applied. They worked 17 hour days, 7 days a week. Their motto was "No sleep 'til Oshkosh."

 

After two successful test flights, Union Jack Dak triumphantly arrived at AirVenture mid-week.

How Union Jack Dak became Placid Lassie

The original plan was to sell the DC-3 after Oshkosh, but the team greatly enjoyed flying the aircraft. Historical research then revealed that the DC-3 was originally a C-47 and flew for the United States Army Air Force. She was a combat veteran, and more important, a D-Day veteran. How could we sell that? The aircraft was painted in D-Day colors, but she was still named Union Jack Dak.

 

In 2014, James Lyle, Eric Zipkin and others flew Union Jack Dak to England and then to Normandy for the 70th D-Day anniversary celebration. There they met Hans den Brok, a Dutch author and expert on the C-47s of the MARKET GARDEN operation, in which Union Jack Dak participated. Hans said the aircraft had flown with the 74th Transport Troop Squadron, and the one of the crew members, Ed Tunison, was still alive.

 

Ed was quickly contacted and flown to Belgium so he could again see his plane. When re-united, he informed the crew that during the war the C-47 was known as Placid Lassie and photos were obtained. Union Jack Dak instantly became Placid Lassie.

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C-47

Placid Lassie