McDonnell / Douglas

Douglas C-47/C-53 Skytrooper

Douglas C-53 Skytrooper

McDonnell / Douglas


The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota (RAF, RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF, and SAAF designation) is a military transport aircraft developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner.

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C-47/53 Skytrooper

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota (RAF, RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF, and SAAF designation) is a military transport aircraft developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front-line service with various military operators for many years.


The specialized C-53 Skytrooper troop transport started production in October 1941 at Douglas Aircraft’s Santa Monica plant. It lacked the cargo door, hoist attachment, and reinforced floor of the C-47. Only 380 aircraft were produced in all because the C-47 was found to be more versatile.

Design C-53

The C-47 differed from the civilian DC-3 in numerous modifications, including being fitted with a cargo door, hoist attachment, and strengthened floor, along with a shortened tail cone for glider-towing shackles, and an astrodome in the cabin roof.

During World War II, the armed forces of many countries used the C-47 and modified DC-3s for the transport of troops, cargo, and wounded. The U.S. naval designation was R4D. More than 10,000 aircraft were produced in Long Beach and Santa Monica, California and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Between March 1943 and August 1945, the Oklahoma City plant produced 5,354 C-47s.




RoleMilitary transport aircraft
National originUnited States
ManufacturerDouglas Aircraft Company
DesignerDouglas Aircraft
First flight23 December 1941[1]
StatusIn service with Colombia, El Salvador, and South Africa
Primary usersUnited States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
United States Navy
Royal Canadian Air Force
See operators
Number built10,174
Developed fromDouglas DC-3
VariantsDouglas XCG-17
Douglas AC-47 Spooky


RAF designations

RAF designations

A Dakota IV in RAF Transport Command colors, owned by the Classic Air Force, operating out of Coventry Airport
Dakota I
RAF designation for the C-47 and R4D-1.
Dakota II
RAF designation for nine C-53 Skytroopers received under the lend lease scheme. Unlike the majority of RAF Dakotas, these aircraft were therefore dedicated troop transports, lacking the wide cargo doors and reinforced floor of the C-47.
Dakota III
RAF designation for the C-47A.
Dakota IV
RAF designation for the C-47B.
Airspeed AS.61
Conversion of Dakota I aircraft
Airspeed AS.62
Conversion of Dakota II aircraft
Airspeed AS.63
Conversion of Dakota III aircraft
BEA Pionair/Dart-Dakota
Conversion of Dakota to Rolls-Royce Dart power and used by BEA to prove turboprop engines prior to entry into service of Vickers Viscount.[

Specifications (Douglas C-53)

  • General characteristics

    • Crew: 4 (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, radio operator)
    • Capacity: 28 troops
    • Length: 63 ft 9 in (19.43 m)
    • Wingspan: 95 ft 6 in (29.11 m)
    • Height: 17 ft 0 in (5.18 m)
    • Wing area: 987 sq ft (91.7 m2)
    • Airfoil: root: NACA 2215; tip: NACA 2206[26]
    • Empty weight: 18,135 lb (8,226 kg)
    • Gross weight: 26,000 lb (11,793 kg)
    • Max takeoff weight: 31,000 lb (14,061 kg)
    • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C Twin Wasp 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 1,200 hp (890 kW) each
    • Propellers: 3-bladed constant-speed propellers

Specifications (C-47/C-53 Skytrain)



  • Maximum speed: 224 mph (360 km/h, 195 kn) at 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
  • Range: 1,600 mi (2,600 km, 1,400 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 3,600 mi (5,800 km, 3,100 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 26,400 ft (8,000 m)
  • Time to altitude: 10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 9 minutes 30 seconds
  • Wing loading: 26.3 lb/sq ft (128 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.0926 hp/lb (0.1522 kW/kg)


Aircrafttoaal encyclopedia

The Douglas C-54 Skymaster is a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces in World War II and the Korean War. Like the Douglas C-47 Skytrain derived from the DC-3, the C-54 Skymaster was derived from a civilian airliner, the Douglas DC-4