‘Miss Montana’ C-47 Aircraft Preparing for D-Day Re-enactment
‘Miss Montana’ pilot Bryan Douglass called the KGVO Montana Morning News on Monday morning just before taking off in a rehearsal for the upcoming D-Day 75th anniversary ceremonies in Normandy, France.
“We were on a formation practice flight this morning,” said Douglass. “There was going to be a rehearsal for the jumpers, but they’re keeping everybody off the plane except for essential crews, so I sat this one out. They’ll be starting up the engines pretty soon, so any minute now, you might hear ‘Miss Montana’ fire up her engines.”
Douglass walked through the events to come for the “Miss Montana’.
“On the afternoon of June 5th we’ll all be taking part, I think there are 30 or 31 here now, with all of us taking off with jumpers on board for those who are going to drop jumpers, fly across the channel and drop our jumpers on the drop zone by Cannes and then we’ll land at the Cannes airport,” he said. “The next big event that we’re pretty sure we’ll be included in, there’s the June 6th formation flyover and there are only 12 planes invited for that. That will be the formation flight over Omaha Beach cemetery where the Presidents of the U.S. and France and it’ll be a privilege to be a part of that.”
Douglass said the flight over the English Channel will take several hours.
“From here to the drop zone will take about two and a half hours,” he said. “It’s not a direct flight, I wish we could fly over London, but we can’t,” she said. “They published the route and we expect a lot of people to be there in large numbers. We’ll be flying at about a thousand feet.”
Following the completion of the D-Day and Berlin Airlift ceremonies, Douglass spoke of the eventual return home.
“Our plan tentatively is to park for a couple of days and do some preventive maintenance,” he said. “Then we’ll pick our way home generally along the same route we came and hopefully we won’t have a detour around weather, and hopefully get home around the end of June.”
Douglass said the “Miss Montana” won’t be flying back to Missoula right away.
“Our plan is to drop here near Indianapolis,” he said. “We’ve got a hangar there and the crew will come back at the end of July when we’ll fly her to Oshkosh for three or four days for the big air show there. After that we’ll fly her back to Missoula where our plan is to do a commemorative parachute drop over the Mann Gulch Fire on the 70th anniversary of that event which is this coming August 5th. We’ll bring her home for the fall and winter and then make plans for what to do in the following year.”