URBANA — History enthusiasts are invited to experience an unforgettable history lesson at Grimes Field Airport, 1636 N. Main St., on April 19. Visitors will be able to tour or even take a ride on the C-47 plane that led the invasion into Normandy, France, on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Admission to the airport ramp is free, a tour of the aircraft is $10 and rides cost $249 per person. Gates will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the plane arriving around 9:30 a.m. Flights are available from 1 to 5:30 p.m. To book a ride, register at www.centraltexaswing.org.
Those who buy tickets to fly can ride into history on “That’s All Brother,” the plane that led over 800 C-47’s that dropped over 13,000 paratroopers into a battle that changed the course of mankind. Riders will learn of the three major systems that made this lead aircraft so unique, hear about Lt. Col. John M. Donaldson, the Command Pilot of 438th Troop Carrier Group, the 13,000-plus paratroopers of the 101st and the 82nd Airborne, and the 4,000 troops that flew gliders towed behind these transport aircraft. Riders will also hear stories about “Scotty,” the little Scottish Terrier, that flew with the crew that fateful day.
Due to COVID restrictions, the number of passengers is limited. Passengers must be at least 5 years of age and children, ages 5-11, must be accompanied by a parent on all flights. Flights are weather dependent and all COVID restrictions/protocols will be followed.
“That’s All Brother” was acquired by the Commemorative Air Force in 2015. It has been completely restored to its 1944 condition, including its D-Day paint scheme along with a thorough historic interior restoration.
The CAF is a non-profit, all volunteer organization composed of 12,000 members in 27 states and four other countries. Founded in 1957, the initial goal was to preserve in flying condition at least one example of each aircraft flown by the American forces from 1939-1945. Today the organization owns 162 historic planes valued at over $50 million, of which 144 are in airworthy condition. The CAF is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance.
“We are excited to be part of this national tour and look forward to hosting this historic experience,” said Elton Cultice, Grimes Field Airport manager.
Information from event organizers.