HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A piece of World War II history has landed in the Rocket City. A plane that once carried paratroopers in some of the Second World War’s most significant operations is visiting Madison County and offering visitors insight into its role in history.
The aircraft carries the name “That’s All, Brother,” chosen by one of its early pilots, Lieutenant Commander Donaldson.
“He wanted to send Adolf Hitler a message,” said retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Mitch Mitchell, a member of the Commemorative Air Force.
On the eve of D-Day, those words, painted on the nose of the C-47 aircraft, led the airborne invasion of Normandy. The plane carried the 101st Airborne Division paratroopers.
The plane may have been lost to history, but it was located by members of the Commemorative Air Force at a boneyard in Wisconsin. In 2018, after thousands of hours of restoration work, the plane began operations in the U.S.
“Our goal actually was to resurrect the airplane and actually get it to look like it did on D-Day,” Mitchell said.
External elements of the plane have been restored to their 1944 appearance, and the inside remains largely unchanged, with a few modern adjustments made to keep the plane flying.
“The center section of the instrument panel has modern instruments in it,” Mitchell said. “We can look at the weather, and put the course in, heading and all that stuff that helps us fly the plane.”
Now, the aircraft serves as a piece of living history.
“We want to educate the upcoming and current generations in regards to the significance of these airplanes and what it took to fly them,” Mitchell said.
The plane will remain at the Huntsville Executive Airport until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tour admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 12. The flight experience is $275 per person. It is an hour long and includes a 20-25 minute flight and a picture with the crew.