POSTED: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 10:13am
UPDATED: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 4:50pm
Tyler, Texas (KETK) — This old war bird was built in 1944, and it was used during WWII, the C47 army aircraft was known as a "work horse" during second world, Senior Pilot Cliff Walker tells KETK, "It was used as a cargo airplane, it would carry jeeps and heavy gun armament, troops, food and supplies"
The C47 was a legendary aircraft, Walker tells KETK, "It was one of the things (President) Eisenhower crediting for the winning of world war two"
After the war, the C47’s were bought and used for civilian travel, and called a DC3 jetliner.
Walker says, “There were 10,000 made originally, there are currently about a thousand worldwide that are still flying, " and the The “Spirit of Hondo" is one of them. She made her way to Tyler from her home on the Hondo Army Airfield in Hondo Texas this weekend, and KETK’s crew was the first passengers on board to take it for a ride.
Airplane Mechanic Jake White tells KETK, seeing her fly for the first time after many years, was a moment he will never forget. White says, "I’m not a lady, and I don’t know what it’s like to have a child but, when I first saw her take into the air, I was nervous, I was crazy, I was on the radio telling them 'you need to come back!'
"The Spirit of Hondo" is now spreading lessons to the younger generation in Hondo Texas, they hold tours of the plane, White says, "We try to teach the kids a little bit of history. a little bit about how an airplane flies, the wing design and stuff."
After more work and restoration, this crew hopes to make more flights in "The Spirit of Hondo" and inspire children from all over the world to learn about the history of aviation.