A World War II era C-47 transport plane that was part of the D-Day invasion is spending some time in Duluth this week, giving folks the opportunity to discover the rich history of the plane and learn the powerful history of the war it was built for.

I was not only given the chance to fly in one of the few C-47s from D-Day that are still airworthy, but was also granted the honor of flying with PFC John J. Hinchliff of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Hinchliff, who is currently 93 years old, had 30 jumps during WWII, including a jump during the notable Battle of Graignes in France.

The flight, along with hearing stories from Mr. Hinchliff on the plane, made for an incredibly moving experience. Among those on the flight was also Dawn Schaible from the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, NY, which is the group that owns the plane. Dawn perfectly stated the value of seeing planes like this one and hearing stories like those from Mr. Hinchliff, commenting "You can read something online about history and it just doesn't take on the same meaning as [experiencing] the plane or hearing the emotion in the person's voice who lived it and has a story story to tell."

This particular plane was constructed in 1943 in California as one of over 10,000 of its model that was ever built. The C-47 was built as a transport plane to move troops and for use in paratrooper missions. These planes had no special armor or weaponry, making them very vulnerable. Many C-47 pilots and passengers often sat on their helmets or flack jackets to help protect from bullets that may come through the bottom of the plane.

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