DALLAS, June 4, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The transport aircraft that led the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France more than 70 years ago has been rediscovered in an aircraft boneyard in Wisconsin. Believed lost to history, the airplane was slated to be cut apart and remanufactured as a modern turbo-prop. The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is launching a Kickstarter funding campaign to save and restore the plane to flying condition.
Five hours before the D-Day beach landings began, That's All, Brother led a formation of more than 800 aircraft that dropped 13,000 paratroopers behind enemy lines. Historic film, shot as the airplane departs on its D-Day mission, shows it was equipped with an early form of airborne radar to guide the invasion force to the drop zone. The aircraft was named That's All, Brother as a personal message to Adolf Hitler that, with the Allied invasion of Europe, his plans were done.
CAF has negotiated for the opportunity to acquire That's All, Brother from Basler Turbo Conversions of Oshkosh, Wis. The company had purchased the airframe to convert into a modern BT-67 turboprop and was unaware of its lineage until a researcher alerted them to its huge historical significance.
As part of the agreement the CAF must complete its purchase of That's All, Brother by August 31. With the deadline approaching, the CAF has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the remaining funds to rescue this noteworthy aircraft.
"This is a modern miracle," said CAF President/CEO Stephan C. Brown. "The aircraft was within weeks of being torn apart, when its serial number 42-92847 was traced and it turned out to be the actual lead aircraft for the D-Day invasion."
After returning from the initial drop of 101st Airborne Division paratroopers on D-Day, That's All, Brother towed a glider to Normandy, carrying essential supplies and men of the 82nd Airborne Division into the heart of the battle. The aircraft remained on combat status throughout the European campaign, participating in Operation Market Garden, the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and the crossing of the Rhine River. After the war it passed through sixteen civilian owners and its story was forgotten.
The CAF plans to faithfully restore That's All, Brother to airworthy condition, representing its exact configuration on D-Day. The airplane will be a "flying classroom", allowing school children and other visitors to board the aircraft and sit in the original paratrooper seats. Inside the darkened plane, hidden speakers and sensors will carry people back in time to the night of June 5-6, 1944.
"We want to bring this world class artifact back to the public as part of the CAFs mission to educate future generations about the legacy and values of those who fought for freedom in World War II," Brown said.
The aircraft will be based in Dallas as an iconic centerpiece of CAF's new national aviation museum attraction. It will also be available to attend major national commemoration events, airshows and flyovers. The CAF also plans to fly the aircraft to Europe in the summer of 2019 to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the last opportunity for living veterans to attend a major commemoration event.
The Kickstarter fundraising page can be accessed via: www.ThatsAllBrother.org
Full Media Kit, including photos and videos of the plane, old and new
Film footage showing That's All Brother departing for the D-Day invasion
Video narrated by actor Dale Dye (Band of Brothers)
About the Commemorative Air Force:
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) was founded in 1957, a time when the U.S. military was scrapping the fleet of aircraft that had played a decisive part in winning World War II. With the rallying cry "Keep 'Em Flying", the initial goal of the CAF was to preserve, in flying condition, at least one example of each aircraft flown by the American Forces from 1939-45.
Over the decades that followed, CAF became the world's largest owner and operator of vintage military aircraft. Today, the organization owns 162 historic aircraft, of which 144 are in airworthy condition.
The CAF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Dallas. Aided by a huge volunteer effort from more than 12,000 members, the CAF's aircraft and educational programs reach millions of Americans each year. The organization's mission is "Education, such that generations of Americans will value and support the contributions of military aviation in assuring our nation's freedom."
For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org
Photos accompanying this release are available at:
CONTACT:Commemorative Air Force Dallas Executive Airport Dallas, Texas 75376 Adam Smith, Executive VP of Development (920) 216-3255 firstname.lastname@example.orgSource:Commemorative Air Force