Shoreline resident remembers flying the C-47

Friday, August 30, 2013

HFF DC-3 C-47
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Steven H. Robinson's photos and stories about the "Pilot for a Day" event in a C-47 (see Vintage View and WWII DC-3) brought up some old memories for Shoreline resident Jack Leicester. 


In the early '50's, I flew on the C-47 for a local airline both as a steward and a pilot trainee in the second seat. The Captains were all WWII vets. 
I marveled at the performance of the aircraft under terrible weather and terrain conditions. 
For years, I awaited the release of the archived John Wayne movie "Island In The Sky"-- the story of a C-47 that crash landed in the Canadian Arctic and the search for that aircraft by the close knit group of fellow C-47 pilots who flew this aircraft for the military. 
The aerial photography, the formation flying of the search pilots in the poor weather and mountainous terrain was just superb. It showed the capability of the aircraft under extreme conditions.

A still from the 1953 movie "Island in the Sky"

The Internet Movie Date Base describes the plot of the movie Jack refers to:
A simple group of commercial flyers, post WWII, one plane is downed in uncharted Canadian tundra, dead of winter, wicked cold. Limited resources. Other pilots start a search. Simple, huh? Remember... See more (warning! contains spoilers)


The movie is based on a book by Ernest K. Gann, the author of multiple best-selling novels about aviation, several of which were made into popular movies. He died in 1991 at the age of 81 at his home in the San Juan islands.


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