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Three Gatling Guns, 6000 rounds Per Minute: The AC-47 Was One Bad Ass Plane

A World War II era aircraft repurposed for a very different war in Southeast Asia

The Douglas AC-47 Spooky (also known as Puff the Magic Dragon) is one rough and tumble aircraft. Manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company, and introduced in 1965. It was developed from the C-47 Skytrain. There were 53 AC-47 Spooky aircraft produced. It is more than 64 feet long, with a wing span of more than 95 feet. It holds a crew of seven: pilot, copilot, navigator, flight engineer, loadmaster, and two gunners. The AC-47 has a cruise speed of 175 miles an hour, and a maximum speed of 235 miles an hour.  It wasn’t fast but it sure was deadly.

This footage shows fighter planes in action, including the Douglas AC-47 Spooky. Some other war planes used were the Phantom, the Corsair, the Intruder the F-111, the Thunder Chief, the B-52, and Skyhawk.  But take a look at the footage around :40 into the short clip.  You’ll see what those 6,000 rounds per minute look like as the tracers turn night into day and rain death upon the enemy below.

Primary users of the AC-47 included the United States Air Force (USAF), the Vietnam Air Force, the Royal Lao Air Force and the Colombian Air Force.

About the AC-47 Spooky

The Douglas AC-47 Spooky is a modified C-47 transport plane equipped with three gatling guns, each one capable of firing six thousand rounds of ammunition a minute. It was developed for the Viet Nam war, and designed for heavy ground attack and close air support. The Spooky flew only at night, but carried flares to light up enemy positions. It was especially valuable in defending bases against night time attack.

There are two air bases in Florida where the AC-47 Spooky is on display. They are the Air Commando Park at Hurlburt Field, and the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin Air Force base near Valparaiso.

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