On July 21st 2018 at 0918 local time, Douglas C-47B-20-DK Dakota Army Air Force serial number 43-49942 (CN 27203), now registered as N47HL and named Bluebonnet Belle, crashed while attempting take off from runway 19 at Burnet Municipal Airport-Kate Craddock Field (KBMQ) near Burnet in central Texas. All of the 13 souls on board survived the accident, one of whom was airlifted to San Antonio Military Medical Center for treatment of severe burns. Seven others were transported to a Seton Highland Lakes Hospital in Burnet with what were termed minor injuries.
We reported another accident that occurred just yesterday. Today at Burnet the C-47B was seen to accelerate down the runway. The tail of the aircraft became unstuck briefly before dropping back down to the runway. The aircraft began yawing to the left and then yawed right back across the runway. The left side of the aircraft became airborne at that point, but the plane rolled left and the left wingtip struck the runway. From there the aircraft yawed to the left and came back down on the runway roughly perpendicular to the runway heading. The right hand main gear appeared to collapse, after which the aircraft came to a stop on a grassy median and caught fire. An NTSB investigation is underway.
The C-47B belonged to the D-Day Wing of the Commemorative Air Force and was based at KMBQ. Belle was departing KMBQ bound for EAA AirVenture at Wittman Field (KOSH) in Oshkosh. During late August and early September last year, the Bluebonnet Belle and her crew joined Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, delivering food, water, and supplies to areas of Southeast Texas devastated by the storm. Belle was to participate in Daks Over Normandy along with 30 or more other C-47s celebrating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion next year.
Built by the Douglas Aircraft Company at the Oklahoma City factory, the C-47B variant of the venerable Dakota/Skytrain was one of 3,364 built. They were powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 engines equipped with two-speed superchargers for better altitude performance in places like the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre. 43-49942 went into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1943 as Dakota Mk IV KN-270. KN-270 flew nearly 100 missions with the RAF.
The aircraft was transferred to 435 Squadron. Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as CC-129 serial number 12909 in 1946. After flying with the RCAF the aircraft was declared surplus in 1974 and flew as C-GEKE for a number of Canadian airline and charter companies until 1995. In 1998 the aircraft was issued US registration N595AM. N47HL has been her registration since later in 1998. The Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force began flying the aircraft in 2003.