Estrella Warbirds Museum C-47 'Betsy' flying abroad to commemorate D-Day

'Betsy's Biscuit Bomber' will be flying in several celebrations across the US before heading overseas to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The World War II C-47 bomber is part of a featured display at the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles. It is owned and operated by the Paso Robles Gooney Bird Group. (Photos contributed)

The Estrella Warbirds Museum’s “Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber” will be taking part in several celebrations across the country before heading abroad to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

Betsy, a World War II C-47, will fly in Daks Over Normandy on June 2-6 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day. Daks Over Normandy will be the largest assembly of authentic C-47 WWII aircraft and paratroopers since June 6, 1944, to honor veterans and war heroes for their service and sacrifice in the Allied victory in World War II.

Betsy will also participate in the 70th Anniversary of The Berlin Airlift June 10-18 and other celebrations in the United States and abroad. An American fleet of nearly 20 vintage C–47s will cross the Atlantic and join up with other C–47s from around the world for the Daks Over Normandy event crossing of the English Channel into France.

Aircraft from around the globe will participate in commemorative events before and after the June 6 flyover with community activities and static displays in the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, and the United States. For details and a schedule of events see betsysbiscuitbomber.com and daksovernormandy.com.

June 6, 1944, marks the date when approximately 160,000 Allied troops stormed the Normandy beaches that began the liberation of Western Europe. The assault was preceded by 24,000 troops who parachuted in or came by glider. The most important aircraft to support the airborne assault was formed by over 800 Douglas C-47 Skytrains (Dakotas).

Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber, a WWII C-47 built by Douglas Aircraft of Santa Monica, is owned and operated by The Gooney Bird Group, a nonprofit organization located in Paso Robles. The group is dedicated to preserving and maintaining airworthy historical planes and educating current and future generations of the engineering achievements, and personal sacrifices made by our military men and women.

The bomber is a featured display at the Estrella Warbirds Museum, a Paso Robles nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and artifacts.

Prior to heading overseas, the Betsy will fly from Paso Robles to participate in celebrations across the country including performances at the Planes of Fame Air Show in Chino, May 4-5; AOPA 80th Anniversary Fly-In in Frederick, Maryland, May 10-11; and, a historic memorial flight over Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., and down the Potomac River.

The pilots will then fly to Oxford, Conn., for three days of training and formation practice for the D-Day invasion re-enactment.

On May 18, the formation will fly low up and down the Hudson in a send-off ceremony with fireboats, and circle the Statue of Liberty prior to departure for Goose Bay, Newfoundland.

After stops in Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and Cambridge UK, Betsy will continue on to Duxford, England to participate in paratroop drops, and reenactments in both England and France before moving on to Germany.

Following the Berlin Airlift, the fleet will cross the Alps for a three-day celebration in Venice Italy. Returning to the United States, ”Betsy” will participate in the Spirit of the West 4th of July celebration in Cody, Wyo., then return home to Paso Robles.

The Estrella Warbirds Museum is located at 4251 Dry Creek Rd., Paso Robles. The museum is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and legal Monday holidays (President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Veteran’s Day). For more information on the museum, visit online ewarbirds.org. For information on “Betsy’s” C-47 world tour and how you can help fund the trip, contact Scott Stelzle, president, Gooney Bird Group, and flight crew member at [email protected]

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'Betsy's Biscuit Bomber' will be flying in several celebrations across the US before heading overseas to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The World War II C-47 bomber is part of a featured display at the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles. It is owned and operated by the Paso Robles Gooney Bird Group. (Photos contributed)

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