The Summer of 2019

While certainly not my next flight, planning continues for a summertime trip to Europe in 2019 in our C-47/DC-3. “Daks Over Normandy” should be the largest gathering of the type to cross the English Channel since the night of June 5, 1944. Several participants will display D-Day livery and carry jumpers for commemorative demonstrations. The ceremonies and festivities in France will last until the 9th of June. That’s an important day in Clan Sessions history because on that day in 1944 my father made it back to the area where he was supposed to have been dropped as a member of the 101st Airborne Division. For over seventy-two hours, he and a band of brothers from various units engaged the enemy by day and hid by night (the Germans would not leave the roads at night so the forests were relatively safe) until they reached Carentan. Only one problem. They approached from the direction of German strength. As my father later reflected, there is no such thing as “friendly fire.” This short digression explains why I enthusiastically accepted the invitation to visit Normandy to honor the paratroopers, glider troops, pilots and other military personnel who participated in the greatest invasion in history.

But there’s more. After we’ve done a proper job of honoring D-Day, our DC-3 will continue to Berlin for the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, the first “battle” of the Cold War. Alaska Airlines answered the call by providing pilots and planes to that historic effort so we will seek their permission to apply appropriate period markings for that portion of our journey. On our return to base, we will re-trace the Lend/Lease route through Duxford, Shannon, Reykjavik, Narsarsuaq, Goose Bay, Churchill, Edmonton and home. Care to guess the cost of fuel? Unfortunately, that tab will not be covered by the Army Air Corps.

In the meantime, we look forward to the 2018 flying season with our HFF members and friends.