D-Day Squadron | 2024 Legacy Tour
Join the D-Day Squadron on the 2024 Legacy Tour, honoring our WWII veterans throughout Europe. As a DC-3 operator, express your interest by completing the form below. Your participation is crucial for planning logistics and engaging with international contacts. Expect to hear from Eric Zipkin, our chief pilot, and director of operations, soon.
On June 6, 1944, more than 11,000 aircraft were mobilized as Allied forces began a massive land, sea, and air invasion now known as D-Day. In 2019, 15 legendary DC-3 type aircraft made a historic North Atlantic crossing to celebrate both the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. Featured on the international stage and in media across the world, the men and women of the D-Day Squadron touched tens of thousands of lives as they flew to honor the world’s Greatest Generation.
Building on these accomplishments, the D-Day Squadron (DDS) is coordinating a fleet of aircraft to fly to Europe in 2024 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion and the 75th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. In mid-May 2024, DC-3 variants representing World War II and Cold War vintage aircraft will ‘cross the pond’ from the United States to the United Kingdom, cross the English Channel to Normandy, France, then fly on to Berlin, Germany, and beyond.
This is no easy task, and while nothing can compare to the amount of organization the Allied forces faced in planning for the D-Day invasion, there is still a tremendous amount of preparation, time, and cost involved in recreating this historic anniversary tour. The DDS is currently setting the schedule, organizing appearances across Europe, and serving as Mission Control for the 2024 Legacy Tour – a central unit for all operators, crew, and operations.
D-Day is often known historically as the beginning of the end of WWII. Our duty is to remember the significance of this event and to ensure that future generations never forget. Today, the D-Day Squadron's mission continues, to perpetuate the sights and sounds of “Flying Freedom,” and to promote the legacy of the Greatest Generation and the Douglas DC-3s in which they flew.
Start-up costs for the 2024 Legacy Tour branding and design, mission operation and planning, campaign management, and advanced logistics in Europe are significant, and we invite you to help us ‘get off the ground’. With your support, we will honor the sacrifice of the citizen soldiers who bravely fought to end WWII and combat the tyranny of the Cold War.
A portion of the Kickstarter funds will cover the cost of the 2024 Legacy Tour campaign graphics, merchandise, swag, and apparel - which will be added to the perks and revealed on June 6, 2023. All profits received after campaign costs will go directly to the D-Day Squadron.
This effort is dubbed the “2024 Legacy Tour.” With many WWII veterans having ‘flown west’ since the D-Day Squadron’s 2019 mission, 2024 will be an opportunity to focus on both the LEGACY of these WWII veterans and the legendary aircraft that served as the backbone to multiple war campaigns. “Our veterans are our window to the past, and this is a chance for us to continue honoring those who made sacrifices for the freedoms we have today,” shared D-Day Squadron’s mission chief pilot, Eric Zipkin. Eric will fly the lead C-47, WWII combat veteran, “Placid Lassie” throughout the entire journey.
Starting from the Northeast United States in May of next year, the aircraft must complete six total flight legs to Europe involving crew rest, refueling, proper maintenance, formation planning, and logistics. Can you imagine? It will take the squadron 15 days, close to 3,000 nautical miles, approximately 15 hours of flight time, 120 gallons of oil, more than 1,400 gallons of fuel, and 150 crew to make this historic transatlantic crossing!
This is your chance to celebrate these amazing, historic aircraft, and ensure a proper launch effort and a safe journey for their crews!
As a key part of the 75th-anniversary celebrations in 2019, our paratroopers wore period-correct uniforms and jumped 'round parachutes' just like our soldiers did on June 6, 1944. Lyndse Costabile, D-Day Squadron Executive Director, says, “We look forward to replicating this in 2024, as once again, more than 150 parachutists will fill the skies, symbolizing freedom, the sacrifices made during the Normandy invasion, and the overall war effort!”
It was also a profound privilege to lead a 15-ship flyover of the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach on June 6, 2019, for the entire world to see, including the U.S. and French Heads of State who were in attendance. “Many of the aircraft in the formation were beautifully restored C-47s that had seen battle over the beaches of Normandy in 1944,” Costabile continues. "We hope that we will have this honor again next year."
These restored aircraft are flown by retired service members and seasoned civilian pilots. Our crewmembers are all volunteers who consider it an honor and a privilege to fly these legendary airplanes. The C-47 was the most ubiquitous airplane of the War and performed multiple services in all theatres of operation, including North Africa, Burma, New Guinea, Normandy, Sicily, and Holland. The C-54 and DC-3 were among the aircraft heroically transporting supplies into West Berlin during the Berlin Airlift.
Join us in 2024 to honor the soldiers who jumped over the front lines and helped bring about the end of World War II!
Operators Involved: DC-3/C-47/C-53/C-46 operators across North America
Expected Total Trip Dates: May 15 – late June 2024
Mobilization: Assemble in Northeast USA for training and cross North Atlantic as a squadron
Flight Plan: Oxford, Connecticut, or New York (TBD) – Presque Isle - Goose Bay – Greenland – Iceland – Scotland – England
May 13-18: Kickoff Week (KOXC) at Waterbury-Oxford Airport. Train and cross North Atlantic
May 18: Departure for Presque Isle, Maine (KPQI)
May 19-20: Presque Isle, Maine (KPQI)
May 20-25: Northern Atlantic Crossing “Blue Spruce Route” Canada - Greenland - Iceland - Scotland
May 25-June 2: UK Tour (other locations TBD)
May 29-31: North Weald
June 1-2: Imperial War Museum, Duxford Airfield
June 5-11: Normandy events and jump operations
June 11-14: Berlin Airlift (TBD)
June 15-18: Venice Nicelli Aeroporto (old DC-3 Operation)
June 18-21: Vintage Aero Club (TBD) Lisbon, Portugal
June 21-27: Northern Atlantic Crossing
June 27-28: Presque Isle, Maine (KPQI)
June 28: All DDS planes return to home base
July 19-21: RIAT - Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford in Gloucestershire
July 22-28: EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh, Wis.
Following the successful mission in 2019, the D-Day Squadron has continued to be a presence at multiple flyovers, aviation events, and warbird-themed airshows. The DC-3 Society was also launched to actively aid operators and enthusiasts with maintenance, operations, airworthiness, and displays. The Allies won the War, in part, because of their logistical abilities. It’s only appropriate that we, as the stewards of these noble aircraft, continue to fly and maintain the very airframes that were the backbone to achieving victory.
The world came together in June 2019 to create a fitting tribute to The Great Crusade, which changed the course of WWII – D-Day. The ceremonies celebrating the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Berlin Airlift were a momentous occasion to celebrate peace, liberty, and reconciliation. We consider it a great privilege to return to Europe in 2024.
Why do we recognize the Berlin Airlift? Some background: The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War following WWII. The Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. In response, the Allies organized the Berlin Airlift to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin. From 26 June 1948 to 30 September 1949, British and American forces completed 278,228 flights to Berlin, supplying food, coal, and even candy.
'Candy Bomber' was the colloquial name given by Berliners to the American and British transport aircraft which brought in supplies during the Berlin Airlift. The name was coined after some pilots voluntarily threw candy, attached to make-shift parachutes, to children watching the planes from the edges of the West Berlin airfields.