Miss Montana Pilot Recounts Flight from Missoula to East Coast
KGVO News spoke with Bryan Douglass, pilot of the famed Miss Montana C-47 aircraft on Tuesday morning not long after the aircraft landed at Oxford Connecticut, on their way to Normandy, France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in 1944.
Douglass said the first day of flying proved to be tough.
“We were planning to stop at Rapid City, (South Dakota) but the weather there wasn’t cooperating, so we stopped in Miles City and got some gas. I don’t know if anybody noticed, but we flew over Mann Gulch after we left Missoula, as a tip-of-the-hat to that event,” said Douglas. “We then flew to Wichita and spent the night there. We saw some really nasty weather coming, so we loaded up and headed to Rogers, Arkansas and then to Tri-Cities, Tennessee and from there we flew up to Oxford, Connecticut where will remain for the day.”
Douglass said because they missed the New York flight on Saturday, they planned to fly up the Hudson River after departing from Oxford.
“We’ve invited CBS News to come along,” he said. “They should be arriving in about a half-hour. We’re hoping they’ll want to come along on the Hudson River flight. Then we’ll take the rest of the day off and tomorrow head for Goose Bay, Labrador in the morning with a stop in Presque Isle, Maine.”
Douglass said the trip over the Atlantic must be carefully planned, with an eye on the weather.
“We’ll leave from Goose Bay on Thursday if the weather allows, make it to Greenland and then one to Iceland in the same day,” he said. “I think five planes have already made it to Reykjavik. From there we will be flying into Scotland, weather permitting. We’re not allowed to go to Duxford, England until June 2 when they open the field to all the Dakotas, and following that there will be some scenic and practice formation flights and jumps, and on June 5th is the big event when we’ll go across the English Channel and drop our jumpers into Normandy.”
Douglass said Miss Montana is purring like a kitten.
“I’ve gotta say, she is just performing flawlessly,” he said. “She’s just purring, and everything is working as we hoped and we couldn’t be happier.”
Following the D-Day commemoration, Douglass said Miss Montana has been invited to take part in similar ceremonies in Germany to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. Then, it’s back to England for some much needed maintenance. Then, they’ll look for a good weather window, fly back over the pond and head home.