D-Day Squadron Launches Crowdfunding Project for 2024 Legacy Tour

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On June 6, 1944, more than 11,000 aircraft were mobilized as Allied forces began their massive land, sea, and air invasion now known as D-Day. It was a massive undertaking that was known as the beginning of the end of WWII.

Photo by Ian Hardman via D-Day Squadron

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.

The magnificent formation flight down the Normandy beaches on June 6th, 2019. (Screen Capture of Into Flight Once More – via D-Day Squadron)

Building on these accomplishments, the D-Day Squadron is coordinating a fleet of aircraft to fly to Europe in 2024 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy 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. 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 they need our help to get off the ground.

The airplanes lined up on the Duxford Airfield flight line. (Screen Capture of Into Flight Once More – via D-Day Squadron)

According to Lyndse Costabile, D-Day Squadron Executive Director, “Our duty is to remember the significance of these events and to ensure that future generations never forget. Today, our 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. The D-Day Squadron is currently setting the schedule for the 2024 Legacy Tour, organizing appearances across Europe, and serving as Mission Control – a central unit for all operators, crew, and operations.” 

The moment when Erik Zipkin (right) handed over Placid Lassie’s controls
to Col. Halvorsen. (photo via D-Day Squadron)

The D-Day Squadron Kickstarter lasts 30 days with a goal of $7,500. As always, backers can choose from a variety of reward levels and perks including special edition ball caps, playing cards, commemorative artwork and challenge coins. These are exclusive rewards only available through the Kickstarter campaign. You can find them all right here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fiveoaks/d-day-squadron-2024-legacy-tour

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!

The D-Day Squadron’s airplanes getting ready to perform the Missing Man formation. Photo by Ricardo von Puttkammer via D-Day Squadron

Once again, more than 150 parachutists are planning to fill the skies in 2024 symbolizing freedom, the sacrifices made during the Normandy invasion, and the overall war effort. Flown by retired servicemen and women, as well as civilian seasoned pilots, each crew member participates as a volunteer with this effort. Flying this legend of an airplane, the Douglas DC-3, is an honor and privilege for each crew. The C-47 was the most ubiquitous airplane of the war, performing multiple services in all theaters of operation, from North Africa to Burma, from New Guinea to Normandy, and from Sicily to Holland. Along with the C-54, the DC-3 was among the heroes transporting and dropping food and supplies into West Berlin during the Berlin Airlift.

Pan Am’s crew in Greenland yesterday with our very own Moreno Aguiari on the left. He is part of the crew for the Historic Flight Foundation’s C-47 on this journey. HFF’s John Sessions is to his right, Mike Sessions and Tim Manna. (photo via D-Day Squadron)

A portion of the Kickstarter funds will cover the cost of campaign graphics, merchandise, swag, and cool items – 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 2019 mission, 2024 will be the 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.

Virginia Ann’s crew before they departed Narsarsuaq for Prestwick this morning. (photo via D-Day Squadron)

Key Details

  • 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

Proposed Timeline

  • May 15-25: Train and cross North Atlantic
  • May 25-31: Europe training and buffer for weather / mechanical
  • June 1-5: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, multiple events/flyovers, photo flights before English Channel crossing
  • June 6-11: Normandy
  • June 11-14: Berlin Airlift (TBD)
  • June 15-21: Lido Italy/Portugal (TBD)
  • June 21-28: Return to North America

Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber refueling in Greenland yesterday. The C-47 along with 14 similar aircraft from the D-Day Squadron are heading to Europe right now to take part in the D-Day 75th Anniversary Celebrations. (photo via D-Day Squadron)

“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,” Costabile continues. “We also launched the DC-3 Society 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 ceremonies in 2024 celebrating the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Berlin Airlift will be a momentous occasion to celebrate peace, liberty, and reconciliation. This is your chance to celebrate these amazing, historic aircraft, and ensure a proper launch effort and a safe journey for their crews!

You can find them all right here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fiveoaks/d-day-squadron-2024-legacy-tour


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