As most WarbirdsNews readers well know, the Commemorative Air Force’s efforts to obtain and restore the lead C-47A Skytrain from the D-Day invasion is progressing very well indeed. The Kickstarter campaign realized its original goal of US$75,000 for the acquisition cost just over a day after its initiation, and we are happy to announce that the program has passed the US$250,000 milestone extension! This amount has allowed Basler Turboprop Conversions, where the plane currently resides in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to begin returning the C-47 to her original wartime configuration. As expected, some corrosion issues have cropped up, which will require additional work/funds, but more importantly, a cache of extremely rare original parts for reconfiguring the aircraft into her D-Day guise (with the belly-mounted radar) has become available.
Now with just 5 days remaining in the Kickstarter campaign, the CAF has extended their goal by another US$60,000 to accommodate the corrosion rectification and the acquisition of these parts. Stephen F. Brown, the CAF’s president and CEO, just issued the following statement concerning these details, and we have reproduced it here along with some additional photos showing the progress made so far…
Wow. Twenty-four days ago, when we launched this Kickstarter campaign, it was a step into the unknown. We knew that a minimum of $75,000 was needed to save That’s All, Brother – and were determined to find it somehow. But would other people be interested and want to contribute?
The answer has been an emphatic yes. We blew through the $75,000 goal in less than two days and, thanks to your amazing support, today the stretch goal of $250,000 was surpassed. We are truly overwhelmed and humbled by this support.
What an extraordinary journey it has been. While much of the focus has, naturally, been on the number of dollars pledged, there’s an even more important number on our Kickstarter page. At this exact moment of writing, that number is 1,582 and it represents all of YOU that are receiving this message, our amazing project Backers.
In supporting this campaign, you have done more than help preserve a priceless piece of history. Through social media and traditional media the inspirational story of That’s All, Brother has reached literally millions of people all around the world.
And in addition to crowdsourcing funds, we realize that we’ve been crowdsourcing history. By making connections with historians and families of crew members, we’ve gathered a staggering number of new documents, film and photographs that cast new light on the airplane’s rich story.
As you know our goal is the restoration of That’s All, Brother back to her original configuration on D-Day. The vision is not a “quick and dirty” restoration but something really special, that does justice to the history of the airplane.
And thanks to Kickstarter, we’ve been able to start work, more than two months ahead of schedule. Last week the airplane was brought into the shop at Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, WI. A new-old-stock original two-piece windshield is being installed, along with the correct WWII era clamshell nosecone.
The total restoration bill is not definitive, but will realistically be in the $500,000 ballpark. At this moment we have a team of five people in Oshkosh, planning the future path as accurately as possible.
Three things we already know for sure:
1) We have been given the opportunity to purchase a collection of VERY rare parts. Rare as in containing items that experts have described as being “unobtainable”. And enough material to provide as much as 90% of what we need to complete an authentic interior restoration.
2) As sometimes happens in a project like this, opening up new areas of the plane to closer inspection revealed more corrosion than we hoped. It’s not a complete disaster, but will require time and money to fix.
3) The combined cost of items (1) and (2) is $60,000.
It’s time to strreeetch again!
There are 5 days left in the Kickstarter campaign. Should we stop here, or do we keep the momentum going? Just today, our project was recognized as a Kickstarter “Staff Pick” which will provide huge exposure to everyone visiting their home page.
So let’s keep the momentum going and shoot for the $60,000 we need to buy those rare parts and fix the corrosion… this means our “super-stretch goal” is $310,000.
Please consider increasing your pledge, and don’t stop inviting others to join our cause!
Thank you once again for your incredible support.
President / CEO Commemorative Air Force
P.S. Should we make the new stretch goal of $310,000, it will unlock a special bonus item for all Backers in the $25 and above category! See below.
So there you have it! ‘That’s All Brother’ is well on her way to a secure future representing all those who served on D-Day. The CAF still needs your help of course, and we urge you to contribute if you can… and to share the story. Please click HERE to visit the Kickstarter campaign while you still can!