C-47 Bluebonnet Belle Highland Lakes Squadron
The C-47 "Bluebonnet Belle" on display in our hangar is owned by the Commemorative Air Force. It was built in Oklahoma City in late 1944 as a C-47B serial number 43-49942; then flown to Montreal, Canada where it was transferred to Great Britain under the Lend-Lease program. The aircraft was ferried to England and served with the RAF. In 1945 it was assigned to the No. 435 Transport Squadron, a Canadian unit as KN270. It was ferried to Canada in 1946. The aircraft received the Canadian Forces serial 12909 in 1970. It was surplussed and entered civilian service in 1974. From 1974 until 1995, the aircraft was owned by a number of Canadian airline and charter companies, after which it was repatriated to the USA.
The Highland Lakes Squadron purchased this aircraft from a Part 135 cargo operator and donated it to the CAF in 2002. While legally airworthy she was in need of a lot of tender loving care. It required a two-year restoration project by the Highland Lakes Squadron to bring the aircraft up to operational standards.
Named the “Bluebonnet Belle” in honor of her home base Burnet, Texas, the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas, she is flown by experienced crews and treats air show crowds to the roar of her two mighty Pratt and Whitney radial engines. She serves as a living memorial to the thousands of men and women who built, serviced and flew them during the war years.