Commemorative Air Force Confirms Accident with WWII Aircraft C-47 Bluebonnet Belle
(Burnet, Texas, July 21, 2018) - This morning a little after 9 a.m. Central, the Commemorative Air Force’s World War II aircraft, C-47 Bluebonnet Belle N47HL, had an accident at takeoff and caught fire. The accident occurred at Burnet Municipal Airport in Burnet, Texas where it is assigned to the Highland Lakes Squadron. There were 13 people on board the aircraft when the accident occurred. All 13 were able to exit the aircraft without any fatalities. A few suffered injuries and two are currently being treated at hospitals. The fire was extensive, and the aircraft is a total loss. The cause of the accident is currently unknown. The CAF is in direct contact with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to support an investigation into this accident. “We are thankful the aircrew was able to exit the aircraft. Out hearts go out to them and their families as they recover,” said CAF President Bob Stenevik. “Unfortunately, the historic aircraft will not be able to be restored. Our volunteer members work very hard to keep these aircraft flying and it is a loss for the entire organization.”
About C-47 Bluebonnet Belle The C-47 Bluebonnet Belle is assigned to the Highland Lakes Squadron based in Burnet, Texas. This C-47 was built in Oklahoma City in late 1944 and transferred to Great Britain under the Lend Lease Act of 1941. The RAF aircraft was ferried to RAF Kemble in southwest England, to the No. 48 Squadron, 46 Group, RAF Transport Command to replace losses sustained by 48 Squadron in the Normandy invasion in June 1944 and Operation Market Garden. Throughout the Normandy battle, 46 Group ran a daily shuttle service between England and France, its aircraft flying in cargo and passengers and evacuating casualties, saving thousands of lives by transporting wounded to hospitals. In total, Bluebonnet Belle flew 75 missions, carried 402 passengers, repatriated 61 ex-POWs, and transported 459 casualties before the stand down. In 2017, CAF volunteers joined Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by loading up the historic transport aircraft Bluebonnet Belle to deliver food and supplies to cities in Southeast Texas affected by the storm.
About the Commemorative Air Force The Commemorative Air Force is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Dallas, and the recognized leader of the Warbird Movement—the effort to preserve and honor American military aviation history. Since it was founded in 1957, the CAF has accrued 170 historic aircraft—the largest collection of vintage military aircraft in the world. Educational outreach programs impact an estimated 20 million Americans each year thanks to over 12,000 volunteers who support the CAF nationally and overseas. The Commemorative Air Force honors the men and women who built, maintained, and flew in American airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition; taking the airplanes to the people, allowing them to experience the sight and sound of the aircraft in flight. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.
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