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Home »  Events »  Events Calendar »  Hangar Talk and Flying Demo of the Douglas C-53D Skytrooper

1st of June, 2024

This Saturday – June 1, 2024 – we’ve got a unique Saturday in store.  Come join us as we present a Special Edition of “Hangar Talk” dedicated to one of the pivotal events of World War II – the allied landings at Normandy on D-Day. We’re dedicating “Hangar Talk” to recognize this event in time for its 80th anniversary on June 6th.  

Our “Flying Demo” is an aerial tribute to D-Day with the flight of the Riverside Chapter of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) joining us with their beautiful C-53D Skytrooper named “D-Day Doll.”  And, we’re equally thrilled to have the Lyon Air Museum bringing their C-47B “Dakota” named “Willa Dean” for static viewing and photographs.

What’s more, you can purchase a ride in “D-Day Doll” for one of several afternoon flights.

Doors to the Museum will open at 9:00am.  Regular admission prices are in effect and Museum Members always get in free!



Here’s what’s in store for “Hangar Talk” . . .

Background to the Great Crusade – Amphibious Landings

The June 6, 1944 invasion of Europe by allied forces marked the largest amphibious landing in history.  In this brief presentation, we’ll look at the reasons that “Operation Overlord” was necessary and quickly review how amphibious military landings evolved up to the D-Day invasion and since.





General Eisenhower Talks About the Men and Women Who Made D-Day Happen

We’re thrilled to have David Michaels return to the “Hangar Talk” stage as General Dwight D. Eisenhower the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (that’s a mouthful!) as he outlines the strategy and people who helped make D-Day happen.  We’ll hear General Eisenhower talk about the challenges of putting this amazing invasion force together and pulling it off in spite of countless challenges.




A President Prays – Robert Tidwell as FDR

We’re honored to have Robert Tidwell joining us as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to give us a quick look at D-Day from the political perspective and how Roosevelt was key in pushing for the invasion to proceed.  Robert will close with a prayer that President Roosevelt delivered over the radio on June 6, 1944.





Operation Bodyguard – How Deception Helped D-Day Succeed

One of the greatest challenges to a successful Operation Overlord was keeping the German military wondering when and where the invasion would strike.  This was the role of “Operation Bodyguard,” an extensive series of deception operations and tactics.  We’ll look briefly at some of the techniques employed to trick German spies and commanders that the invasion wasn’t going to be at Normandy, France.





Hitting the Beaches – The Invasion at Normandy

The Museum’s Jim Llano walks us through the timetable of operations beginning on June 5th and continuing over the ensuing days.  Jim will pay special attention to the allied sea landings at Normandy on the morning of June 6, 1944 and give us a glimpse into the objectives and strategies behind the British, Canadian, and American landing forces.  We’ll also see the role that British and American paratroopers played in the invasion tactics.





D-Day From the Ground – A Soldier’s Perspective

Daniel Bermudez of the Historical Unit of Southern California joins us for a brief look at what the average soldier experienced during the invasion.  Depending upon their assignment and location, this might have involved paratrooping under heavy fire behind German lines, storming the beach at Utah or Omaha beaches, or coming later in subsequent waves.  Regardless, it was an experience fraught with danger and fear.





Ted TALK – “Resistance to the End – How Every Day People Fought Against Hitler”

The Museum’s Ted Mount will close this month’s “Hangar Talk” with another inspiring but little told story behind the success of the D-Day invasion.  Beginning with the occupation of France in 1940, a series of individuals and groups banded together to form a powerful force against Nazi rule.  These were the French Resistance fighters and Ted will look at several of the key members of this organization and their accomplishments, including their work related to the Normandy invasion in 1944.  These were the people behind the people who helped destroy the Nazi scourge.





We’re incredibly excited to present our “Flying Demo” for our June event.  We’re joined by two aircraft that were instrumental in the D-Day invasion.

“Willa Dean” on Display

The Lyon Air Museum, located at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, is bringing their Douglas Aircraft Company’s C-47B “Willa Dean” in her D-Day markings for all of us to enjoy as a static display.  The C-47 was the workhorse of the US Army Air Force, serving as a cargo and troop transport in all theaters of the war.  This is a perfect chance to see this massive aircraft up close and get some outstanding photographs.  “Willa Dean” will be flying over the Steve McQueen Car Show in Chino Hills on Sunday, June 2 and we send a special thank you to the folks at Lyon for allowing her to be a part of our D-Day Event Saturday.

“D-Day Doll" Takes to the Sky

Performing the “Flying Demonstration” will be a D-Day veteran, the Douglas C-53D “Skytrooper” named "D-Day Doll."  The Skytrooper comes to us from the Riverside Chapter of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF).  This aircraft, specially built as a troop-only transport, could carry up to 28 paratroopers. 

At 12:15pm, we’ll begin our “Flying Demo” with a brief presentation outdoor on our hot ramp.  You’ll learn more about this amazing aircraft, one of only 159 that were built.  

Then, CAF pilot Steve Rose will start the two 1,200 horsepower radial Pratty & Whitney engines right in front of the crowd.  The aircraft will then taxi away.  We’ll then hold our Member’s Only Raffle Drawing for some great prizes, including a flight in one of the Museum’s World War II-era trainers.  

Then “D-Day Doll” will take to the sky and make multiple passes over the Museum – a perfect chance to get some photos of this beautiful aircraft in flight.  Once they complete this twenty minute demonstration, they’ll return and guests may ask questions and meet Steve.

Get a Ride in “D-Day Doll”

In the afternoon, after the “Flying Demo,” guests to the Museum will have a chance to purchase a ride in the C-53D “D-Day Doll”.  Each flight on board “D-Day Doll” carries 16 passengers and she’s planning on making several 30-minute ride flights throughout the afternoon.  Tickets are only $250 per person (or $450 for a couple!).  You can purchase your tickets online by clicking on the button below or buy tickets at the aircraft beginning at 9:00am, but limited seats are available on a first come first served basis when purchasing at the aircraft. 




In addition to all of the above, we have several historical reenactors on site.  These “Living Historians” can tell you about their uniforms and about the troops they portray.  It’s a chance to see and experience history come alive.  They’re also great photo opportunities!

We have food trucks on hand, the Gift Shop is stocked with plenty of great items, our Museum Guides will tell you the stories of the Museum and its world-renowned collection, they’ll be fun for the kids, and our B-17 will be open for visitors to tour the inside.  

A great way to spend the day at Planes of Fame!




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