The C-47: From D-Day to Airborne Geophysical Survey (Full Tensor Gravity Gradiometry)

Basler Turbo Conversions specialists are refurbishing the military derivative of Bell Geospace’s BT67 DC-3, to take flight once again over Normandy.


The New York Times recently reported the restoration of a C-47, this particular aircraft led hundreds of Allied aircraft into France on D-Day. The military transport plane flooded the airliner market at the end of World War II, and its durable design continues to be used in a wide variety of roles.


The Basler Turbo BT67’s deployed by Bell Geospace to conduct Full Tensor Gravity Gradiometry surveys, are converted Douglas DC-3’s (the civilian version of the C-47).


Bell Geospace BT67 FTG survey plane over water


Bell Geospace invested 24 million USD in acquiring three DC-3s, fitted with turboprop engines and state-of-the-art digital avionics. The Basler configuration has proved to be beneficial over alternate platforms, providing lower noise, stability, slow survey speed, long endurance, a greater production rate and, of course, an unblemished safety record with Bell Geospace.


Basler refurbishes C-47s and DC-3s at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, fitting them with turboprop engines, lengthening the fuselage and strengthening the airframe. The D-Day C-47 is reported to have had a successful engine test in December 2017, and has since taken flight.