“It has been flying since my grandpa was in the Army Air Corps,” smokejumper Colby Jackson said as the big plane’s engines howled through a pre-season test run. “He always gets a kick seeing pictures of us with the DC-3. He was stationed with them in Africa, when they were C-47s.”
Jump-15 (its radio call sign) is the last DC-3 still hauling smokejumpers and backcountry cargo for the U.S. Forest Service. Pilots love her ability to land and launch from tiny forest airstrips, her muscle and endurance. Jumpers love her big exit door and reputation for reliability. With room for 16 parachute-strapped firefighters and all their gear, Jump-15 has twice the capacity of any other jump plane on the runway.And in the 2005 video below at about marker 1:45 Smokejumper Skodt Jones talks about one of the DC-3 smokejumper aircraft (not sure which one). Jump 15's sister, Jump 42 retired a couple of years ago. I wrote about the DC-3 Smokejumpers on December 31, 2010.