Two years after its formation, the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team learned that the Israeli Air Force was decommissioning its fleet of C-47 aircraft. A close friend of Ray Cunningham, Dr. Bruce O'Brian, had been looking for a C-47 restoration project. After a year-long effort he purchased one of the decommissioned C-47s from Israel. It was flown first to Canada then on to Lawton, Oklahoma where restoration began at the hands of Ray Cunningham and his company, Regional Air.
After countless hours of labor the newly purchased C-47 was affectionately named "Boogie Baby" and painted in the wartime colors of the 441st Troop Carrier Group, 301st Troop Carrier Squadron as evident by the “Z4” emblazoned on both sides.
Boogie Baby became and continues to be the workhorse of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team putting jumpers into the sky during team training and parachute schools. Since entering service with the team, Boogie Baby has logged over 12,000 parachute jumps and counting.
A veteran of World War II herself, Boogie Baby was built at the Douglas Aircraft factory in Oklahoma City in 1942. She was then sent to England as part of the Lend-Lease Program and entered service with the Royal Air Force in 1943 as FL633. While part of the Royal Air Force, FL633 flew missions in the European, Mediterranean, and China-Burma-India Theaters of Operation. In 1945 custody was transferred from the Royal Air Force to the French Air Force where she flew until she was again transferred in 1972, this time to the Israeli Air Force. After 56 years of continuous military service she was finally decommissioned and put up for sale in 1998. When purchased by the team in 1999 she became the first of its two aircraft. Due to the fact that Boogie Baby was always a military aircraft and never converted for civilian use she remained in her original configuration complete with radio and navigation compartments, troop seats, and paratroop jump door. Boogie Baby remained housed in Lawton, Oklahoma until 2005 when fate intervened and the incredible happened.
Our skilled mechanics spend countless hours inspecting and maintaining our two aircraft. As you would imagine this comes with a high cost to operate and maintain two 75 year-old aircraft. Our parachute schools and the generosity of the general public help provide the funding to maintain these historic aircraft. Your donation will help us keep these two aircraft airworthy for years to come.