The crew of the ‘Miss Montana’, the C-47 smokejumper aircraft landed safely in Great Britain on Tuesday as they prepare for the 75th anniversary flight over the English Channel to commemorate the D-Day invasion in World War II.

Pilot Bryan Douglass phoned the KGVO Studios early Wednesday morning with an on location report from the American hangar at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England.

“We have a little down time right now, but we will be doing a practice jump on June 3rd or 4th,” said Douglass. “We’ll also be doing some formation flying and then gearing up for the major event on June 5th. I’m not sure if it’s sunk in yet what we’ve accomplished, but it’s amazing to think about how far we came. We only had the first flight of this aircraft on May 12th, less than three weeks ago, so yeah, we’ve come a long way.”

Douglass spoke proudly of the men and women who would be jumping out of the Miss Montana over France on June 4.

“I think there are 15 to 18 jumpers and approved by Daks Over Normandy to jump out of our plane, and all of them are Montanans or have Montana ties including five women which I’m really proud of and excited to see,” he said. “I’ll bet we have more women jumpers than any other plane and they’re all ready to go.”

Before signing off from England, Douglass insisted on taking a moment to thank they many people who made the flight of the ‘Miss Montana’ possible.

“Thanks so much to everybody,” he said. “All the volunteers and all the people who supported us in spirit and with money and with work, we bring all of them with us at least in spirit. Since we arrived in Duxford, almost all the 13 or 14 crews from the other planes have come up to us and said ‘You know, we didn’t think you’d make it’,” he laughed. “We were the only plane that wasn’t flying a year ago, and we weren’t even flying three weeks ago, so it’s a real testament to the work and support and the talent of all the people who made this happen.”

Douglass encourages anyone who wants more information to visit the Miss Montana Facebook page.

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