Tunison Foundation, Inc.
Placid Lassie

  2010 was the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the DC-3. DC-3 enthusiasts decided to try and gather as many as possible at EAA Oshkosh in July 2010. In the end 36 DC-3s attended. DC-3 restoration expert Clive Edwards and James Lyle decided that they wanted to find a dead DC-3, bring it back to flight status and fly it a distance to Oshkosh. Clive looked at candidates all over from the Caribbean to Florida to the western US. In the end they decided on a DC-3 in Covington, GA that had been sitting for 10 years. That plane was Placid Lassie.

Seven weeks before Oshkosh, Clive and Gordon Gray arrived in Covington and began their herculean task. Placid Lassie was pulled out the weeds, wings removed, engines overhauled. Since the log books were missing all Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives had to be applied. It was seventeen-hour days, 7 days a week. "No sleep 'til Oshkosh" was their motto.

Since most of the crew was British, a Union Jack flag was painted on the fuselage. She was then called "the Dakota with the Union Jack". which then was shortened to "Union Jack Dak"

With two weeks to go they were joined by Dave Cockburn, BMI pilot John Dodd and Liz Higgins. The Saturday of Oshkosh they were ready for a test flight. Unfortunately shortly after takeoff the oil pressure dropped and temperature rose on the left engine. They immediately returned and checked into the issue. Metal bits in the oil filter signaled teh death of that engine. Disaster!!

Engine start                                                                                                       First flight in 10 years!

James was consulted and a new engine was purchased, shipped in and mounted. The entire oil system needed to be cleaned and a new oil cooler fitted. Two days later (Monday of Oshkosh) was another test flight which was a success!

They were off on Tuesday and flew to Fond Du Lac, WI but were too late to get to Oshkosh that day. Placid Lassie triumphantly arrived Wednesday morning.

But how did Union Jack Dak become Placid Lassie? The original plan was to sell the DC-3 after Oshkosh. But the team greatly enjoyed flying the plane. Then some historical research showed that not only was she originally a C-47, but also a USAAF plane, a combat veteran, and more importantly, a D-Day veteran. How could you sell that? James had her painted in D-Day colors, but she was still Union Jack Dak.

Metal shavings in the oil                                                             At Oshkosh 2010!

In 2014 James, Eric Zipkin and others flew Union Jack Dak to England and then onto Normandy to drop paras for the 70th D-Day anniversary celebration. There they met up with Hans den Brok a Dutch author who is an expert on the C-47s of the MARKET GARDEN operation which Union Jack Dak had flown. Hans informed the crew that the plane had flown with the 74th Transport Troop Squadron and the one of the crew was still alive. Ed Tunison was quickly contacted, a plane ticket provided and he flew out to Belgium to see his plane. Once re-united he informed the crew that during the war the C-47 was known as Placid Lassie and photos were obtained. Union Jack Dak instantly became Placid Lassie


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