Flight veterans are gathering in the Midlands to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Douglas Dakota - the American-built transport workhorse which saw action on both sides of the Second World War.
The DC3 Dakota - the RAF version of the American Douglas C47 transport plane - took part in the Allies' D-Day and Operation Market Garden invasions as well as the Rhine Crossing operation.
The anniversary event at Coventry Airport next Saturday is being organised by Air Atlantique, which still runs a fleet of the veteran aircraft.
"The only replacement for a DC3 is another DC3," says the company.
The airline will be holding a day of celebrations which will include a 20-minute Dakota flight, hangar tours, ground displays, and a line-up of classic Douglas aircraft.
Joining the display will be Dakota ZA947, of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, from RAF Coningsby, which will form part of the static display at the event.
The first of more than 1,900 RAF Dakotas arrived in India in 1942. Dakotas served in every theatre of the war, notably during the D-Day landings and the airborne assault on Arnhem in 1944.
Flight mechanic Alan Hartley, who now runs the 450-member 271 Squadron Association, was one of the first RAF recruits to work with the twin-engined transport plane at its base at Down Ampney, near Wiltshire.
He and his 3,500 comrades were posted into the small Wiltshire village of Down Ampney, population 280, to begin the job of preparing the planes and training the troops.
"They were the real workhorses," Mr Hartley, aged 81, said from his home in Coventry. "You have got Fighter Command and Bomber Command and they got all the glory - we were the Pickfords, the removal men." The men worked with the plane from February 1944, and were given just five months to prepare for the D-Day landings that June.
"In 1943, the Germans took Crete using paratroopers," Mr Hartley added. "It was so successful that Churchill said we had to get 5,000 airborne troops.
" The five new Dakota squadrons had just five months to prepare for D-Day and learn the innovative new skills needed for its new roles, including inserting paratroopers, towing gliders, resupplying troop lines and even acting as air ambulances.
"We brought back 100,000 casualties in the period after D-Day. It was not unusual for a soldier to be wounded in France and on the operating tables at Down Ampney in under three hours.
"This is a record that we are justly proud of."
The Dakota dropped 4,381 paratroopers in the invasion of Sicily in 1943, and Dakota crews flew 60,000 paratroopers and towed several thousand Horsa gliders for the D-Day landings.