Douglas XCG-17 Glider
The Douglas XCG-17 was an American assault glider, developed by the conversion of a C-47 Skytrain twin-engine transport during World War II. Although the XCG-17 was successful in testing, the requirement for such a large glider had passed, and no further examples of the type were built; one additional C-47, however, was converted in the field to glider configuration briefly during 1946 for evaluation, but was quickly reconverted to powered configuration.
Field Conversion"Nez Perce"
Although the XCG-17 failed to lead to any production of a C-47 derived glider type, a single C-47 was converted in the field to glider configuration by the Fifth Air Service Area Command, located at Nichols Field on Luzon in the Philippines, during January 1946. Carried out in much the same manner as the XCG-17, the conversion included octagonally shaped fairings over the engine mountings, with an auxiliary power unit from a B-24 Liberator bomber being installed.
Referred to as "XCG-47" as well as "XCG-17", and named "Nez Perce", the aircraft undertook its initial flight following conversion on June 17, 1946, towed by a C-54. The flight tests of the field-converted aircraft proved favorable, and an ambitious flight, towing the aircraft from Luzon to Tokyo in Japan, was planned.
This flight was intended to prove the suitability of large gliders to act as an "aerial freight train" for regular transport.
The flight, conducted in late June 1946, took 11 hours of flight time and included an overnight stay on Okinawa; covering 1,800 miles (2,900 km), it concluded at Tachikawa Airfield near Tokyo. Despite the success of the flight, the "aerial freight train" concept did not catch on; the aircraft had its engines re-fitted in August 1946 and was returned to service as a normal C-47.