D-Day plane restored in Oshkosh, Wis.
OSHKOSH, Wis. (WLUK) -- The plane that led the invasion of Normandy during World War II is being brought back to its original glory in Oshkosh.
The plane, a C-47 called "That's All, Brother," carried the first paratroopers who invaded Normandy. The aircraft led the more than 800 other C-47s also carrying paratroopers.
"The airplane is much more than an aircraft. It's a time machine," said Keegan Chetwynd, the curator for the Commemorative Air Force.
"It's unfathomable what this war really did and what the invasion of Normandy really was all about," added Paul Rice, an aviation maintenance technician for Basler Turbo Conversions.
But for 70 years after the war, the aircraft was lost.
"It was actually discovered by accident by an Air Force historian who was researching the man who flew the aircraft that night, a man named Col. John Donalson," Chetwynd explained.
The historian found it at the Basler Turbo Conversions junkyard in Oshkosh in 2015. That's when the Commemorative Air Force Decided to save it.
"We actually started a Kickstarter campaign that raised $380,000 in 30 days," Chetwynd told FOX 11 News.
Since then, the employees at Basler have spent more than 22,000 hours on the plane, restoring it original piece by original piece.
"There's things they have here in Oshkosh that no one else in the world has," Chetwynd told us. "It's really important to us that this still be the airplane that led the invasion."
Thursday, they tested "That's All, Brother's"' engines for the first time in 10 years.
"This is a major, milestone achievement. We did have a minor setback, which you kind of expect with projects like this," said Chetwynd.
A hydraulic leak caused a set back for the plane. So the crews worked to find the leak by flushing the lines. Friday they will run another test of the engines.
The hope is to fly the aircraft over Normandy in 2019 for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
"That's kind of why the rush is on and why we're doing all of this in the dead of winter in Wisconsin," Chetwynd explained.
He said it's thrilling to save this icon of the Greatest Generation.
"Provides that tangible connection for the next generation of people so that they know, when they read it in a history book, that it was real," Chetwynd remarked.
And those working on the plane said it's an honor, especially showing it to military members.
"They've just been overwhelmed with emotion on this airplane, which really makes me emotional," Rice told us.