My all time favorite piece of military hardware. Hell, my all time favorite piece of hardware, period.
The C-47 Skytrain, a.k.a. Douglas DC-3 Dakota a. k. a. the Gooney Bird. Among the greatest aircraft ever designed, arguable one of the best ever built. First flown on December 17th, 1935 the DC-3 redefined the way we viewed air travel. With its introduction, airlines were able to operate passenger service alone, not relying on subsidies from carrying mail. In WWII the C-47 was utilized for transporting people and goods where needed, and dropping paratroopers into battle. After the war, surplus C-47s entered the civilian space as airliners and cargo planes. Thanks to their high cargo capacity and excellent short field performance the C-47/DC-3 has remained a popular cargo plane in areas with difficult access. More than 75 years after it's introduction, many DC-3s are still operating, and not just as museum pieces but real hard working airplanes, a true testament to the incredible design.