Emerging from the rugged lineage of the C-47 Skytrain, the Douglas AC-47 Spooky wasn’t your average aircraft. Born in 1965, this gunship wasn’t built for speed, clocking in at a respectable but unassuming 235 miles per hour.

Yet, beneath its unassuming exterior lurked a beast, packing a punch that earned it the affectionate nickname “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

This seemingly unassuming beast housed a crew of seven: a pilot, copilot, navigator, flight engineer, loadmaster, and two gunners.

With a length of over 64 feet and a wingspan stretching 95 feet, the Spooky wasn’t exactly nimble. But its true strength lay in its firepower. Three Gatling guns, each capable of unleashing a torrent of 6,000 rounds per minute, transformed this transport into a fearsome aerial warrior. Imagine the night sky ablaze with tracer fire, each round painting a deadly arc as it rained down on enemy positions below.

The Spooky wasn’t one for daylight battles. It thrived in the darkness, carrying flares to illuminate the battlefield and become the guardian angel of friendly forces under attack. Whether in Vietnam, Laos, or Colombia, the Spooky became synonymous with close air support and heavy ground attack, its distinctive growl earning it the chilling moniker “Spooky”.

AC-47 Spooky: Three Gatling Guns and 6000 Rounds Per Minute Gunship

Though its operational career eventually ended, the legend of the Spooky lives on. Two of these flying dragons now reside in Florida at the Air Commando Park, and the Air Force Armament Museum

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