Williams honors Burnet's "Belle" on House floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Roger Williams, R-Austin, took to the House floor Wednesday evening to recognize the famed Bluebonnet Belle C47 Skytrain, which has been in use since 1944 and crashed Saturday, July 21, at Burnet Municipal Airport's Kate Craddock Field in Burnet while attempting to take off for an air show in Wisconsin.

“Mr. Speaker, today I want to recognize the famed Bluebonnet Belle C47 Skytrain in Burnet, Texas, that I represent. The Bluebonnet Belle was designed and built in 1944. It flew more than 75 missions during World War II to carry cargo, passengers, and evacuate causalities,” Williams said from the podium.

“The Highland Lakes Squadron – Commemorative Air Force purchased the Belle in 2002 where it then made its way to Burnet, Texas, and has called the Lonestar State home ever since. As recently as last year, this aircraft was used to transport food and supplies to the good people of Texas who suffered from Hurricane Harvey. It logged 13.6 flight hours going back and forth – which is incredible for a plane of this age.”

Thirteen people were aboard the Belle, tail number N47HL, headed for the annual Oshkosh Air Show when the plane left the runway shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday, July 21, and crashed before catching fire and eventually exploding. Miraculously, all 13 people aboard the craft survived the crash and made it out of the plane before the explosion.

The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

“By the grace of God, all 13 crew members and passengers aboard the aircraft survived and are now in good spirits and are safe,” Williams said. “I am thankful for the first responders who tended to the aircrew, and to those who helped contain the fire.

“I am sad to say that the Bluebonnet Belle will not be able to be restored. It is a huge loss for Burnet and for Texas-25. We will always remember this plane and all it accomplished across the United States and the world. It was a treasure that cannot be replaced.”

Williams' remarks, made during time allowed for general speeches by members of the House, came after a suggestion by Highlander managing editor Lew K. Cohn to Williams' district field representative Andi Ball to honor the Bluebonnet Belle on the floor of the House for its nearly 75 years of service to the United States, Canada and the world.

The Belle had been invited to participate in the 75th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, as part of the “Daks Over Normandy” remembrance, to be held June 6, 2019. The aircraft has long been a mainstay at the annual Airsho, held the second weekend of September at the Burnet Municipal Airport by the Highland Lakes Squadron. Officials said the show is expected to continue without the famed aircraft.

To watch Williams' remarks on the House floor, go to youtu.be/4lTjJdVbHME.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet