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DOUGLAS C-47B-35-DK DAKOTA  A65-114

Twin engine military transport (military version of the DC-3)

History of A65-114

The aircraft was delivered to the RAAF in June 1945. Early work was bringing POWs back from Singapore and later operations in the Korean War. The aircraft was known for carrying VIPs such as Prime Ministers Ben Chifley and Sir Robert Menzies, Governor General Sir William Slim, famous explorer Sir Douglas Mawson and General ‘Red Robbie’ Robertson.

In 1954 A65-114 was transferred to No. 38 Transport SQN (Richmond) where it served for 10 years. It was then delivered to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) at Laverton. The Dakota moved to Edinburgh, SA, in December 1976 when ARDU transferred there. On 17 October 1986 the aircraft suffered an engine failure on take-off at Edinburgh. The crew made an immediate landing back on the runway. Sadly, the left undercarriage collapsed, resulting in substantial damage. The Dakota was withdrawn from use and purchased by the Museum in November 1991 for $12,000. It was transported to Port Adelaide in January 1992. Its total flight time was 13,897 hours.

Following its repair and restoration by Museum members, the aircraft was put on display. It appears in the ARDU colour scheme, its last operational squadron.

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DOUGLAS DC-3 airliners and Dakota military transports

Total number built: 10,655

This aircraft is known world-wide as the ‘Gooney Bird’ (named after the albatross). The DC-3 / Dakota evolved from the original DC-1, designed and built in 1933, followed by the DC-2 in 1934 and as the DC-3 in 1935. In 1949 during an evacuation from floods in Bolivia, a DC-3 took off carrying 96 people, many of them children.

The first Australian registered DC-3 was VH-UZJ, Kyilla, delivered to Airlines of Australia Ltd in November 1937. Since 1937 over 200 DC-3s and Dakotas have operated in Australia with all the major airlines, as well as the RAAF. Most Australians aged over forty have had a ride in a ‘Gooney Bird’. There are approximately ten DC-3/C-47s still flying in Australia.

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*Visitors can inspect the cockpit of the Dakota on ‘Open Cockpit Days’

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Engines: 2 x 1200 hp P&W Twin Wasp R-1830 14 cylinder radial engines

Maximum take-off weight: 13,290 kg                     

Length: 19.6 m

Wing span: 29.2 m                                

Height: 5.2 m

Cruising speed: 140 kt (267 kph)    

Range: 2,575 km (1500 nm) 

Capacity: 21–32 passengers

Crew (Military): 2 pilots and 1 navigator/radio operator, 1 loadmaster

Crew (Civil): 2 pilots, 1 or 2 flight attendants