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As Vintage DC3 Dakota Lands, A Trip Down Memory Lane For The Indian Air Force

As Vintage DC3 Dakota Lands, A Trip Down Memory Lane For The Indian Air Force
The restored DC3 Dakota aircraft. (Source – Twitter account of the Indian Air Force)

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As Vintage DC3 Dakota Lands, A Trip Down Memory Lane For The Indian Air Force

A Dakota had been used to ferry troops to Srinagar in the 1947 Indo-Pak War.

It took nine days for the vintage DC3 Dakota to fly from Coventry in the United Kingdom to Jamnagar in Gujarat. For the Indian Air Force (IAF), however, the aircraft’s arrival on Wednesday turned the clock back over 60 years.

The restored vintage aircraft called ‘Parashurama’ has the same Tail Number, VP-905, as the one for the first Dakota aircraft used to ferry troops from the Army’s 1 Sikh Regiment to Srinagar on 27 October 1947 for operations in the first Indo-Pak War.

The aircraft was gifted to the Indian Air Force by Rajya Sabha member of Parliament (MP) Rajeev Chandrasekhar on 13 February this year. The gift deed was signed between Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and IAF veteran Air Commodore (retd) M K Chandrasekhar, who is the MP’s father and a former Dakota pilot himself.

One of the most versatile transport aircraft of its time, a large fleet of Dakotas served the Indian Air Force before being phased out in 1988.

Unprecedented Journey

The 1944-made vintage DC3 Dakota aircraft, that had served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) of the UK, underwent an arduous restoration project in the United Kingdom after being bought in 2011, in a condition that engineers reportedly described as scrap.

The Indian Air Force shared details about the aircraft on Twitter.

That it flew all the way to India, making stops in France, Italy, Greece, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman, after restoration has been described as unprecedented.

It landed in Jamnagar on Wednesday afternoon, after completing the last leg of its flight from Muscat, Oman.

In keeping with legal and safety requirements, its navigation system was upgraded by Reflight Airworks Ltd, London, after it signed a contract with the IAF.

Flight Of Nostalgia

The vintage DC3 Dakota aircraft was brought to India by a joint crew of the Indian Air Force and Reflight Airworks. The Indian Air Force shared its excitement over the final leg of the journey.

Here is what Reflight shared on Twitter about the Dakota’s journey.

Rajeev Chandrashekhar has often explained why this project was so close to his heart. As a child, he had seen his father take to the skies in a Dakota on numerous occasions while being posted in Assam. Some years ago, he realized that there was no aircraft from that era in flying condition in India, the last few having been sold as scrap.

The DC3 Dakota is the third aircraft in the IAF’s Vintage Fleet collection, the other two being a Tiger Moth and a Harvard.It will be formally inducted on 4 May at a ceremony scheduled to be held at the Hindan Air Force Station, where the fleet is based.

It is expected to be showcased at this year’s Air Force Day celebrations on 8 October.

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