Thursday, 15 May 2014

Dakota Part 4: The SAAF Experience II: 2012 Drakensberg crash

C-47 Dakota in SAAF Service II: Losses and Attrition


The list below is of Douglas C-47 aircraft that have seen service with the South African Air Force

On 5 December 2012, a Douglas C-47TP "Dakota" 6840 of the SAAF crashed in the Drakensburg Mountains, KwaZulu Natal, killing all eleven people on board.

25311_SAAF_6840_Silver_Falcons_Stefaan_Bouwer-02
6840 in Silver Falcon Livery (35 Sq) Photo Bouwer

(Phots IOL)



 The aircraft involved was Douglas C-47TP 6840, c/n 13866. It had been built in 1943 as 43-48050 for the United States Army Air Forces and was transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1944 as KG767 before being immediately transferred to the South African Air Force as 6840. In the early 1990s, the aircraft was modified with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A turboprop engines and a fuselage extension. Based at AFB Ysterplaat, Cape Town, it was mainly used in the maritime patrol role but also acted as a support aircraft for the Silver Falcons display team.


The aircraft was on a flight from AFB Waterkloof to Mthatha Airport when it crashed near Giant's Castle in the Drakensburg Mountains, killing all on board. Shortly before the crash at 09:45 hours South African Standard Time (07:45 UTC), the crew reported that they were flying on instruments at 11,000 feet (3,400 m) in instrument meteorological conditions. There were six crew and five passengers.
An inquiry into the accident was still pending at the time of writing.

List of SAAF Dakotas: sorted by serial numbers

Serial model c/n Delivery date (ex-USAF or ex-RAF) Civilian reg and fate if known

6801 C-47A 9492 21.06.43 42-23630 FD574 to SAA ZS-DJB Simonsberg reverted to 6889
6802 C-47A 9628 02.07.43 42-23766 FD906 to ZS-DDV G-AJXL G-AMGD VP-YTT ZS-EKK 3D-AAV ZS-IWL ET-AIA
6803 C-47A 9629 29.07.43 42-23767 FD907 to ZS-DER XY-ACR w/o 24.05.69
6804 C-47A 9630 29.07.43 42-23768 FD908 to SAA ZS-AVI Mount Anderson w/o Carolina 15.09.52
6805 C-47A 9877 17.02.45 42-24015 FD956 to ZS-DDR XY-ACS w/o 10.06.63
6806 C-47A 9878 15.08.43 42-24016 FD957 to G-ALCB AP-ADH G-ALCB
6807 C-47A 9879 15.08.43 42-24017 FD958 crashed Lake Victoria 11.05.45
6808 C-47a 10106 27.09.43 42-24244 FL523 to G-ALCC 5B-CBE 5B-CAW
6809 C-47A 10104 17.09.43 42-24242 FL521 crashed north of Broken Hill w/o  28.09.45
6810 C-47A 10105 03.10.43 42-24243 FL522 to ZS-DEF G-AMFV
6811 C-47ATP 11986 16.12.43 42-92211 FL579 Snake Valley  - sold
6812 C-47A 11987 03.01.44 42-92212 FL580 crashed Kisumu w/o 11.07.45
6813 C-47A 11989 14.12.43 42-92213 FL581 to ZS-DJK VP-YSY ZS-DJK A2-ADB Z-WRJ
6814 C-47ATP 11990 16.12.43 42-92214 FK582 35 Squadron as maritime
6815 C-47A 12016  03.01.44 42-92238 FL606 to ZS-AVJ Crashed East Griqualand w/0 15.10.51
6816 C-47A 12112 25.01.44 42-92324 FZ576 w/o 06.05.94
6817 C-47A 12159 25.01.44 42-92366 FZ604 to G-ALCA AP-ABW CF-GXE w/o 12.04.61
6818 C-47A 11979 18.01.44 42-92204 FL572 to ZS-DHO G-ANLF F-OAOR G-ANLF OO-SBH w/o 28.03.69

DC-3 75 anniversary 07b Athol Franz AFPM7786

photo Athol Franz (SAAF DAK's 75th Anniversary)

6819 C-47A 12166 07.02.44 42-92373 FZ611 to ZS-BXI Elandskop VP-KNU ZS-BXI to 6886
6820 C-47ATP 12115 13.02.44 42-92327 FZ580 sold as N192RD 15.07.98
6821 C-47A 12107 31.01.44 42-92320 FZ572 to ZS-BXF Klapperkop later Vasberade to 6888
6822 C-47A 12049 07.02.44 42-92267 FL625 to ZS-BXG Piketberg to 6887
6823 C-47A 12073 31.01.44 42-92289 FL645 to ZS-DEO XY-ACN ET-AGV N9700N 5Y-BFO ZS-XXX ZS-MFY
6824 C-47A 12055 21.01.44 42-92273 FL630 to ZS-DES CF-GOR N800KC CF-KZO CF-PQG w/o 16.03.65
6825 C-47ATP 12160 27.02.44 42-92367 FZ605 35 Squadron as maritime
6826 C-47A 12161 27.02.44 42-92368 FZ606 to ZS-DFN KA-DFN w/o 06.12.61
6827 C-47A 12158 12.03.44 42-10883 FZ603 to ZS-DDZ G-ALPN
6828 C-47ATP 12415 12.03.44 42-92597 KG385 cur (EW) 35 Squadron
6829 C-47A 12413 12.03.44 42-92595 KG383 to SAA as ZS-BXI 11.12.95
6830 C-47A 12414 31.03.44 42-92596 KG384 to ZS-BYI (NTU) ZS-DFB w/o 27.07.52
6831 C-47A 12595 17.04.44 42-92759 KG483 to ZS-BXZ (NTU)
6832 C-47A 12478 08.04.44 42-10886 KG443 to SAAF Museum Ysterplaat
6833 C-47A 12579 08.04.44 42-92744 KG467 to ZS-BYH XY-ACQ w/o 02.09.55
6834 C-47ATP 12590 08.04.44 42-92754 KG478 sold to ZS-OSO National Test Pilot School (NTPS) in Cape Town 09.05.01, then N834TP


25311 6840 Malcolm Reid 1
6840 in happier days

6835 (1) C-47A 12596 15.05.44 42-92760 KG484 to ZS-DJX to 6885
6835 (2) C-47TP 20175 0.77 43-15709 LR-AAB OD-AAB F-OCEN D6-ECB sold as N145RD 15.12.97
6836 C-47A 13018 01.05.44 42-10891 KG535 to VP-YPB CR-AFR FAP6167 s d Mozambique 1968
6837 C-47ATP 13539 05.07.44 42-93608 KG672 35 Squadron - maritime
6838 C-47A 13541 23.07.44 42-93610 KG674 to ZS-CAI, sold as ZS-CAI
6839 C-47ATP 13540 03.07.44 42-93609 KG673 to ZS-MRS, reverted to 6839 10.95, cur Snake Valley to go to 35 Squadron as transport
6840 C-47ATP 13866/25311 11.08.44 43-48050 KG767, crash Drakensberg, 5.12.2012, 11 deceased
6841 C-47A 13867/25312 11.08.44 43-48051 KG768 to RRAF703 VP-YZB R7303
6842 C-47A 13865/25310 12.08.42 43-48049 KG766 to SRAF 25 RRAF25 RRAF157 RRAF702 VP-YZA R3702 w/o 31.05.77
6843 C-47B 14164/25609 15.09.44 43-48348 KJ825 crashed south of Bloemfontein 21.09.87
6844 C-47BTP 14165/25610 15.09.44 43-48349 KJ826 sold to Professional Aviation to ZS-OJK 11.99
6845 (1) C-47B 14669/26114 21.10.44 43-48853 KJ940 crashed Tabora 16.02.45
6845 (2) C-47TP 14642/26087 .08.79 43-48826 KJ919 G-AMSI ZS-DHW VP-YSL A2-ZEO ZS-DHW A2-ZEO cur 35 Squadron to be sold
6846 (1) C-47B 14671/26116 07.11.44 43-48855 KJ942 crashed Rand Airport 16.07.53
6846 (2) C-47TP 16386/33134 0.81 44-76802 NZ3542 ZK-AQU D6-CAH sold as N8241T 14.07.98
6847 C-47B 14670/26115 21.11.44 43-48854 KJ941 w/o near Pretoria 08.07.45
6848 C-47B 14993/26438 21.11.44 43-49177 KJ999 For sale 13.01.95 Sold as ZS-NTD
6849 C-47B 14994/26439 21.12.44 43-49178 KK100 to ZS-DKP VP-YSP A2-ZEP ZS-IPX A2-AAA ZS-IPX to SAAF 6892
6850 (1) C-47B 15301/26746 21.12.44 43-49485 KK162 crashed near Swartkop 04.08.72
6850 (2) C-47 15654/27099 .08.75 43-49838 KN231 G-AMZW SN-AAH ST-AAH to SAAF Museum as static display, to Caesars Casino (Emperors Palace) Jhb .04.00, to South African National Museum of Military History

6850 at SA Military Museum, HS Buccaneer to the left (J. Austin-Williams)

6851 C-47B 15300/26745 21.01.45 43-49484 KK161 crashed in SWA Namibia 25.03.80
6852 C-47BTP 15557/27002 18.03.45 43-49741 KK220 cur 35 Squadron as maritime
6853 C-47BTP 15754/27199 09.03.45 43-49938 KN267 sold as N148RD 19.12.97
6854 C-47BTP 15887/32635 09.03.45 44-76303 KN327 cur Snake Valley to go to 35 Squadron as maritime
6855 (1) C-47B 16189/32937 15.04.45 44-76605 KN464 to ZS-DJC Mount Prospect crashed Katberg 06.03.62
6855 (2) C-47TP 16213/32961 .08.79 44-76629 KN483 ZS-DIV VP-YSN A2-ZEN ZS-DIV A2-ZEN sold as N8194Q 14.07.98
6856 C-47B 16625/33373 28.06.45 44-77041 KN669 crashed near Bizana 10.02.61
6857 C-47BTP 16627/33375 28.06.45 44-77043 KN670 sold as N193RD 8.07.98
6858 (1) C-47B 16628/33376 28.06.45 44-77044 KN671 crashed near Lyttelton 26.02.48
6858 (2) C-47TP 16149/32897 0.81 44-76565 NZ3538 ZK-AQP D6-CAF sold as N146RD 11.12.97
6859 C-47A 12586 27.09.45 42-92751 KG474 to SAAF Museum Swartkop 24.09.94, cur, flown by Historic Flight
6860 C-47A 12000(11899) 28.09.45 42-92223 FL591 to ZS-DBZ TF-FIS G-ALTT ET-ABI w/o 14.09.65
6861 C-47B 14494/25939 27.09.45 43-48678 KJ980 to RRAF706 VP-YZE R3706
6862 C-47A 10110 .09.45 42-24248 FL527 sold as ZS-NZA 31.08.96 to 9Q-CJJ
6863 (1) C-47B 16198/32946 27.09.45 44-76614 KN471 to RRAF707 VP-YZF R3707 R7307 w/o 21.07.75
6863 (2) C-47TP 16565/33313 0.81 44-76981 NZ3546 ZK-AWQ D6-CAG Sold as N81907 14.07.98
6864 C-47ATP 12580 28.09.45 42-92745 KG468 wfu Ysterplaat 2ASU to Bokrivier Military Training Facility 21.07.08
6865 (1) C-47B 15555/27000 12.01.45 43-49739 KK218 to ZS-DIY G-ANYF CF-HTH dbr 06.02.73
6865 (2) C-47BTP 16730/33478 0.81 44-77146 NZ3547 ZK-AZM D6-CAD sold as N8190X 14.07.98
6866 C-47A 12090 04.09.45 42-92304 FZ555 to ZS-DBL ZS-DCA G-ANNT F-OAPH ZS-DCA VP-YSK ZS-DCA
6867 C-47A 9836 03.10.45 42-23974 FD938 to RAF with temp reg ZS-NJE 5.94, became G-BVOL PH-TCB
6868 C-47BTP 16200/32948 08.10.45 44-76616 KN472 sold as N194RD 15.07.98
6869 C-47A 11911 06.10.45 42-92143 FL551 to G-ALCB 20.07.48
6870 (1) C-47B 15298/26743 06.10.45 43-49482 KK159 to ZS-DIZ 49482 FrAF F-SDKB F-BTDA EC-CAR F-BRQG



6845 served as a roadhouse for a while, then restored to fly again  in South America

6870 (2) C-47TP 16463/33211 .06.79 44-76879 KN581 VP-KJS 5X-AAR 7Q-YKN ZS-EYN
6871 (1) C-47A 11991 03.10.45 42-92215 FL583 to ZS-DIW
6871 (2) C-47TP 16965/34225 0.81 45-962 N NZ3553 ZK-ERI D6-CAE to ZS-LJI cur
6872 C-47A 9539 04.10.65 42-23677 FD887 sold (NFD)
6873 C-47A 11926 .10.45 42-92157 FL565 sold as ZS-NTE
6874 (1) C-47B 15903/32651 04.10.45 44-76319 KN337 to RRAF709 VP-YZH R7039
6874 (2) C-47TP 16077/32825 .08.80 44-76493 KN402 VP-KJP 5Y-AAD 9J-RGY sold as N81952 14.07.98
6875 (1) C-47A 12065 28.09.45 42-92282 FL638 destroyed by fire on ground at Rand Airport 03.07.64
6875 (2) C-53DTP 11746 0.81 42-68819 SE-APG N8071Z 9Q-CYI cur 35 Squadron as VIP transport, to be sold
6876 C-47ATP 12582 28.09.45 42-92747 KG470 sold as N81949 17.07.98
6877 C-47ATP 11925 01.10.45 42-92156 FL564 cur 35 Squadron as transport
6878 C-47B 16203/32951 28.09.45 44-76619 KN474 burnt out Rand Airport 24.05.81
6879 C-47ATP 9766 28.09.45 42-23904 FD933 to ZS-MRR, reverted to 6879 10.95, sold as N147RD 11.12.97
6880 (1) C-47A 9948 28.09.45 42-24086 FD962 to ZS-CCG CR-AHB FAP6176 C9-AHB
6880 (2) C-47TP 14101/25546 12.04.80 43-48285 348285 FrAF F-BTDE YU-ABV N8071Y N3701Y TN-ADT sold as N330RD 14.04.00
6881 C-47B 16213/32961 06.10.45 44-76629 KN483 to ZS-DIV VP-YSN A2-ZEN ZS-DIV A2-ZEN to SAAF 6855 (2)



6891 (P. Wonfor)

6882 C-47B 15896/32644 03.10.45 44-76312 KN334 sold to NTPS as ZS-MAP
6883 C-47B 14495/25940 07.10.45 43-48679 KJ909 crashed Swartkop 25.06.46
6884 C-47ATP 12064 .09.45 42-92281 FL637 wfu Ysterplaat 2ASU to Bokrivier Military Training Facility 6.07.08
6885 C-47ATP 12596 08.02.71 42-92760 KG484 6835 ZS-DJX cur 35 Squadron as maritime
6886 C-47ATP 12166 08.02.71 42-92373 FZ611 6819 ZS-BXI Sold as N8194Z 14.07.98
6887 (1) C-47A 12049 08.02.71 42-92267 FL625 6822 ZS-BXG to RhAF as R3711 w/o 18.12.80
6887 (2) C-47ATP 12704 .09.81 42-92857 SP-LCB OY-AIC 42-92857 N8071X TN-ADS cur as 35 Squadron as transport
6888 C-47A 12107 08.02.71 42-92320 FZ572 6821 ZS-BXF to SAA as ZS-BXF 04.07.91, damaged in f landing 21.11.03. Repaired. Current SAA Museum Society
6889 C-47A 9492 08.02.71 42-23630 FD874 6801 ZS-DJB to RhAF as R7312 w/o 10.07.86
6890 C-47TP 16804/33552 0.77 44-77220 KP250 44-77220 GA+111 AS+586 GR+110 XA+116 14+11 N90904 sold as N149RD 19.12.97
6891 C-47TP 16276/33024 0.77 44-76692 KN499 0-476692 GA+112 GR+104 ND+201 XA+120 14+03 N90905 sold as N198RD 14.04.00
6892 C-47TP 14994/26439 0.78 43-49178 KK100 6849 ZS-DKP VP-YSP A2-ZEP ZS-IPX A2-AAA ZS-IPX sold as N195RD 8.07.98 to ZS-OJI 03.01.99



Losses (by serial numbers)
Aircraft Date
6807 11.05.45 Crew not known, A/Sgt W Anderson (k), L/Cpl W Upton (k) SA Army
6809 28.09.45 Capt JS Sandilands (s), Lt HC Read (s), F/Sgt WM Scott (s), Sgt RT Stewart (s) Passengers: Pte BJ Schoombie (k), Pte JN Schoombie (k), Tpr HLJ Roux (k), Tpr JE De Bruyn (k), Lt DC Armstrong (k), Pte HB Stoop (k), Lt SA Darier (k), WO2 GG Maritz (k) SAAF, Pte BS Scheepers (k), Cpl CJ Uys (s), Lt-Col H Klein (s), Cpl J van Rensburg (s), Pte H Smith (s), Sig W Barry (s), Pte A Grobbelaar (s), WO1 HW Steel (s), Lt A Maxwell (s), Maj B Harris (s), Pte R Hincks (s), Sapper A Benade (s), Cpl JM Robinson (s), Pte HJ Potgieter (s), Sapper CJ Lourens (s), Pte EW Gottschalk (s)
6812 11.07.45 Lt JA Hoffe (k), Lt Q Neuper (k), A/Sgt MPW Bezuidenhout (k), A/Sgt CLD Kemp (k), (24 pax killed)
6816 06.05.94 Capt M Huson (s), Lt J dos Santos (s)
6840 .5.12.2012 Crew members: Major K Misrole (k) Captain ZM Smith, Sergeant BK Baloyi., Sergeant E Boes, Sergeant JM Mamabolo, Corporal L Mofokeng, Passengers:Sergeant L Sobantu, Corporal NW Khomo,Corporal A Matlaila,Corporal MJ Mthombeni,Lance Corporal NK Aphane
6843 21.09.87 Maj J Branders (s), Capt B de Villiers (s) (11 illed)
6845 16.02.45 Tabora
6846 16.07.53 Lt BP Jonsson (s), Lt MB Borcherds (s)
6847 08.07.45 Lt IL Christianson (s), A/Sgt LJ Wallace (k), A/Sgt C Johnson (s), A/Cpl LK Kairuz (s)
6851 25.03.80 Lt JH Leeuw (k), Lt CJ Wessels (k), CO (Miss) ES Swart (k)
6856 10.02.61 Capt FK Siebrits (k), Lt AJA Heyns (k), A/Sgt LF Meise (k), LAM DH Nel (k), LAM JE Serfontein (k)
6878 24.05.81 Hangar fire
6883 25.06.46 Swartkop
6850 (1) 04.08.72 Capt PJ Steenkamp (s), Lt L Webb (s)
6858 (1) 26.02.48 Lt JF Breytenbach (s), Lt WC Botha (s), Lt BJ Grove (s), A/M MB de Meillon (k) (SAAF Tech on the ground)
6875 (1) 03.07.64 Destroyed by fire
FZ574 19.09.44 Lt KCG Wyness (s) engine cut, belly-landed on approach Maison Blanche 19.09.44
KG471 04.09.44 Capt KL O’Leary (s) crashed in forced landing Delabole, Cornwall 04.09.44
KG498 21.12.44 Lt GP Cronin (k), Lt CJ Jooste (k), Lt PS Moore (k), A/Cpl HV Kilburn (k) flew into hill at night 10m SSW of Torretoria Italy 21.12.44. Tyre burst on t/off, stalled, crashed Maison Blanche 15.03.45
KG525 15.03.45
KG690 31.07.44 Lt CJK Schutte (k), Lt JHS Glenny (k), Lt GC Pennington (k), A/Cpl R Hosner (k), A/Cpl RB Boraine (k) flew into cliffs on high ground, in cloud, Salalah, Aden 31.07.44
KG710 13.12.44 Capt AR Oldridge (k), Lt NS Campbell (k), Lt J Zurschmiede (k), A/Cpl CA Kalis (k). Missing between Bari and Hassani 13.12.44.
KN332 19.04.45 Lt HN Greenberg (k), Lt AF Smith (k), Lt LC Loram (k), A/Cpl T Griffiths (k), + 3 pax killed. Flew into hill descending in cloud near Vitrolles France 19.04.45 dbf
RAF Dak 16.07.44 Capt HW Solms (k)


12415 6828 Electronic Warfare Ysterplaat Air show 3 December 2005 Gary Shephard

SAAF 6828, Electronic Warfare
Photograph: Gary Shephard LightSketch Photography

Post WW2 Attrition summary:
  • 5 December 2012 6840 Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal, 11 killed 
  • 20 Sep 1987  6843 South of Bloemfontein In-flight engine fire and crash landed in field along the N1 freeway, all survived
  • 16 Jun 1987 6884 AFB Ondangwa Bird struck right hand small window causing slight damage. Aircraft was flying at 80ft at 125 kts, all survived
  • 9 Jul 1986 6889 all survived, no details
  • 30 Apr 1986 44 Sqn Angola Hit by SA-7 while on a transport flight from a forward field to AFB Ondangwa. Rudder and most of elevators destroyed, but landed safely: all survived
  • 23 May 1981 6878 Rand Airport Destroyed in fire during servicing.
  • 25 Mar 1980 6851 South West Africa  3 killed
  • 4 Aug 1972 6850 Near Swartkop 1 killed
  • 3 Jul 1964 6875 Rand Airport Written-off after ground fire.
  • 10 Feb 1961 6856 Near Bizana  5 killed
  • 16 Jul 1953 6846 Rand Airport
Some Interesting DC3/C-47 facts:
The DC-3 has been known to do some impossible feats. Built to carry 21 passengers, one routinely carried 40 in the Philippines. On flights from Australia to New Guinea, Qantas rigged its DC-3s with slings and carried 50 people.

Another DC-3 carried 76 people out of war torn China, including 21 fully equipped Chinese soldiers, 15 women, 22 children, 15 Chinese civilians, the pilot, co-pilot, and Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, who was returning from the raid over Japan. They removed the seats (allowing for an additional 550 pounds of weight), and the passengers sat on each other’s lap, rode in the waist and forward mail compartments, and stood in the aisle. Doolittle remarked to the pilot that, if he had known he was crazy enough to take off with so many people he would have walked home. In later years Doolittle recalled, “I wasn’t worried about the number of people on board, I worried about running out of gas.”

In 1949, a DC-3 carried 93 people out of an earthquake-ravaged Bolivian village. Many were small children, but it is still a feat that defied the designer’s slide rule.

Twenty-five years later, the DC-3 broke its own record again. On March 23, 1975, a Continental Air Services DC-3 flew from Ku Lat, Vietnam to Saigon with 98 orphan children, five attendants, and three air crew, a total of 106 people.

Flying Hours
Eastern Airlines’ DC-3s accumulated 2,227,863 hours of flying time, logging 83,584,318 miles, the equivalent of 3,343 times around the world or the distance between the earth and moon, 350 times.
The first formal recognition the DC-3 had earned a permanent place in aviation history came with the installation of Eastern Airlines’ NC18124, into the Smithsonian Institution in 1952. This airplane had logged 56,758 hours flying 8 1/2 million miles between July 1937 and January 1952. It spent the equivalent of six and one half years in the air. That airplane is now on display in the National Air and Space Museum.
North Central’s N21728, “Old 728,” logged 84,875 hours before its retirement in May 1975. Eastern Airlines took delivery of N21728 on April 11, 1939. It logged 51,398 hours over a 13 year period, then Eastern sold it to North Central Airlines. It spent another 31,634 hours in scheduled service (through April 1965) and logged another 1843 hours (through 1975) as a VIP aircraft for North Central.
North Central estimates “728” spent more than 9 1/2 years in the air and covered over 12 million miles, the equivalent of 25 trips to the moon and back.
During its career, “Old 728” had 136 engine changes, its landing gear was replaced 550 times, and it used over 25,000 spark plugs, to burn eight million gallons of gasoline. This DC-3 had taxied more than 100,000 miles and carried 260 million passengers in its 36-years of service.

Although many “old timers” had their share of bumps and bruises, “Old 728” never suffered even a minor mishap. Today, it is sitting quietly at the Henry Ford Museum, in Dearborn, Michigan. Critics have said that everything but its shadow has been replaced. However this is not true. “Old 728′s” airframe was still 90 percent factory issue when it retired.

Currently the record is now held by N136PB, a privately owned Dak bought from PBA (Provincetown Boston Airlines) in 1993 by two men, Neil Rose and Bob Irvine, from Vancouver, Washington, bought the ship and flew it west. They have restored it to its original 1937 Eastern Air Lines configuration and livery. In August 1993, it had 91,400.2 hours on the airframe.13 It has been in the air the equivalent of more than 10 and a half years, and has a record only another DC-3 will ever match. Each day it flies it breaks its own record adding a little more to this insurmountable achievement

Len Morgan, a renowned aviator and writer said: ‘I came to admire this machine which could lift virtually any load strapped to its back and carry it anywhere in any weather, safely and dependably. The C-47 groaned, it protested, it rattled, it leaked oil, it ran hot, it ran cold, it ran rough, it staggered along on hot days and scared you half to death, its wings flexed and twisted in a horrifying manner, it sank back to earth with a great sigh of relief – but it flew and it flew and it flew.’

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