Douglas Dakota

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota  is a military transport aircraft developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front-line service with various military operators for many years.

The Douglas C47, known as the Dakota in the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth services, became the world’s best known transport aircraft. The type saw widespread use by the Allies during the Second World War and by Air Forces and airlines post-war.

In the Cold War Exhibition at RAF Cosford, suspended from the ceiling is a Douglas Dakota.

The C47 Skytrain and C53 Skytrooper were military versions of the DC3 airliner. The DC3 first flew in 1935 and was ordered by America’s airlines. With the outbreak of war these aircraft were diverted to the Allied Air Forces, followed by 10000 military variants constructed before production ceased in 1946. Japan and the Soviet Union also built over 2000 unlicensed copies.

The first of over 1900 Dakotas received by the RAF arrived in India in 1942. Dakotas served in every theatre of the war, notably in Burma, during the D-Day landings and the airborne assault on Arnhem in 1944.

Most RAF Dakotas had been retired or sold by 1950, the last active aircraft leaving the service in 1970. The Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough operated a former Royal Canadian Air Force example (ZA947) from 1971 until 1993, when it joined the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) took their first deliveries of Douglas Dakota C47s in 1943 and the last of approximately 60 aircraft in 1946. During WWII Dakotas were operated by both the RAF and BOAC. After the war, BOAC sold the fleet, fourteen of which went to British European Airways when the airline was formed in 1946.

American Air Museum at Duxford

One of the big displays at Duxford is the American Air Museum. Opened in 1997 the museum came about following the acquisition of several American aircraft and a major cross Atlantic fund raising effort.

The dimensions of the building were dictated by the need to accommodate the museum’s B-52 Stratofortress bomber with its 61m wingspan and a tail 16m high

The American Air Museum in Britain is a story of two nations united through war, loss, love and duty.

C-47 Skytrain which flew with the 316th Troop Carrier Group and participated in three major Second World War airborne operations; the June 1944 Normandy landings, Operation Market Garden and Operation Varsity, the airborne crossing of the River Rhine in March 1945.

ZE359 is a former United States Navy F-4J from 1968 until it was converted to a F-4J(UK) for service with the Royal Air Force from 1984.

Flown to Duxford on retirement and restores to original United States Navy markings of VF-74 as 155529.

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II A-10A 77-0259 was last flown by the 10th Tactical Fighter Wing and it was flown to Duxford on retirement from the United States Air Force in 1992 from its base at nearby RAF Alconbury.

General Dynamics F-111E, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, it was based at RAF Upper Heyford with the 20th Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force prior to arriving at Duxford for display in 1993.

Lockheed U-2C operated by the United States Air Force from 1956 until retired and presented to the museum in 1992 to represent the type as flown at nearby RAF Alconbury.

Boeing B-29A Superfortress, a former United States Air Force B-29A, it was recovered from the China Lake range in 1979, restored to flying condition as G-BHDK and flown across the Atlantic to Duxford, arriving in March 1980. Painted as 461748 to represent an aircraft of the 501st Bomb Group United States Army Air Force and named It’s Hawg Wild.

Boeing B-52D Stratofortress, on display outside since 1983 and moved inside the American Air Museum in 1997.

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, F-BDRS was operated by the French Institut géographique national (National Geographic Institute) before acquisition in 1974 as a spare parts source for the airworthy Sally B. In 1978 it was donated to the Imperial War Museum and displayed as 231983 IY-G of the 401st Bomb Group United States Army Air Force based at RAF Deenethorpe

Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird, is the only example of its type on display outside the United States.

There was also a Dodge WC54 Ambulance on display

As well as a Bell UH-1H Iroquois.