Feature Photo (courtesy Onno Wieringa) depicts The Dakota Hunter on that classic Harley Davidson WL 750 in front of 2 immaculate C-47’s, in Normandy, dated 6 June 2014. Now, we look for yet another C-47/ DC-3 for a new Military Museum, in flying condition or as a Static Display Gateguard, and are curious to consider your proposals.
The Dakota Hunter is overseeing the procurement of two vintage aircraft for purchase by a new Military Aviation Museum. They are currently in search of the following aircraft;
Photo above was made by my friend Michael Prophet. He wrote me that the C-47 “Fifi Kate” was photographed by him on Lelystad Airport in Holland during an Air Show. Later this aircraft was sold to Aliansa, one of the major DC-3 Operators in Villavicencio, Colombia. That airport, nicknamed “ The DC-3 Capital of the World” is the home base of the largest fleet of operational Dakotas still surviving.
Quite a number of C-47’s that I saw there during my travels in search of the lost and last Dakotas, have been refurbished or cannibalized for making other airframes operational again. With the demise of FARC (which was a major disturbing factor in the National Pacification process), the local economy and the transport into the Amazon prosper again. The DC-3 is virtually the only aircraft that flies in numbers to the remote airstrips into the Green Hell Jungle with 3 tons of Cargo and Passengers. Cheap to purchase compared with Turbo Prop aircraft, and low-tech maintenance can be done in primitive and open-air sites. But most important, a low approach speed combined with huge balloon tires. That combined with the taildragger configuration make landings on ungraded and soft unasphalted strips in the jungle or on the savannah relatively easy and save. Yet, once in a while, things go wrong, like anywhere in the world of mechanical transport (see photo below).
Photo above: The same ex -“Fifi Kate” Douglas DC-3C registered HK-4700 sustained substantial damage in an accident at Guerima Airport, Colombia. There were no fatalities. The airplane had arrived after a cargo flight from Villavicencio. During landing rollout the airplane lost hydraulic pressure. The pilot shut down the engines and unlocked the tail wheel. He attempted to steer the plane using the tail wheel. The DC-3 swung 90 degrees and ran into a trench, located 20 meters from the runway. The right-hand wing sustained serious structural damage. The rupture of the hose coupling of the right main landing gear brake assembly caused a hydraulic fluid leak with subsequently the loss of system pressure and therefore, a lack of effective braking action. Source http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20101106-0
Photo above (courtesy Onno Wieringa), made in Normandy after the D-Day commemorative flight 2014, depicting the “Brothers in Arms” Douglas Dakota and Harley Davidson, both here in the stylish 1940’s Olive drab green color. I saw so many Dakotas (and Harley’s) in my life, crashed, abandoned and operational. Since my youth years in Borneo, I was mesmerized by both “transports”: a passion that would never fade away anymore. Both are the ultimate Survivors, the Gooney Bird as a flying Time Capsule, fostered by Museums, in private hands or still in a transport role, making revenues for the owner. The fact that those operational roles still exist with a transport of over 70 years of age is most astounding. It will be next to impossible to find any transport (car, truck, boat, plane, train) of that age in the world that still can boast such role in the numbers as we have still available of the venerable C-47. “The aircraft that changed the world”, it is still valid, be it in a different setting n0w.