Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Corporation at Oklahoma City in Oklahoma and rolled off the production line on 29/5/1944. Aircraft was designated as a C-47A-25-DK. During the war years allocated the U.S. serial number 42-93536. On 4/6/1944 acquired by the Royal Air Force as Lend-Lease transport and redesignated as a Dakota III with the serial number KG647. Arrived in the United Kingdom after the ferry flight on 4/6/1944. Saw service with No 575 Squadron from 2/10/1944 and later with No 1680 Flight from 28/9/1945.
On 3/4/1946 aircraft leased by British Overseas Airways Corporation which was based at Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom and registered G-AIAZ during June 1946 for the term of the lease. Returned to the Royal Air Force on 31/7/1946 and reverted back to KG647 and placed in storage with No 22 Maintenance Unit at Silloth which is near the Scottish border in the United Kingdom.
Struck off the British civil register on 18/10/1946 as it had been purchased by H C Purvis for the Sydney Morning Herald for £20,000 and initially registered VH-SMI. Of the two DC-3s purchased by the Sydney Morning Herald all that is known that were flown to Australia by H Purvis and a British pilot A R Lewis. It is not known who flew each aircraft.
Departed the United Kingdom still in wartime camouflage with the Australian registration. On board this flight were about a dozen fare paying passengers. On 18/3/1953 it was struck off the civil register and placed in storage.
Later purchased by the Bureau of Mineral Resources - Geology and Geophysics and delivered to them at Camden on 10/11/1953. On the same day this aircraft departed on the ferry flight to Essendon but approximately one hour after takeoff near Yass the starboard propeller became uncontrollable. Returned to Mascot where Trans Australia Airlines engineers changed the governor. Finally departed Mascot on the ferry flight to Essendon.
On 17/12/1953 the registration of VH-MIN was requested for this aircraft. Later reregistered VH-MIN to the Bureau on 1/12/1954. Whilst with the Bureau of Mineral Resources aircraft was maintained and flown by Trans Australia Airlines. Known details of survey flights flown are listed below.
12/1/1955 until 14/1/1955 radiation survey flights flown over south west Tasmania and King Island. Total distance flown was 625 kilometres.
1/2/1955 until 15/3/1955 this aircraft flew radiation survey flights in the Broken Hill area. Total distance flown during these flights was 7,696 kilometres.
12/9/1955 until 31/10/1955 radiation survey flights were flown in the Chillagoe - Einasleigh Gilberton region. Total distance flown during these flights was 17,840 kilometres.
3/10/1955 until 4/10/1955 radiation survey flights flown between Cloncurry and Mt. Isa. Total distance flown was 1000 kilometres.
On 18/5/1972 ferried to Tamworth and placed in storage. Sold to K Singh of Tamworth and registered to the owner on 6/7/1972. When this aircraft was disposed of in July 1972 to K Singh, it was brought to the attention of the Department of Civil Aviation that a requirement of the tender was that this aircraft had to be exported or broken up for scrap.
The highest tender of $11,500 was received from Gulf Enterprises P/L, which was based at Lae. The intention of this company was to utilise this aircraft in the carriage of prawns between Daru and Cairns. The Department of Supply did not accept the tender, as the company was not able to meet any of the criteria of the conditions of sale under which this aircraft was being sold.
After further discussions the Department of Supply was persuaded to reluctantly sell the aircraft to the next highest tender of $8,555 which was offered by K Singh. Resold to Helicopter Utilities P/L of Mascot and registered to the company on 20/7/1972. Resold to Airfast Helicopter Utilities P/L and registered to the company on 17/10/1972.
This legal haggling continued until purchased by Connair P/L on 30/7/1974 and registered to the company on 1/8/1974. Later saw service with Northern Airlines (Operations)Ltd, which was the name of the newly formed company when East-West Airlines took over Connair and registered to the company on 18/6/1980. In June 1980 withdrawn from service and placed in storage at Alice Springs pending its sale to Setair P/L and registered to the company on 5/2/1981.
Sold to Rebel Air P/L, which was based at Sydney and registered to the company on 11/8/1983. Whilst in service with company used for charter flights. Sold to Wan-See Co P/L trading as Rebel Air and registered to the company on 1/2/1984. On 3/2/1984 it was struck off the civil register whilst it underwent a major inspection of the airframe. Reinstated to the civil register on 24/2/1984 to the company.
Sold to D Johnstone of Colbinra Transport P/L trading as Komeela Aviation, which was based at Maitland in the Hunter Valley and registered to the company on 8/12/1988. Komeela is an aboriginal word, which denotes the act of flying. Whilst with the company it would provide tourist flights, group, business and VIP charters, freight services as well as search and rescue flights.
Sold to South Pacific Airmotive in May 1994 and registered to the company on 10/6/1994. Delivered to the company during September 1994. Whilst in service with company aircraft was operated as a freighter. Sold to Dakota National Air (Australia) P/L of Bankstown and registered to the company on 1/5/1998.
During the final days of February 2004 the Administrators Hall Chadwick, which was based in Sydney advertised Dakota National Air trading as Discovery Air Tours for urgent sale or an investment opportunity in the nation's media. Still in service with the company in August 2005.
© Gil White (2006)
To my page Australia 2005
"It has been a great pleasure to have known you all, but my days are now numbered." -24Jun06.
Gil White passed away on 27Jun06. He will be remembered by me as a enthusiastic (Ansett) historian and a courageous person; may he rest in peace.