Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Corporation at Oklahoma City in Oklahoma and rolled off the production line on 6/11/1943. Aircraft was designated as a C-47A-1-DK. During the war years allocated the U.S serial number 42-92274. On 7/1/1944 acquired by the Royal Australian Air Force under the terms of the Lend-Lease agreement and given the Australian serial number A65-29 seeing war service with No's 34 and 35 Squadrons using the radio callsign VHCTZ. Struck off charge on 23/8/1946.
Sold to Trans Australia Airlines on 9/9/1946 and registered VH-TAE. Whilst in service with company aircraft was named 'Gregory'. On 4/3/1955 aircraft noted as being flown by Captain J Oglesby (Australian National Airways.) with First Officer R Hislop (Trans Australia Airlines) on a Melbourne - Hobart - Melbourne flight and operated as a freight flight.
From 3/3/1960 until 8/12/1960 leased to New Zealand National Airlines Corporation. Returned to Trans Australia Airlines after conclusion of the lease and reregistered VH-SBL on 8/12/1960. Resumed the name of 'Gregory' until it was later renamed 'Mt Hagen' in August 1964.
On 1/11/1973 purchased by Air Niugini, which was based at Port Moresby in New Guinea and reregistered P2-SBL on 1/6/1974 and later, reregistered P2-ANR on 18/11/1975. When purchased by Forrester Stephen P/L, which was based at Essendon and traded as Forrestair P/L, it returned to its former Australian registration of VH-SBL on 28/10/1976. Whilst with Forrestair this aircraft was used for hauling freight around the countryside.
On 14/11/1978 it was struck off the civil registered as it had been reported as being withdrawn from service. Parked in storage at Essendon until November 1980 when purchased by Cranways P/L trading as General Cargo Airways, which was based at Launceston and registered to the company on 24/2/1981. Sold to Setair P/L, which was based at Essendon and registered to the company on 18/10/1982.
Resold to G W A Gold Wings Australia P/L trading as Gold Wings Air Cargo and registered to the company on 28/7/1983. The company operated the aircraft for a few months and once again it was parked in storage at Essendon. On 24/2/1984 it was struck off the civil register as it had been reported as being withdrawn from service.
During November 1985 purchased by Aero Yandee P/L of Toodyay and refurbished at Essendon prior to being ferried to Perth. Reinstated to the civil register on 9/10/1986 when it was registered to the company. Whilst in Western Australia it was used for joy flights and charter flights.
On 9/3/1988 purchased by Air Rambler (Australia) P/L for use by DC-3 Queensland which is the trading name of Rambler Coaches and registered to the company on 9/3/1988. Whilst in service with the company aircraft was used on tours that radiated out from Cairns as well as the occasional ad hoc charters. When DC-3 Queensland ceased trading this aircraft had flown 48080 hours.
Sold to P P Starr of North Gosford and registered to the owner on 30/7/1992. Sold to Dakota National Air (Australia) P/L, which was based at Bankstown and registered to the company on 6/4/1994. The company specialised in charter, scenic flights, winery tours and holiday packages. On 26/3/1997 whilst undergoing pilot endorsement the undercarriage collapsed at Camden Airport causing damage to the wingtip. The wingtip was replaced and aircraft was able to reenter service with the company.
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 company in 2004.
© Gil White
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.