Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Corporation at Oklahoma City in Oklahoma and rolled off the production line on 18/5/1945. Aircraft was designated as a C47B-35-DK. During the war years allocated the U.S. serial number 44-76968. On 29/5/1945 acquired by the Royal Australian Air Force under the terms of the Lend-Lease agreement and given the serial number A65-105 seeing war service with 37 Squadron which was based at Laverton, 86 Transport Wing and whilst in Malaya 34 and 38 Squadrons and 90 Transport Wing before being transferred to Aircraft Research and Development Unit.
Whilst in service with Royal Australian Air Force it operated under the radio callsigns of VHRFV and later VMLMH and flew throughout New Guinea, Dutch East Indies and the Philippine Islands during the closing days of World War II. Struck off charge on 17/12/1968.
Sold to the Department of Supply and registered VH-UPQ on 2/7/1969. Whilst in service with the department aircraft was based at Woomera for the rocket Range Support. On 17/8/1973 it was struck off the civil register as it had been reported as being withdrawn from service and placed in storage at Woomera pending sale its sale by tender.
Purchased by Connair P/L from Short Bros and reinstated to the civil register when it was registered to the company on 25/10/1974 returning to its former registration of VH-UPQ. Aircraft was ferried from Woomera to Alice Springs by Captain D Gillespie and First Officer 'Slim' Rosier.
Ownership of aircraft was transferred to Northern Airlines (Operations) Ltd, which was formed after East-West Airlines Ltd had purchased Connair P/L on 2/6/1980 and registered to the newly formed company on 18/6/1980. Its stay with the new owners Northern Airlines was shortlived as it was sold to Setair P/L, which was based at Essendon Airport and registered to the company on 31/12/1980. Ferried from Alice Springs to Essendon on the same day. Whilst in their service it was mainly operated as a freighter.
On 28/4/1983 this aircraft flew from Canberra to Essendon for their final service as they ceased trading due to financial difficulties. Sold to N McCowan of Runaway Bay and registered to the owner on 27/6/1982. Sold to K R N Lyons of Currumbin and registered to the owner on 9/7/1983. Resold to LIB 189 P/L that was based at Coolangatta Airport and registered to the company on 1/9/1983.
Purchased by Twinair, which was also based at Coolangatta and registered to the company on 6/2/1984. Whilst in service with the company aircraft was mainly flying passenger charter flights. On 16/3/1984 struck off the civil register as it had been reported as being withdrawn from service.
Reinstated to the civil register when it was purchased by Wan-See P/L trading as Rebel Air and registered to the company on 13/4/1984. During 1986 aircraft was based at Essendon Airport flying round trips to Hobart's Casino. At this stage in its career it was known as the 'Peacock' of the Rebel Air fleet due to its eye catching paint scheme and plus interior. Later given a new livery and was named 'Spirit of Melbourne' whilst being used in conjunction with the Melbourne Limited an express steam train and a paddle steamer based in Mildura.
Sold to Colbinra Transport P/L trading as Komeela Australia and registered to the company on 19/1/1989. Whilst with the new owner aircraft was reconfigured to carry passengers as well as freighter. Sold to Dakota National Air (Australia) P/L and registered to the company on 10/3/1994 and operated as a passenger aircraft for sightseeing tours and charter flights.
Aircraft has been reported as being not in an airworthy condition due to various parts having been removed such as the engine other bits and pieces.
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 registered to the company in August 2005.
© Gill 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.