The Air Force Museum at Swartkop will be sending its C-47 Dakota down to Cape Town to participate in the bi-annual AAD expo and airshow hosted at AFB Ysterplaat from the 20th to the 25th of September 2010. The well known camouflaged aircraft will be departing Swartkop airfield on Wednesday morning for its flight down to the Cape.

The participation of this aircraft is significant in that the prototype of the DC-3 Dakota first flew on the 17th of December 1935, 75 years ago.

The Air Force Museum’s aircraft (6859) was manufactured in 1943 and delivered to the SAAF the following year for service in Italy during the Second World War. It served with the SAAF for the next fifty years in virtually every squadron that operated Dakotas, before it was delivered to the Air Force Museum in 1994. Another aircraft (6832), better known as the Coelacanth Dak is currently being restored at Ysterplaat to flying condition. These two aircraft will then be the only remaining original piston engined Dakotas in SAAF colours for museum use. 35 Squadron does continue to operate a small number of the turbo-prop variants, better known as the TP Dak, but that is just not the same! Bon voyage to the crew of 59!

Capt Leon Steyn Historian SAAF Museum