The vintage aircraft, Dakota DC-3 of the 1940s will be inducted to the Vintage Aircraft Flight of the Indian Air Force shortly. The aircraft was obtained from scrap in 2011 and was restored to flying condition in the United Kingdom. The initiative was personally taken up by Rajeev Chandrashekar, Rajya Sabha MP, as he wished to gift it to the Indian Air Force. The aircraft was successfully tested for all its flying credibilities and was commenced to its homebound journey on 17th April. The Indian Air Force has signed a contract with Reflight Airworks Limited for upgrading its navigational systems as well. As of now, the aircraft has been ceremonially accepted into the Indian Air Force by Air Marshal BS Dhanoa, Chief of Air Staff since13th February.
It is currently being flown to India by a joint team of the Indian Air Force and crew from Reflight Airworks Ltd London. En route India, the vintage aircraft’s ferry halted at France, Italy, Greece, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. The aircraft also flew its longest leg of 1598.47 km from Aqaba, the Royal Jordanian Air Base to Bahrain International Airport. It also successfully carried out its first ever night landing. The Dakota DC-3 will be complete its last leg of the journey by flying from Muscat in Oman to reach Jamnagar today.
The Indian Air Force had a large fleet of Dakota DC-3 aircraft being served in it. Experts suggest that it was one of the most versatile transport aircraft of that time. The Dakota DC-3 also played a major role in transporting troops of the 1st Sikh Regiment to Srinagar during the war with Pakistan in 1947. A statement from the Ministry of Defence said that in order to honour the role of the Dakota aircraft, it would be allocating a registration number to the aircraft that is being flown in. The Dakota DC-3 aircraft that is homebound was built in 1944 and has served in the Royal Air Force, United Kingdom and has also been operated by several other civil airlines.
The induction ceremony of Dakota VP-905 is scheduled on 4th May at the Air Force station at Hindan. Representatives from the OEM, dignitaries from High Commission of the United Kingdom and veterans from the Indian Air Force will attend the ceremony to the honour the aircraft’s induction into the Indian Air Force. A statement from the Defence Ministry said that the flying of a vintage aircraft from across the world to induct into the Indian Air Force was an unprecedented event in the history of the Indian Air Force. The current vintage fleet boasts of having Howard and Tiger moth aircraft.