Douglas C-47A Dakota

Douglas C-47A Dakota
Land Based Navigational Trainer and Transport Aircraft
Douglas Aircraft Corporation, Long Beach, USA
Number Ordered
First Delivered
1 December 1949
Last Delivered
23 February 1968
64 feet 5 inches
16 feet 11 inches
Weights 18,190
Dimensions Wing span: 95 feet 0 inches
Speed 229 mph
1500 miles
Engines Two 1200 bhp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-92 fourteen cylinder radial
  • Initial rate of climb: 1160 ft/min
  • Ceiling: 24,000 feet
Operated by
RAAF as WW2 transport, RAN as navigational trainer at Naval Air Station Nowra

Four ex-RAAF DC-3 Dakota (C-47A) were operated by the RAN over the period 1949 to 1977. Two aircraft were obtained in 1949-50 and were converted into ‘flying classrooms’ for Firefly AS6 observers. Four stations for navigation and four stations for anti-submarine detection were installed in the aircraft. Other modifications included installing sonar buoy racks under the wings and a half door allowing for the use of a hand held camera.

After the Sea Venom and Gannet aircraft were introduced into service the DC-3s were equipped with a Gannet retractable radar scanner unit for observer training. A Sea Venom radar scanner was installed in one of the Dakotas as well.

Another two Dakotas were acquired in 1968 for use as navigational training aircraft and operated by VC 851 Squadron. Two of the Dakotas were sold in 1974-77 while the others were retained by the RAN as Museum exhibits.

Left:  A DC-3 modified for navigational training. Right: Three RAN DC-3 fly in formation over Nowra in the late 1960s.