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World War Two: Douglas DC-3 / C-47

The DC-3 (a.k.a. C-47) is one of history's most enduring utilitarian aircraft. Dating back to the mid-1930's the 'Dak' has proved itself to be robust and reliable. So much so that thousands were produced during the Second World War to serve as transport aircraft. Few would have believed that many of those aircraft would still be in active service nearly 70 years later.


DC3The RNZAF operated 49 of these trusty aircraft between 1943 to 1977. During the Second World War these aircraft were intended to fill the air transport role, servicing the other RNZAF units based in the Pacific. The aircraft was operated by Nos 40 and 41 Squadrons, along with No. 1 (Transport) OTU (Operational Training Unit).

After the war No 41 Squadron operated a courier service for some time, and later was transfered to Malaya in 1950 for use in anti-terrorist operations. No 40 Squadron was used for domestic air services up until 1947 when the squadron was disbanded. Many of the squadron's aircraft and crews went on to work for the newly formed National Airways Corporation (NAC).

DC-3The new (2007) colour scheme of the aircraft seen in the photos on this page is that of NZ3546 of No. 42 Squadron RNZAF. This scheme was worn by the polished metal non "VIP" aircraft at the time of their retirement from RNZAF service in 1977.

NZ3546 was chosen in particular as that was the squadron's "shuttle" aircraft which had 28 seats and was used predominantly to transport personnel up & down the country twice weekly on Mondays & Fridays.


Another airshow display.


Several aircraft displaying at an airshow in the 1990's, where the DC-3 displayed in its earlier WW2 camoflague colour scheme.


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