Now in the process of being phased out from New Zealand military service, the Douglas C-47 Dakota is one of the last two relics of the Second World War to have continued in service with the RNZAF into the 1970's. With
34 years of continuous service to boast of (second only to the Harvard's 36 years), the Dakota goes into honourable retirement as the aeroplane that started off New Zealand's now-extensive military and civil air transport systems.
Wherein a former Dakota pilot renews his aquaintance with the grand old lady of the sky and onders how on earth they ever managed
THE forthcoming disposal of the RNZAF's last remaining elderly Harvards, Dakotas and Bristol Freighters is an event that has excited the interest of aviation people throughout the world.
Talk of keeping Harvards flying or a Dakota or Freighter in a museum has become legion over the past few months. The Government Stores Board reports it has had close on 800 inquiries from throughout the world for the soon-to-be retired aircraft.
The disposal of the 40-odd aircraft will be the largest such sale in New Zealand for some time, paralleled only by the sale of surplus Mosquitoes, Harvards and Mustangs during the early and mid-1950s.
While it is reasonable to suggest that the bulk of the current saleable aircraft may be kept in airworthy condition, such was not the case for the large numbers of DH98 Mosquito fighter-bombers sold from Woodbourne between 1953 and 1956, as illustrated in the accompanying photographs supplied by reader Mr Cliff Horrell of Ashburton.