The good news from The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Albion Park NSW is that one of their two Douglas C-47B-30-DK Dakota aircraft, Ex RAAF A65-95, Civil Registration VH-EAE is being refurbished to its RAAF World War II colors and configuration. At the time of our visit in July 2015 the C-47 was being prepared for her coat of ‘Olive Drab Green’ paint and some had even been applied to the rear fuselage.
The aircraft was built as C-47B-30-DK 33096 44-76764 in 1944 Oklahoma City USA and delivered to the RAAF on 02/05/45 to 3 Air Depot and served with various RAAF units including 38, 36 and then 34 Squadrons. It served with the RAAF in New Guinea and the South West Pacific theatre during WW11 and post War the Dakota flew with 81 Sqn and ARDU before being disposed of by Auction in 2000 and purchased with her sister ship A65-94 #76774 by HARS. Both C47s remain airworthy and display frequently across the country.
Many Warbird enthusiasts will be excited that this long serving RAAF aircraft (55 years!) will now be resplendent in her WWII war paint.
The Australian War Memorial C47 A65-71 VH-CIN C-47B-20-DK 27131 43-49870, also displayed for a number of years in her “Biscuit Bomber” color scheme and was sadly retired to storage at the AWM in 1997 (where she remains) so it will be a real treat for all of us to see this grand old lady of the RAAF resplendent in her fighting colors again.
HARS other Douglas C47 A65-94 VHRFK, VMJMN,C-47B-30-DK 33106 44-76774 will remain in her silver ARDU scheme for the time being at least, contrasting well with A65-95 being the earliest and last RAAF C47 schemes.
It was standard practice for C47s of the RAAF to carry their civil codes and as such A65-95 will have the war-time registration of VH-RFL displayed on her tail together with her RAAF code.
Well done HARS on another great restoration to get this magnificent Dakota back in her war paint and in the public eye again.
Warbirds Online thanks HARS for their time and effort in facilitating our visit.
© John Parker 2015