Work continues on the airworthy restoration of a genuine WWII veteran, Douglas Dakota USAAF C-47A 14050/25495. The aircraft was acquired by Pacific Dakota Restorations, a Not For Profit organization founded by Dave Kingshott and arrived at Caboolture Queensland after a ‘monster move’ from Mareeba, northern Qld in December 2014.
Since the aircraft arrived it has undergone an extensive survey of its structural integrity and general condition and was found to be in remarkably good condition, with very little damage or corrosion evident. The wings have had the access panels removed and the internal condition is also very good with no sign of any serious issues.
Readers will be aware of this Warbird restoration project from our previous news article last year.
Since December 2014, the engines have been examined and serviced such that they were able to be started and are running in very sound order. The engines are however, not able to be used in an airworthy aircraft and so one of the large and more expensive tasks in the whole restoration is the replacement or overhaul of these power units. The engines have surprised everyone, as they seem to run smoothly and are not burning excessive oil despite not having been run for many years previously.
Dave Kingshott and the team restoring the aircraft have hit upon a novel way of raising funds for the restoration and generating interest in the aircraft by running the engines for interested parties of enthusiasts and at various functions held at the Caboolture Airport. These events always attract a great deal of interest as these days the sight and sound of a C-47 running up its engines is a rare sight.
Now that the assessment of the general condition of the aircraft has reassured the team that they have a basically sound aircraft, the plan for its restoration to fly again is firming up. Early next year work will commence in earnest to rebuild the airframe which will require the aircraft fuselage, including the tail assembly, to be broken down into major sub-assemblies for cleaning, restoration and rectification of any faults or damage found. The wings similarly, will be fully cleaned, restored and repainted.
The restoration will also naturally include removal, repair and refurbishment of the hydraulic and electrical systems, as well as the flight controls and all other components. Douglas Dakota 14050/25495 will be restored as closely as possible to its original configuration and fit out. The internal condition is already pretty rudimentary, as typical of the type in service in WWII, but any missing equipment will be sourced and installed, as well as original stenciling and placards. Naturally, the interior of the aircraft will have all paintwork removed and refinished in its accurate color.
Fortunately, the color scheme of the aircraft and correct marking style is known, so external refurbishment will not present any major issues. What is more problematic are the exact codes and details particular to 14050/25495, including any artwork it may have worn.
Extensive enquiries have failed to shed much light on the aircrafts exact war history beyond that contained in our previous new item. A poor quality photo or two have surfaced and some leads on information, but nothing substantial related to this aircraft. If any readers can provide any details or information on this aircraft they would be warmly invited to get in touch with us at Warbirds Online or direct to Dave Kingshott at Pacific Dakota Restorations +61 0448 013 659 or contact Dave via email.
Whilst activity has progressed on Douglas Dakota 14050/25495, a C-47 nose was also acquired from the same source at Mareeba Qld and was transported at the same time. This aircraft was C/N 12187 and served with the RAF, military serial 42-92392 FZ631 and then was a famous civil aircraft registered in Australia as “VH-BPA”, VH-EAN, VH-EBF, VH-EBU, VH-SBD, and in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as P2-SBD and P2-ANO. This nose has now started preservation and is undergoing conversion to a C-47 Flight Simulator. Work has included repainting it as “Freedom”**** with the new paint being a very exciting preview of that to be presented on Douglas Dakota 14050/25495.
Warbirds Online extends our thanks to Dave Kingshott and the team at Pacific Dakota Restorations for allowing us to cover this great Warbird restoration project and we will continue to monitor progress over the coming months.
© John Parker 2015