Warbirds Online was given the great honour and privilege of sitting in the cockpit and starting both engines of Douglas Dakota USAAF C-47A 14050/25495 under restoration at Caboolture by Pacific Dakota Restorations under the capable supervision of Dave Kingshott. It may sound an easy task, but there is some trepidation as nobody wants to “break something”. So it was with great excitement and a few nerves that we sat in the cockpit with Dave and went through the procedures in the manual (yes there is a neat little start up procedure manual) – ominously there are a series of red items marked “things not to do or if it goes bad” items. The engines were then hand pulled through 36 blades to lubricate and clear them with the ignition switched off naturally!
We progressed through the Magneto switches, throttles and mixture controls etc. and then it was time to actually start the old girl up. While holding and releasing a series of ignition and fuel switches the starboard engine was started first and soon settled down into a reassuring rhythm and was run up and down through the rev range up to 2000 revs and then down to around 800 RPM, this was followed by the port engine which also started successfully (although it was in need of a spark plug removal and clean which was performed the next day). It was a real thrill to sit in the right hand seat of the cockpit of this magnificent Pacific War Veteran in the week the type celebrated 80 years of service and this aircraft arrived at Caboolture Qld one year to the day to begin its pathway back to flight in a few years’ time.
This aircraft is very lucky to have survived WWII and subsequent adventures to now have a chance to fly again. The engine runs will be suspended after the New Year as the restoration of this classic begins in earnest and we urge all of our readers to assist Dave and the Pacific Dakota Restorations crew with this worthwhile project to fly and keep this aircraft in the air for another 80 years!
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. And if you can help in any way with this project, contact the team at Pacific Dakota Restorations +61 0448 013 659 or contact Dave Kingshott via email.
© John Parker 2016