Douglas C-47A Dakota

Douglas C-47A Dakota

Heritage Article  Click button for a full article on the RAN’s Douglas Dakotas, including a “History in Photos” section and full details of our airframes. 

Four RAAF Dakota aircraft were transferred to the RAN – one in 1949, one in 1950 and two in 1968.

The primary role for the Dakotas was aircrew training. Several aircraft were fitted out as flying classroom for air navigation training, with realistic day and night exercises carried out with the main cabin blacked-out. The duration of the Dakota meant lengthy trips to test pilot and navigator skills to the high standards expected of RAN aircrews. One Dakota also had nose mounted Sea Venom radar. Other Dakotas were used for communication and VIP work, also wide-area search and rescue work along the NSW South Coast. These search and rescue aircraft were fitted with bomb racks which enabled them to carry flares and a ‘G-Dropper’ with a large inflatable life raft.

In the 1970s, two of the aircraft were sold out of the Navy, one Dakota went to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra and one went to the RAN Historic Flight.

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft, California, USA
Type: land-based navigation trainer
Delivered: 4 aircraft, 1949-68 (all ex-RAAF)
Crew: three
Engines: two 1200 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1830-92 Wasp 14-cylinder radial air-cooled engines
Speed: 215 mph (max), 194 mph (cruising)
Range: approx 1500 miles
Withdrawn: 1974-77