17th December – An Iconic Date

It is well known by many that 118 years ago today powered flight was achieved for the first time by the Wright Brothers with their iconic Wright Flyer (pictured below at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC in 2019.

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Over time it seems that this date was also popular with aircraft designers for first flights with none more significant than the Douglas DC-3. There are perhaps few aeroplanes worthy of matching that same iconic date as the first flight but the DC-3/Dakota/C-47 is certainly one. This is an aircraft that first took to the skies on this day in 1935 – an incredible 86 years ago!

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The DC-3 has been one of the most iconic and well loved aeroplanes of all time and there are plenty still active today in commercial roles, either as turboprop conversions or in stock configuration as this design continues to prove its worth. The design is of course also hugely popular in the historic aviation scene and at airshows around the world. This was never more evident than in 2019 when we saw the wonderful D-Day anniversary gathering of the type which saw a large number of airframes descend on Duxford before making the channel crossing.

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Even more impressive was the sight of no less than seven examples of the type operating out of Old Warden during their June airshow. Walking around the paddock and being surrounded by Dakotas on a small grass airfield was truly special.

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With Aero Legends acquiring “Drag ’em ‘oot” and “Pegasus” over the last few years we have also been given the opportunity to enjoy these wonderful machines operating up close off small grass strips such as Headcorn and Cosby.

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This post was really designed to simply highlight this important anniversary and a great excuse to share a few recent memories of the wonderful Dakota. As 2022 draws closer I hope to return to some more of the deep dive series I have completed in years gone by. The Douglas DC-3/C-47 is certainly on the list for a more detailed series.

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