Development of the Douglas DC-3 started in early 1935 with the prototype flying by the end of the year. The first production aircraft was delivered to American Airlines in July 1936 and soon orders were pouring in from US and overseas airlines. The US Air Corps became interested in the DC-3 and ordered a military version, called the C-47 or Dakota. It had many capabilities, including dropping paratroops and supplies, evacuating the wounded, troop transportation and glider towing. Eventually, about 10,000 C-47s were built for the US military.
During WW II, the Royal Air Force received about 1,930 Dakotas and they became the RAF’s main wartime transport aircraft. The RCAF took delivery of its first Dakota in March 1943, and at its peak had 169 on strength. Within Canada, they were operated by four transport squadrons and several ferry squadrons.
Overseas, Dakotas equipped RCAF No. 437 Squadron in Europe and RCAF No. 435 and 436 Squadrons in South East Asia. No. 437 Squadron was formed in England September 1944, where it supported the British and Canadian Armies fighting in Europe. Its most important actions involved glider towing for the airborne landings at Arnhem and the Rhine crossing at Wesel. No. 435 and 436 Squadrons were formed in India in October 1944. They flew Dakotas in support of the British 14th Army in Burma where they dropped supplies to the British troops fighting the Japanese in the jungle.
At the end of WW II, all three squadrons were transferred back to England to provide air transport for the Canadian occupation forces in Germany. Dakotas continued in service with the Canadian Armed Forces until 1989, when No. 402 Squadron, based in Winnipeg, retired the last of them. Of the nearly 13,000 DC-3s built, many are still in service today, over 75 years after the aircraft’s first flight.
The Museum's Dakota was built for the USAAF and was delivered to the Royal Air Force in February 1944 as FZ692 and the Royal Canadian Air Force (437 Squadron) in September 1944. It was later renumbered as 12945 as part of the Canadian Armed Forces where it served with No. 424 Squadron at CFB Trenton. It performed JATO ignition in flight at the 1970 Canadian National Exhibition Air Show on the Toronto waterfront.
|STATUS: On display
AIRWORTHINESS: Airworthy (flown regularly)
CONSTRUCTION NUMBER: 12295
CIVIL REGISTRATION: C-GRSB
CURRENT MARKINGS: Environmental Emergencies
LENGTH: 64 ft 5 in
WINGSPAN: 51 ft 6 in
POWER: 1,200 hp each
ENGINE: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830
MAXIMUM SPEED: 229 mph
CRUISING SPEED: 160 mph
SERVICE CEILING: 23,000 ft
RANGE: 1,600 miles