The winner! ‘Every picture tells a story’ This is certainly true for this photo: it depicts DC-3 NC24320 against a background of fireworks, which nails the theme of this contest, celebrating 86 years of DC-3! David Brown won the first prize with his photo that he took during the EAA Air Venture at Oshkosh in 2019. The Dak was delivered to the USAAF as 43-15731 in 1944. It went to Johnson Flying Service as NC24320 in 1946, registered as N24320 after 1948. It force landed on ice on the Momongahela River (PA) in 1954 and sank with nine fatalities. It was then salvaged and repaired and used by other operators. To the Museum of Mountain Flying, Missoula, MT in 2001 and painted in its original Johnson Flying Service colours.

Some people just run into a DC-3 while others go to a lot of trouble to meet one. In 2011 Andreas Ehrhardt had read somewhere that there was still an operational DC-3 on the island of Tonga. So, during a vacation in Australia, Andreas decided to divert to the island. There he was able to fly the A3-AWP owned by New Zealand’ company Chathams Pacific. He even stood in the cockpit door during the flight. The company also owned Convair CV-580 ZK-CIF. It ceased operations in 2013.  With his photo of A3-AWP, Andreas Ehrhardt has earned the second place in the contest and a 1-year subscription to Scramble online!

That you do not have to travel far to get a decent DC-3 shot was proven by Bas Jansen. He has earned the third prize in the contest. We publish one of the two photos that he sent us of C-47A N473DC during the practice runs for the Wings of Freedom Airshow in Ede (the Netherlands) on 23 August 2019. Most people will recognize N473DC by its name: ‘Drag-‘em-Oot’.  The aircraft is a WW II veteran that was part of Operation Market Garden in September 1944. Although owned by Leeds businessman Paddy Green and based at East Kirkby, it is often flown by Dutch pilots Chris Goezinne and Edwin Boshoff.

But we surely will not stop at only three photos. Seeing the amount of DC-3 family photos that we received, it is obvious that most of our users like the Dakota as much as we do! We not only received photos of civilian DC-3s, there were also some (at that time) operational military C-47s: here is number1:

In August 2001, Hellenic Air Force C-47B KK156, underwent an IRAN inspection at HAF KEA Hellinikon Maintenance facilities in Athens, Greece. Themis Vranas captured KK156 as the last active ex-RAF Dakota of the Hellenic Air Force. It had its final flight at 27 October 2005, flying from Thessaloniki to HAI, Tanagra, for an IRAN inspection which, unfortunately, never started... It was officially struck off charge on 22 February 2011.

Air Atlantique Dakota G-AMCA is captured here while refueling at Godthåb/Nuuk, Greenland on 30 August 1987 whilst en-route from Coventry to Greybull, Wyoming for the installation of pollution dispersant spray gear. The picture was taken by one of the crew members, loadmaster Simon Brooke of Dunfermline, Scotland.

 Super DC-3 N27TN was originally laid down as a ‘plain’ TC-47B with USAAF serial 44-77035. It was later rebuilt as a Super DC-3: US Navy R4D-8Z (became TC-117D) with BuNo99857. It eventually ended up as a source of spare parts at TransNorthern Aviation. The name on the nose: ‘Phlucked Phrom Phlorida’ is an indication where it came from. John Dyer made a photo of this single engine Super Dak at Wasilla in Alaska in July 2011.

 Through the years many DC-3s found their way to Canada. On one of the three photos supplied by Graham Dinsdale Air North DC-3C C-FGHL is captured. He made this colourful shot at Whitehorse International Airport, Canada on 25 Jul 1996. Built for the USAAF with serial 42-92651, this C-47 was delivered to the RAF as KG440 in February 1944. Returned to the US Air Force in July 1946, the transport became CF-GHL the same month. Registered to Ontario Central Airlines in 1974, it carried through name changes and a merger until it was sold to Air North as C-FGHL in 1993 before returning to the USA in 1998 as N54AA. Sadly, the aircraft crashed while operating a freight flight for Caribbean Air on July 20, 2000. After losing an engine after take-off at Nassau, Bahamas, it failed to maintain altitude and crashed in a pine forest trying to return to the airport.

The most modernized and updated DC-3 in the contest is Basler BT-67 N707BA owned by the US Department of State. The plane was built as a USAAF C-47 with serial 44-76714, and diverted to the RAF as KN511. Then to the RCAF as a CC-129. After its service career had ended, registered as C-GWUH flying for a series of airlines, the last one being Trans North Turbo Airlines. Then to the USA as N707BA. In 2006 converted to BT-67 Turbo Dakota by Basler Turbo Conversions, Oshkosh. N707BA can be seen here while operational at Kandahar airbase (Afghanistan) Photo by ‘Aircraft throughout the years’

The best story behind a DC-3 story comes from Stan ‘Sundance’ Kasprzyk, a former 32TFS Soesterberg F-15 pilot. The Dakota on his photo is DC-3A N17890 which was originally built as a C-53 Skytrooper with serial 42-15568 for the USAAF. After de-militarization it was sold to United Airlines, the first of a long list of civilian users. Stan met N17890 for the first time at Elsinore (CA) where he spent a few hours in the cockpit during parachute operations. He recalls: “The first thing I noticed was the roll rate. I had just spent the last two weeks getting familiar with the T-38's roll rate, at a theoretical maximum of 720 degrees per second. The slow, ponderous roll characteristics of the DC-3 felt like 720 degrees per week, in comparison. However, as I got more familiar, she felt like a very stable airplane that just needed her own coaxing into a maneuver. I'm very proud to have had the opportunity to fly her, if only for a short while, and experience the wonder of the DC-3."

Taking a night shot of your favorite airplane may even be more challenging. Laurent G. did a perfect job in his picture of Dakota F-AZTE taken at Le Bourget Airport in January 2008. In those days ‘TE’ was painted in French military livery as ‘141406’ to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Transport Aérien Militaire of the French Armée de l’Air. “I send you one of my favorite picture of a DC3 F-AZTE and hope you will like it !” the photographer wrote. And we certainly do, Laurent!

This photo of RAAF Douglas C-47B Dakota A65-91 navigation trainer of the Central Flying School was taken by Kelvin Curnow at RAAF base East Sale in 1976. It was delivered to the USAAF as 44-76552 but soon passed on to Australia. It served until 1987 when it was sold to Rebel Air of Koomela and registered as VH-TMQ. The good news is that the machine is still airworthy, flying for Air Logistics out of Melbourne-Essendon.

C-GPNR is another DC-3 that found its way to Canada. The aircraft is a part of the large Buffalo Airways fleet, which is active in cargo flying and firefighting. The aircraft, nicknamed ‘Summer Wages’  was pictured by Jan Zocher at Hay River airport on 26 May 2014. Originally delivered to the USAAF as 42-93423, it was transferred to the RAF as KG602 in 1944. It later went to the RCAF as a Dakota 3N in 1946. Reserialled as 12932 in 1970. Sold as C-GPNR in 1975 and to Buffalo Airways in 1980.

Stewart Goldsmith had his camera ready when a number of parajumpers were ready to embark C-47 N150D at Duxford airfield (UK) on the 5 June 2019. Converting it to black&white gives an special historic effect. The aircraft is painted as C-47 43-15087 of 95 Troop Carrier Squadron / 440 Troop Carrier Group. This Skytrain with code 9X-P participated in the first wave to Normandy of the 101st Airborne Division. Its paratroopers were dropped in the Carentan area on the 6th of June 1944. In fact N150D is ex USAAF 41-18401, French AF 118401 and Israeli AF 032/4X-FNX.

Wear and tear can be seen on this C-47A owned by the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force). The old workhorse is 6035/2-035 which started its career in the USAAF as 42-24270. It was photographed in Diyarbakir by Daan van Laatzen in 1991.

Joan Martorell sent us a photo taken at Palma airport in June 1988 showing the ramp of Aeromarket (a small cargo airline) and three of its Daks, EC-EJB, EC-FIN and EC-FNS. Aeromarket only existed for five years and merged into a larger cargo company in 1989. Nowadays EC-EJB is preserved at Son Bonet (LESB) airport wearing a military olive green livery.

This true atmospheric shot was made by Hendrik Cazemier at Exeter (UK) on 26 July 1982. Like many of the older generation Hendrik started the hobby with black&white photography as colourslides were rather expensive. DC-3 G-AMPY in the background was flown by Air Atlantique for many, many years. As part of Air Atlantique's Classic Flight, this Dakota was repainted in its original RAF colours and flew as 'KK116' The company eventually succumbed and the fleet was offered for sale. The good news is that G-AMPY is still alive and kicking! It has been bought by Mr. Terry Beezhold in the USA and will be kept airworthy! He plans to fly this Dak in the Dakota Airlift Foundation in support ofvolunteer humanitarian relief missions. It is currently still at Coventry (UK), waiting for favourable weather to allow a safe crossing of the Atlantic.

Thomas Delvoye went to Duxford during Flying Legends 2016 and made this picture of Dakota Norway owned C-53 LN- WND. The Norwegians are famous because of their spirited display with this Skytrooper. It was built as C-53D with serial 42-68823 for the USAAF in June 1943. Assigned to the 8th US Air Force in Europe and post-war sold to Finnair as OH-LCG. It was sold to the Finnish AF in June of 1969 and registered DO-9. In May 1985, the plane was registered N59NA to Northern Airways, South Burlington (VT) and over the next few years changed hands a few more times before being transferred to Norway as LN-WND. On 11 May 2012 this aircraft was painted in its current mixed RAF/Norwegian AF 20 Squadron markings.

Peter van Oostrum visited Mexico City in April 1982 (and even sent a report to Scramble!) He took this photograph of Mexican Air Force C-47 TED6037. He wrote that it was the first military C-47 that he nailed on Kodachrome film! Lucky man… According to the Scramble database Peter was the last person to report the existence of TED6037 during this visit in April 1982. It is not known what has happened with this airframe since then.

N103NA is a DC-3 based at Flabob Airport in Riverside (CA), hence the titles. It is one of the Dakotas that crossed the Pond in 2019, to participate in the Commemorations of 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. It was captured by Bruno Delliere during a landing at Caen-Carpiquet airport. The Dak has a history of USAAF 42-23669, then to the RAF as FD879. Since its demilitarization it has flown as N2701A, N42F, CF-IKD and lastly N103NA.  

Dakota PH-DDZ was built as USAF 43-15288 and delivered in March 1944. Since 1962 it flew for the FAA, Somali Airlines and Pyramid Airlines. It was acquired by the Dutch Dakota Association from Pyramid in 1987 and registered as PH-DDZ. It was fully restored to factory fresh condition by the DDA making its first flight thereafter in retro Martinair colours on 7 May 1999. The aircraft, named ‘Doornroosje’ (Dutch for ‘Sleeping Beauty’) was grounded after engine troubles in October 2012. As funding for engine repair could not be found, the machine was sold to the Aviodrome museum at Lelystad Airport four years later. It is seen here in better (i.e. airworthy) times at Lelystad on this photo by Jos Bruinsma (mind the non-painted rudder!)

Last but definitely not least is this photo of another DDA Dakota, the PH-PBA. It was framed by Richard Baas at NAS De Kooy (the Netherlands) during the Heldair Airshow 2012. In those days KLM was still a major sponsor of the Dutch Dakota Association, hence the aircraft’s retro KLM colours. It was baptized ‘Princess Amalia’ after the Dutch crown princess. Nowadays PH-PBA is back in its original colours of the Dutch ‘Royal’ Dakota as was flown by Amalia’s great-grandfather Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. ‘Double Royal’ so to say!  

Scramble likes to thank all the photographers who sent us their DC-3 photos! And remember the saying: 'the best replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3' !

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