On our Facebook page, we've been following the progress of the dismantling and subsequent transport of a classic old aircraft in the form Douglas C-47A (DC-3) Dakota 43-48234 "Oklahoma Girl", which has recently been purchased by David Kingshott at Complete Aircraft Care in Caboolture near Brisbane. The aircraft had for some time been on open display at North Queensland Warbirds (Warbird Adventures) at Mareeba Aerodrome and will be restored to its former glory at Caboolture.
Last week, the C-47A was dismantled and loaded onto on a truck - its wings and tail on another - with transport from Mareeba on its journey South this week to its new temporary home at Caboolture Aerodrome where the aircraft will be exhibited at the Caboolture Warplane and Flight Heritage Museum throughout its restoration.
A third truck joined to convoy carrying the cockpit section of another DC-3 which is all that remains of the old Bush Pilots Australia-coloured DC-3 "VH-BPA" that had been put on a pole at Cairns Airport. The rest of the aircraft unfortunately was scraped as it was believed to be structurally unsound at the time.
The convoy of trucks travelled from Mareeba to Caboolture via Townsville, Charters Towers, Emerald, Rockhampton and South along the Bruce Highway to Caboolture where it was planned to arrive early on Wednesday 17 December.
Late on Monday 15 December, it was photographed shortly after arriving near Emerald.
On Tuesday 16 November, local plane spotter Kayanne H captured some more photos and a quick video as the convoy had a rest just outside Rockhampton.
The history of C-47A-30-DK Dakota Serial Number 43-48234 reveals the aircraft was built by Douglas during 1944 at Oklahoma City, and assigned the constructors Number 14050 / 25495. It was delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) with serial number 43-48234 and sssigned to the U. S. Transport Command, seeing operations in the Pacific.
After being stricken from charge in Manila, it was sold to Australia and in March 1947, it was registered as VH-DMV to the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). Next, in February 1951 it was registered as VH-CAO and operated for the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) by Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) until the early 1960s. In March 1962 it was sold to Brain & Brown Air Freighters Pty Ltd in Melbourne and registered as VH-BAB and converted to a aerial freighter. By November 1976 the C-47A was owned by Air Express Holdings Pty Ltd and used was until 1979 when its registration was cancelled.
After a period of being on display and being under restoration - including re-painting into the markings of C-47A "Jungle Skippers" 43-48234 code X6A - it was transported to Air World at Wangaratta Airfield and restored to flying condition. It then was further re-painted in the markings of C-47 "Oklahoma Gal" code X16A and was displayed until the museum closed in January 2002 and was by then no longer in flyable condition.
The Dakota was then sold at auction to owners in New Zealand but was never delivered and instead, was sold to North Queensland Warbirds (Warbird Adventures) where it arrived at Mareeba Aerodrome in January 2005.
Certainly a great old bird!
Photos taken by Kayanne Hardsman and from Caboolture Warplane & Flight Heritage Museum Facebook page ©