View Full Version : My Favorite DC-3 / C-47 Story

18th Feb 2008, 15:14
I read this article about 30 years ago, but lost the magazine. It was in "Douglas Service," IIRC.

The young pilot was due for rotation after completing his tour flying the Hump. It was his last return flight to Burma, but there was no other pilot available, so he decided to fly it solo, he was so anxious to get home. Seeing on the manifest a load of cadavers, he was a bit put off, but not enough to cancel.

He had to walk past all the body bags to enter the cockpit. His preflight showed the breathing oxygen was depleted, but hey, he only had to go to 18,000+, so off he went into the darkness.

The hypoxia, and his guilt at going home a survivor, and not dead, combined in his mind with the cadavers moaning as they outgassed at altitude. His hallucinations of the cadavers coming into the cockpit to get him were overwhelming.

The ground crew in Burma had to pry his hands from the control wheel, the plane sitting on the runway after landing, engines running.

His return home was delayed by the six weeks inpatient psycho care.

He went on to a career flying for American Airlines.

Wish I could find a copy of that story.


18th Feb 2008, 16:19
Lends a whole new meaning to the phrase..."Dead Weight"
and the song..."Blowin' in the Wind"

I know...hat coat etc

18th Feb 2008, 17:23
Try to find a copy of DC-3 The Story Of The Dakota. - Carrol Glines & Wendell Mosely. First published in 1968 (sorry no ISBN No)

It's been a while since I read it, but I`m sure this story features in the book.

19th Feb 2008, 05:14
BUIA/BIA night newspaper flts LGW to Germany in the 60s. Great way to spend a night shift & get duty frees as well.

19th Feb 2008, 05:47
BUIA/BIA night newspaper flts LGW to Germany in the 60s

Used to do it in the BIA Handley Page Herald in the early 70s. I can still recall bitterly cold nights with the captain wrapping himself up in the cargo nets in the cabin for a snooze on the way back against the winds. There was a bit of creativity allowed for those flights and I used to wear my old man's roll neck diving sweaters + socks and then wear my flying boots on top of them. I remember the look on the flight planning official's face at Dusseldorf when he thought a U-boat officer had just walked in at 0400!

To prevent utter thread creep I can recall the BIA Dak chaps being even colder as it took them longer to get back!


19th Feb 2008, 08:05
I like the story about the Derby DC-3 that skidded on wet grass at Burnaston went across the A38 and stopped in the transport cafe car park. Apparently the passengers got out as normal some even went for a bacon sandwich

19th Feb 2008, 08:28
My father flew them in Burma in WW2 doing supply drops to the ground troops. No parachutes, they just got about 1 ton of rice into a much larger bag with lots of slack, overflew the drop zone, several lads at the back booted it out of the open door. Apparently it slowly went out, then there was a golden moment when it picked up its own momentum and out it went, which the loadmaster, eyeballing the drop zone, had down to perfection. No safety harnesses down the back apparently. "Just don't fall out son." Then round for another one.

The bags didn't usually burst on impact unless they hit a tree. What if it did burst though ? Hey ho, it's rice, it's going to be boiled anyway.

I've wondered about the effects on trim as it came out, on one side, then suddenly fell away.

I heard about it plenty as a kid. I've often felt I could still fly from Rangoon to Mandalay without charts, just from memories of tales of "following the river".

19th Feb 2008, 19:36
Small world WHBM. I had a very good friend who used to do the same thing as your dad in Burma during WW2. Don lied about his age and entered the RCAF at 17, so that made him about 19 at the time. :eek:

There is a wealth of stories about the DC-3 at DC-3.com (http://www.douglasdc3.com/), including this one (http://www.douglasdc3.com/lamb1/dc3lamb1.htm). Imagine doing something like that nowadays. :D

I knew Joe McElrea, and the Otter Jack mentions was CF-MEL. I had my first Otter ride in it in 1959.

One of our (Northern Wings) DC-3's had a janitrol heater with a fresh air/recirc function which you selected according to the OAT. At the time - late 1960's - I was flying the 185 on skis, but if times were slack I flew as third crew on the '3. I was in the cockpit one winter day, with the heater selector in recirc, when the Captain let loose a blast that got sucked into the heater system. I peered through the little one way mirror in the cockpit door and could see passengers were twisting around and giving each other strange looks. I mentioned this to the co-pilot, who reached into the right hand map pocket and produced a roll of toilet paper. "Here," he said, "roll this down the aisle and the first passenger to grab it the others will think he shat himself."

Oh well, I guess you had to be there. :O

20th Feb 2008, 23:38
Damn pigboat, that was one hell of a story! If you tried that to day the best thing that would happen to would be to be shot down, unless one is really into third world jails. :p

I loved the small amount of time I got in the DC-3, about 250 hours.

When we bought our DC-3 I made a deal with the boss that it would be a VMC use aircraft only. No IFR flying as the aircraft was equipped with Collins FD-102 (yes, FD-102) Flight Directors, which really didn't work very well. there was one vacuum powered gyro that was mounted right in front of the throttles. One Friday night we had a trip scheduled from Oklahoma City (OKC) to Dallas Love Field (DAL). The boss wanted to take some friends down to Dallas for dinner in the DC-3. As luck would have it it was very marginal VFR that night both in Dallas and Oklahoma City. If I remember correctly it was about a 1,000 feet overcast in OKC and around 2,000 feet overcast in Dallas and good visibility both places, with conditions to improve to clear later in the evening; tops were about 5,000 feet.

So what the heck I thought, we'll just climb on top, cruise down to Dallas, still be able to shoot a visual approach and it should be clear when we come back. I talked to the boss about it, he agreed (naturally, he wasn't a pilot and really wanted to use the DC-3), so we load up about 12 folks and off we went.

Well there was only one problem with my clever plan. I neglected to inform the DC-3 of these operational details. We roll down the runway, takeoff and I swear to God the second we enter the clouds my FD-102 fails, the number one comm fails a few seconds later and the right engine starts backfiring. We feather the right engine, declare an emergency, get radar vectors back around to the runway and land.

The boss takes his friends to dinner in Oklahoma City and we go to the bar. The next morning we go out to the airport to try to figure out what is wrong with the aircraft. We start the right engine, works fine, mag check fine, full power run fine. The FD-102 on the left side works fine, number one comm works fine. I say "Well this is El Toro Poo Poo let's go fly this sucker and see what happens." We takeoff, course the weather is clear now, and fly around for two hours, nada, nothing at all, everything works just fine.

We land and I call the boss, he asks what was wrong with the DC-3, I reply nothing now, everything works fine, couldn't find anything wrong. He pauses for a while and says well I guess she showed us, no more flying in clouds in her, next time we'll use the jet if there are clouds. I replied, "Yes Sir, I agree."

And people say aircraft are just machines with no personality. HA!

21st Feb 2008, 04:05
Yeah connie that was a great story, wasn't it? Joe McElrea once won a DC-3 in a poker game. He had it on long-term lease to Northern Wings and when he left the lease was terminated and he took it with him.

Years ago Pacific Western used the DC-3 on some of their scheds on the West Coast on Vancouver Island. The co-pilots were mostly old bushwackers off the singles who'd been there, done that and had the t-shirts. One day between Vancouver and Campbell River, the flight ran into some hefty ice on the let down. To add to the fun they lost an engine. The only approach in Campbell River was an ADF. They missed, and there was no question about going elsewhere because of the ice. On the missed approach, their good engine coughed a few times and the FSS operator asked them if they were aware their engine was backfiring. The copilot, one of the bushwackers, nonchalantly informed the FSS guy that "A farting horse is a working horse." They flew the airplane down to the ground on the second approach, and landed about halfway down the runway. Just before they went off the end the Captain deliberately groundlooped to avoid running into a ditch, and wiped the gear off the airplane. By the time they slid to a stop on the belly, the copilot had done the post crash check and was getting out of his seat to assist the stew to get the pax out. Almost as an afterthought, he looked at the Captain and said, "You know, we must really discuss those :mad: landings of yours!" :D:D

22nd Feb 2008, 08:11
A book I picked up from the back shelf in a US pilots shop some years ago is "The Golden Years of Flying" by Captain Tex Searle. Published 1998 (by the Captain himself) you can still find a couple of copies around on Amazon. Capt Tex was with Frontier Airlines in the US throughout their DC3 era, and the bulk of the book is all about fascinating happenings on the DC3 fleet as seen from the flight deck, starying a bit forward into 737s at retirement time and a bit back to B-29s in WW2 when starting out. Thoroughly recommended.

Among other stories is while in the cruise they told the stew on one flight that the empty sacks in the mail compartment (between pax cabin and flight deck on a DC3) actually contained a couple of snakes being taken to the zoo. Then they flipped the light in there out and said it must have burned out. FO went and hid by the mail in the dark, Capt pressed the stew call bell and she came forward very hesitantly through the darkness, FO reached out and grabbed her ankle .....

22nd Feb 2008, 11:00
Many thanks for the link, some fantastic stories there, now facing another weekend of reading internet pages. :ok:

22nd Feb 2008, 12:13
There was an excellent DC3 programme on TV a few years back. Various husky pilots saying "it's a real man's aircraft"

They then cut to some little South American girlie who was flying booze, whores and food into jungle airstrips for gold miners - in a DC3!

Still got a video of it somewhere

22nd Feb 2008, 16:13
Here is mine:

As a kid growing up in Kenya, and being plane-mad, we had a neighbour who was a Swede and a Captain on Dakotas with East African Airways.

The "big Swede" as he was known in our family, took me for a trip on the Dak. On the 4th sector, leaving Dodoma, in Tanzania, pulling the throttles back at the top of climb caused a loud and unpleasant banging. The left engine was pronounced "kaput" and we returned to land at Dodoma.

After consultation with the EAA engineers at Dar-es-Salaam, a Twin Otter load of engineers, tools and spares was despatched to Dodoma.

On arrival, a wizened old Scot pronounced the likely cause to be a broken con-rod. He removed the cowling, and then instructed Sven to get into the cockpit, start the engine, and run it at idle.

Standing underneath the running engine he listened to it's beat carefully, cocked his head one way, then another and finally signalled for the engine to be cut.

He then pointed to the offending cylinder, which was speedily removed to show, sure enough, the broken con-rod.

A glorious harmony of man and machine you could say. Still impresses me to think of it nearly 40 years later.


old,not bold
22nd Feb 2008, 17:42
Ah yes, DC3s, Gulf Aviation late 60's early 70's......

Alan Bodger, left hand seat, scheduled flight, taking off, cigar going, reminiscing about how he claimed the record on the Hump with 80 SOB in a Dakota....

The contract DC3 skipper we had occasionally, only type he'd ever flown in 35 years was the DC3, eyesight so bad he would aim off the the left when going to a desert strip and get the F/O to watch for the strip and call for a turn to the right when he saw it...then talk him down.

Starting an engine, right in front of the new glass-walled terminal at AUH, under the disbelieving gaze of the passengers, using a Landrover and length of rope when the starter motor failed; the prop hub, rather elongated like a protuberent nipple, was designed for this purpose, according to the engineer.......we believed it, anyway. It's funny how slowly passengers walk to get on board, sometimes. I imagine it's the same with people going to the scaffold.

Wondering, when I first joined, why the pilots put their macs on when boarding, if cloud was forecast on route.

It was decided to try out the notion of paying someone - called a "steward" - to ride in the back with the passengers, for no good reason that anyone could see. The waiters from the Gulf Hotel in Bahrain were press-ganged into this work on their days off, and given a rudimentary course (one afternoon) on what they had to do. So during a transit at DXB one over-eager, wooden-headed Captain gave the Steward a little test.
"Hassan, imagine we've just taken off. We've managed to get over the town here, and we've just crossed the coast. Suddenly it all goes quiet, and you hear me shout 'Prepare to Ditch'. What do you do?"
Hassan, anxious to please, scratches his head, can't find an answer.
Captain presses him "Come on, say something....just taken off, no engines, I say 'Prepare to Ditch'.
Hassan brightens up; "I know, yes, after take off, serve orange juice".

Same steward; same Captain. On route Al Ayn to DXB, a route much favoured by the local ladies who went shopping in DXB. Al Ayn was a tiny village then. Captain notices, in the cruise, that it suddenly got more draughty than usual. Calls the Steward, asks if anything unusual down the back. Hassan says no. Eventually F/O is dispatched to have a look round and finds the overwing emergency exit has been opened next to a lady passenger; you'll remember that they hinged outwards at the bottom, with a simple handle at the top. F/O decides not to try and get it back but asks Hassan if he knew about it. Hassan says "of course, I opened it; she asked me to as she was feeling hot".

DC3 at Al Ayn...somewhere around 1970..it's a turnround on the service from/to DBX..sorry about quality


The Flying Pram
22nd Feb 2008, 20:35
There was an excellent DC3 programme on TV a few years back. Various husky pilots saying "it's a real man's aircraft"

They then cut to some little South American girlie who was flying booze, whores and food into jungle airstrips for gold miners - in a DC3!

Still got a video of it somewhere

Sedberg - I've got this on video as well. It was on BBC2 and called "Perpetual Motion". Featured Freddie Laker amongst others.... I believe the female pilot subsequently died in a crash operating out of one of those jungle strips.

23rd Feb 2008, 01:36

I was probably the last one to fly this one before the picture was taken.
I flew it down from Alaska to Arlington September or October 1986.
Looks like one aileron was removed...:sad:

She was a good flying airplane: Had the extended cockpit and the big engines, 1350 HP.
I hauled fish of the beaches in Alaska for the Silver Salmon season.
Could tell some stories....

23rd Feb 2008, 01:43


Well, just the link then.....:confused:

23rd Feb 2008, 03:20
Eventually F/O is dispatched to have a look round and finds the overwing emergency exit has been opened next to a lady passenger; you'll remember that they hinged outwards at the bottom, with a simple handle at the top. F/O decides not to try and get it back but asks Hassan if he knew about it. Hassan says "of course, I opened it; she asked me to as she was feeling hot".

During the airlift by Hollinger Ungava Transport to build the Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway in the early 1950's, a child was sucked out of the forward of the two emergency overwing exits on the left side of one of their DC-3's. The aircraft was equipped with the military seating along the walls on either side of the center aisle. The kid was two years old, standing on the seat and was playing around with the emergency exit handle, when the window flew open. The area of low pressure in that location, immediately behind the wing, was sufficient to pull him out of the cabin. The kid's mother never recovered from the shock.

23rd Feb 2008, 13:11
I'm sure all the DC3/C47s I've been involved with had cabin emergency exits hinged at the top.

old,not bold
23rd Feb 2008, 16:17

Now you've said that, I'm doubting my memory! We would open them routinely on the ground to get some air through the aircraft, was it the top, bottom, Oh God, I'll be awake all night........

Perhaps it was at the top...probably, even; I'm sure you must be right. It was the Captain concerned who told me about the exit opened in flight, on the ground after arrival of the flight.

Wouldn't a top hinge have meant that quick evacuation would be slightly less easy?

Incidentally the registration of the aircraft in my pic above was G-AGKE, for those who note such things. I don't know what happened to it; some of them went from GF to Saudi Arabia for cloud-seeding, I think. I have a feeling that G-AMRA, which I last saw at Coventry in 2001 was with GF in the 60's but I'm not certain.

26th Feb 2008, 02:22
In late 1974/early 1975 (I forget) British Island (BIA) withdrew its venerable freighter Daks (G-AMSV and G-AMRA) from service. This was to end scheduled DC-3 from LGW after many, many years of continuous operation by many airlines (I believe a few years later some more scheduled Dak flights took place - you can't kill 'em!).

On the final flight out of Gatwick (in 'RA I think) the crew were (easily) talked into the idea of a final goodbye low pass over the field after take off and ATC gave its blessing. Both pilots were old hands who were retiring along with the plane so it was their farewell also.

I, along with a small crowd of other staff wandered out to the edge of the apron (no security bothers then) to get a view of what we thought would be a low pass down the runway after a quick circuit.

To our surprise, and concern, on the downwind leg the aircraft turned for an early base leg and started descending directly towards the assembled group with landing lights flashing on and off. It continued descending to what I guessed was less than 100 feet, straight over our heads, sufficiently low, anyway, that it had to climb to clear the apron lighting which sat on top of the old South Pier directly behind us! It then passed directly in front of the Admin block which, in those days, had an uninterrupted view across the airport, as it climbed away rocking its wings.

Apparently, the BAA Airport Director in his top floor ivory tower office had not been notified of the plans and was somewhat taken aback to see a Dak passing just outside his office, below his window height whilst climbing! He was close to apoplexy, by all accounts by the time he started his phone calls to the various parties involved.

Both skipper and F/O were hanging up their goggles anyway after the trip (LGW-GCI-BOH I seem to recall) and I understand that was all that saved them from some serious investigations.

I got photos of the event but currently these are 'lost' somewhere in a huge pile of 'stuff' that is under my house awaiting sorting. If I ever locate them I'll scan and post them.

Hairy Fool
4th Mar 2008, 01:25
I seem to remember one operating from Gibraltar to Morroco in the early 70's, I used to holiday in Gib from boarding school when my father was posted there. I have the idea its last letters of its reg was YB hence it was known as "Yogi Bear" but I could be wrong.

4th Mar 2008, 05:30
This here is the finest work of flying Art! Every thing is made with purpose and it all goes in the same direction at the same time too! Love those Radials doing there thing! When I lived up North they were always coming and going,at all hours of the day! One word"ULTRACOOL"

4th Mar 2008, 06:51
Would have been around mid-winter in Port Hedland on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia, the year 1965. Overnighting in the Pier Hotel on the first floor with the door to my room opening onto the wide verandah. Round about sun-up, sixish, I was lying in bed listening to the sounds of another day stirring when the quickly increasing drone of a big aeroplane's engines had me leaping up and out to the verandah rail.

There in all it's gleaming polished bare metal finery was an MMA Dak coming down the street. Without a word of a lie, I looked down and saw the skipper glance out to the left in my direction.

After breakfast I went out to the airport to get my 182 ready for the day's work, first calling over to the MMA office to get the dope on what was afoot with the fly-by. "Oh you saw Freddy go by, did you? Said he'd say goodbye to Hedland properly. Last flight for the company. Retires today when he gets back to Perth. Bit ordinary he was till he got in his seat and fired her up. Had to get the steps for him. Little hook on ladder not negotiable. Hope he gets away with it. Great bloke, old Freddy Ashelford."

(Freddy couldn't have been too hard hit. He was flying for Phil Hick's outfit on the C206 not long after. First lighty after twenty plus years on Threes. First attempt at a crosswinder in the 206 he pegged it on DC-3 fashion. Prop-strike, shattered nosewheel spat, and a go round! The noise that prop with bent tips made as it went round the circuit at Jandakot, struth!)

4th Mar 2008, 08:55
HF - Both the Dak and it's successor Viscount were known affectionately as Yogi Bear after the name of the airline - Gibair. Their registrations were G-AFMV and G-BBVH and they were substituted periodically by various BEA aircraft when on maintenance.

4th Mar 2008, 12:32
I remember a radio programme featuring the famous comedian and actor, Jimmy Edwards recalling his days flying Dakotas in the RAF. (He reluctantly admitted to getting the DFC at Arnhem).
He described a crash he experienced while landing at Lyneham and how angry his flight-commander was at his carelesness.
He claimed his explanation was,
"Awfully sorry, Sir, I'm afraid I must have been thinking about something else at the time........"

4th Mar 2008, 12:49
I can jump back in here following on from post # 7 above as my father also spoke about meeting Jimmy Edwards when both were flying in the UK, not certain who was visiting whose base. Apparently the two of them somehow got into some substantial disagreement which my father always recollected whenever J E turned up on the television right into the 1960s. Edwards was not yet known in the entertainment business until after WW2, and I believe didn't fly after his accident at the Arnhem landings (he crash-landed in Dakota KG444), which left him with substantial facial scars which he concealed with his oversized handlebar moustache.

4th Mar 2008, 15:59
Well I guess that I was a little more tired then I thought!I wonder if those Radials have "their" theres right? Apologies for the spelling!Some days are Diamonds others coal! I gotta go out for a bit,but when I get back I must tell a tale of Goonys on Floats! Awsome (I detest that word!) ramblings from the days of "Lets Get it Done and Fly! I mean,what can happen? EH!"

4th Mar 2008, 16:43
I worked for a well-known UK Dak operator some years ago when the following happened.
One of our aircraft had suffered ground damage to the rear bulkhead caused by a pallet truck running away on the (sloping) floor and ramming it, breaking a German loader's leg on its way. We were carrying out repairs as and when the aircraft was available between charters. Now, this bulkhead contained the toilet door and it had become distorted and difficult to open.
One night, Captain BP, flying with his co-pilot and a cadet (these were known as 'fuglies') on the jumpseat needed to take a leak, handed over control and went aft. Some considerable time passed and he'd not returned. The co-pilot asked the fuglie to see if everything was all right. He was confronted by the sight of BP's fingers straining under the bottom of the door, frantically trying to open it. A bit of added force and BP was soon back in his seat.
It was fortunate that the flight included a fugly as most of the fleet's autopilots were inoperative and the co-pilot wouldn't have been able to leave the cockpit!

Then there was the unfortunate incident with the DC6 Porta-Potti and Chief Pilot...

4th Mar 2008, 20:50
While waiting for Lobo to come back and regale us, here's one about an Adastra Aerial Survey Dak, (VH-AGU), operating on long, high, mapping runs in the Northern Territory, based at the time at Tennant Creek, circa 1970. I don't think John Messenger, the co-pilot, would mind this recounting of his tale, second hand. (It mightn't be exactly as he told me it thirty years ago, but the gist is true enough.)

The last run brought the Dak a mile or two from over the top of Tennant. As the camera went "off', JM got out of his seat and said to the skipper he was going back for a leak. Earlier JM, a sky-diver too, had secretly stowed his chute and reserve down the back. He strapped on his gear and with the camera operator's help opened the door and exited. The skipper had no idea. Just thought that JM was sitting down the back having a rest or chatting with the "camera", so he did the descent and landing unaided, no sweat. Taxying onto the tarmac, there, to his initial astonishment, was JM, leaning on the fence, ready with the wheel chocks, big cheeky grin on his face.

BTW, Jimmy Edwards autobiography covering his time in the RAF flying Daks, is called "Six of the Best". i.e. 1939-1945.

4th Mar 2008, 21:56
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,I must apologize but now I'm home I'm ill!It's chemo if you gotta know,so I promise when this calms down a bit I will tell you some neat stuff about Daks on floats!Be about three hours or so,bye for now~~Take Care~~Lobo

henry crun
5th Mar 2008, 03:19
I had a navigator in the RAF who had previously served on voice shouting Daks during the Malayan emergency.
Much of the cabin was taken up with amplifiers and other gear associated with the task. The loudspeakers were fixed under the fuselage.

It was, apparently, mostly a boring exercise, just flying around the areas the spooks gave them broadcasting taped messages imploring the terrorists to give themselves up.
There were occasional trips when a touch of levity would brighten their day.

On one occasion they had to drop a parcel to an army patrol deep in the jungle; the rendezvous point was a distinctive bend in a river.
As they approached from downstream they saw a herd of elephants having a drink in the river just below the bend and out of sight from the army guys.

They switched on the loudspeakers and with a mic shouted "SHHUSH SHHUSH” and chased the elephants round the corner scattering the soldiers.

On another occasion they were returning to base in the evening, and it was obvious that they would not make dinner closing time, so once again the mic was used and from the sky as they approached the circuit came a booming voice “ FOUR LATE DINNERS AT THE OFFICERS MESS”. :)

5th Mar 2008, 05:27
On short runs on this thing I'm O.K. They ragged on me GOOD today!Be back later!

5th Mar 2008, 09:22
One of the best writers in these forums was the late, great, Les Mikey, ("Duke Elegant"). One of his outstanding yarns concerned a problem with a Super DC-3 with a load of lobsters. Read it here - http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=117465

5th Mar 2008, 12:41
I I was Ramp Dispatching a Departure from the South Pier when this occurred.
Passengers were boarding and whilst I was aware they were going to do a 'flypast' the actual event was 'spectacular'. Passengers just stopped and 'followed' the aircraft as it 'roared overhead. The Passenger standing beside me kept saying 'Oh my God' is an ever higher voice until the Aircraft was past the Terminal.

All the BUIA/BIA Captains were characters, one allegedly doing his Gardening in his Uniform because he didn't want to ruin his own clothes, another had a habit of signing any loadsheet that happened to be on the first desk he passed resulting in occasional embarrassment for Load Control. During my time all the Captains were 'Veteran' Aviators and all the F/O's were newly minted youngsters and sometimes you got the feeling the Captains acted towards them more like pupils rather than qualified pilots

5th Mar 2008, 12:58
Thanks fantome, I'd forgotten that Duke Elegant episode. :ok:

I had a real good friend who lived in Mill Village NS, not far from Yarmouth, who knew about that flight. Alf was a private pilot who had been with Ferry Command during WW2. He was also a lover of anything from the ocean, particularly shellfish. His reaction to ditching the lobsters, which I think I passed on to the the Duke, was ''They should have thrown the co-pilot overboard and saved the lobsters." ;)

5th Mar 2008, 13:25
During its service with the BUA Radio Calibration Unit, the Aircaft and its Crews Travelled, over Europe and the Middle East and there must be stories and pictures of its 'Adventures' that would add to this thread!

5th Mar 2008, 21:14
I started to read the stories by Duke Elegant,only got half way down page two and came across the part where being in a Glass Cockpit is like being a dog watching T.V.! What a Howl! How perfect is that ? This Guy sounds COOL,as I have not got to the end of that Thread,did he beat it or what? Not being nosey or other-wise a D:mad:Head,just a little Curious.~Lobo~

5th Mar 2008, 22:24
This one concerns an East-West Airlines "Three", operating the regular run out to Lake Cargellico in central western New South Wales. The skipper was the late Toby Alleyne, and the F/O the late Dick Creak, ("Creaky Dick"). The hostie was Penny Sullivan, and years later I heard Dick's story and I heard Penny's story, and even though I flew with Toby and shared overnights with him, he would not be drawn on the subject.

"The Lake" had grass strips back then, (probably still has), and as Toby swung the old girl into the circuit, Dick, who'd not long before joined the company and was still learning the ropes, asked Tobe if he would demonstrate a short field landing. Now Tobe, if he was anything, was the most laconic man you'd ever be likely to meet. Without a word he drags her back till she's hanging on the props over the fence, pegs her on and with his backside riding up the seat back an inch or two, stands on the brakes and hauls the wheel hard back into his stomach.

The ground was probably a fair bit softer than he thought, but whatever the case, up came the tail and down went the nose, and as Dick said, the earth that was thrown up beat loudly against the cockpit sides. The tail fell back, heavily of course, whereupon Tobe opened the taps and taxied to the shed that passed as a terminal, the props making that curious swishing noise that tells of bent blades.

Penny, on "touchdown", was standing down the back close to the door and right behind the last row of seats on the left side, giving her nose or her lips a little service. The severity of the landing threw her over the seat back and on top of the startled passenger sitting there. Penny extricated herself and doing her best to gather her composure, waited at the door till they pulled up. From up front a glowering Toby emerged, and when Penny asked him all wide-eyed "Wh-what happened Toby?" his only reply, in a hissed whisper was "Shut your face!"

It took them quite a while to get home that day.

5th Mar 2008, 22:26
Lobo3 check your PM's.

6th Mar 2008, 00:06
Well this is me going down for the count,~~Take Care~~Lobo

7th Mar 2008, 07:51
Nothing else to say!

8th Mar 2008, 14:11
Just a shot in the general direction of OUT THERE,anybody home?

9th Mar 2008, 10:53
Hairy Fool,

I am afraid that with the time factor and brain fade I have forgotten the registration of Gib Airs DC3,(possibly G-AMSV???) but the YOGIBAIR came from the fact that a couple of the RAF, Station Flight hero's got bored one night, and with a pot of Black paint made a slight change to the company name on the roof of the aircraft. Hence GibAir became YO-GibAir!!

Although I was there at the time, and it wasn't me!!

Speedbird 48..

11th Mar 2008, 05:04
Hello all
My first flight was in DC-3/C-47 G-AMPO at Farranfore Airport, County Kerry, in 1982, courtesy of Air Atlantique.Me and my brother got to fly in the beautiful Dak for a 15-min local joyride.It was a sheer delight.So, thanks to AA for being there that day!

11th Mar 2008, 15:43
If you're after DC2/DC3 stories, I guess you'll know about this book, and others by the same author. I've been meaning to re-read it for something like 30 years, and I finally got round to taking it away on a ski trip last week. As I sat crammed into the back row of a fully stuffed 757, flying over the Alps at 35,000 feet, I wondered how many current AT pilots are familiar with the book. I would suggest that they could still learn a lot about sheer airmanship from it ... maybe it should be a compulsory part of the training syllabus...

12th Mar 2008, 15:10
Learning points for AT pilots, including having burning matches under the nostrils on an already difficult approach. Beats the simulator any day. Seriously though it is in my opinion just about the best aviation book I've read. I need a new one as my copy is falling to bits.

12th Mar 2008, 16:38
Learning points for AT pilots, including having burning matches under the nostrils on an already difficult approach. Beats the simulator any day. Seriously though it is in my opinion just about the best aviation book I've read. I need a new one as my copy is falling to bits.

More learning points:

if you have to take off with a load of steel girders in the cabin, make sure they're tied down
never fly a C-87, especially in icing conditions.The book's back in print - I picked my new paperback copy up in Ottawa just before Christmas, but I see Amazon can supply it for less than a tenner... the long string of five-star reviews there speak for themselves

Brian Abraham
13th Mar 2008, 05:53
Fate is the Hunter - was a time when all pilots were reputed to carry a copy in the nav bag.

13th Mar 2008, 12:32
My own personal favourite comes from an old book, "Airliners and Airways of Today" by S.E.Veale. It was published not long after the war, and details all of the new designs on the market at the time, plus existing aircraft. On the subject of the Dak, it said that due to the high number of C-47's appearing in demob suits, the type's future as an airliner was likely to be short-lived........oh, the benefit of hindsight!

13th Mar 2008, 13:48
One day in about 1980, Dakota ZA947 (aka KG661) lined up for departure from runway 07 at Farnborough. The crew then reported they had a 'problem' and would be shutting down and vacating the aircraft. Before the engines stopped however, the port undercarriage collapsed, allowing the still turning propellor to strike the runway, break off at the reduction gear, then bounce up and strike the forward escape hatch fairly in the centre! As the wingtip touched the ground, the upper surface of the wing wrinkled to the extent we all thought that was it, not worth repairing. But repaired it was, and is now happy in its new home with BBMF!

15th Mar 2008, 10:43
Re: Fate is the Hunter,


I think you'd be pleasantly surprised by the number of young pilots in the front of those 757s that you get stuffed into the back of, who have read this book.

I still have my original copy, that I first read at the age of 16. There is a lot that still resonates well with today's airline world. For example, if you watch crews in the crewroom and you'll see the Captains talking to the other Captains, co's to the other co's etc. Just like Gann recounts.

I've often said to new guys, during their line training, until you've read it voluntarily suspend and surrender your licence to the authority. They think I'm joking.

Many of the pilots with whom I share a flight deck these days do not have English as a first language, and I wonder just how well it translates.

For a similarly enthralling read, about the early days, and for an insight into airmanship of old. " Wind, sand and stars" by St. Exupery is stunning. To quote W, S, & S, the story about what we would now call CFIT, which he concludes with a chilling line, " below the sea of cloud lies eternity" will stop you dead in your tracks! Vol de nuit, and Courier Sud ( also by St. Ex. ) are also classics. Those last two, are fairly short, and I had to struggle through French versions. I'm certain I missed a lot as a result of my poor command of French. Hence, my concern for Gann's magnum opus, in the hands of my continental pals.

Back to the thread, this month's Flying has a good article about flying a DC-3.
Rambles through several veins, but is essentially about a Dak, and will bring a smile to your face at the ed!


15th Mar 2008, 12:41
Would that be 1990? When I worked for Air Atlantique, we carried out a major service on ZA947, including replacing the left nacelle upper skin, which had been damaged by a collapsed landing gear. We never did find out why the gear folded; the safety latches themselves are spring-loaded down and manual retraction involves disengaging the cockpit latch lever from a clip, pulling it firmly aft to raise the latches from the retraction jack hook ends and then moving the undercarriage selector clear of its gate before selecting 'Up'.

15th Mar 2008, 17:52
The early DC 3 had a "wobble Pump" that was pumped for fuel pressure during startup to get the engines running.
Once the engine was running the engine pumps kept it going.
The original DC 3 operated by Autair in 1960 ( G-AJIC) had such a system,
During the summer the aircraft flew on Charter at Southend ( After Skyways were an aircraft short when one of theirs overran the runway and tried to catch the train:O)
During that winter it was decided to use the aircraft on photo survey for Huntings in West Africa.
The aircraft went to Fields in Wymeswold to have electric fuel pumps fitted and equipped with camera gear in the belly.
The project required flight at 20,000 feet above ground which gave us something like 22-23,000 feet.The engines were of course running on the electric pumps.
One day at altitide one of the pumps stopped - so did the engine:ok: there were some intereting cloud pictures taken by the camera in the belly:oh:

1 to go
20th Mar 2008, 18:28
You recalled the old BUIA DC3 Captains, as you said they were all characters and did treat us F/Os are pupils. They were probably wise to do so, as for most of us it was our first taste of airline flying.
I remember one night in Amsterdam, it was incredibly windy and the Captain and I were standing in the fuselage ready to lock the cargo door when the goundman lost control of the door and it slammed into the Captain's head. The Captain was dazed but insisted that he would be ok, so we started up and taxied out. During the take off run he collapsed and I rejected take off. As he was unconcious over the controls and I was not used to taxying the DC3 it took me 45 minutes to get him to an ambulance.
Fortunately he did recovered.

20th Mar 2008, 19:10
I have only a few hours in the C-47 and no landings. I did get a few landings in the C-46 but that is another story.

However, a good friend of mine flew AC-47s in Vietnam. He interviewed in the mid-70s with an airline that had a noted shrink as part of the hiring process. My friend (well call him Bob) was sitting in the shrink's office when the shrink said, "I see you flew AC-47s, Bob. What exactly is an AC-47??"
Bob, "It is a gunship, sir."
Shrink, "What is a gunship? And what does it do?"
Bob, "It is an airplane with a number of mini-guns and we shot people."
Shrink, "And how did you feel about shooting people, Bob?"
Bob, "Well, it is a lot like when you are at the bar and they shove that bowl of roasted peanuts in front of you."

The shrink sat back in his chair and pondered the answer for a few moments and then said, "I fail to see the analogy between some roasted peanuts in a bar and shooting people, Bob."

Bob explained, "Well.. they are just there and you don't really want to start but once you do, it is real hard to stop."

Rest of the story... shrink smiled.... and Bob got hired. Now retired.

True story.

21st Mar 2008, 17:22
1 to Go.
An interesting incident so early in your aviation career.
You didn't have any 'wrong destination' arrivals when flying with a certain Captain S, after all HAM and FRA are both in Germany and he did spend his earlier career visiting them on alternate nights, but never landed, just dropped his payoad and went home.

21st Mar 2008, 23:05
Wannabe trainee pilots on the RAAF's No 1 post WW2 training course all went solo with another trainee in the R seat before being granted wings. Must have ben a bit risky as we didn't know much about Vmca and other finer points. MUCH later managed to get one off the ground on one engine, but required 35 kts of wind to enable and a large semi-circle ground run.

Then how many Gooney drivers know that all of these old ladies will ignore your control inputs if both pilots wind in full opposite aileron at the same time.
Wasn't game to try the same in pitch but I think the designed stretchiness in the control cables would be similar in pitch.

Brian Abraham
22nd Mar 2008, 03:14
In fifty-one they tried to ground the noble DC-3
And some lawyers brought the case before the C.A.B.
The board examined all the facts behind their great oak portal
And pronounced these simple words “The Gooney Bird’s Immortal.
The Army toast their Sky Train in lousy scotch and soda
The Tommies raise their glasses high to cheer their old Dakota.
Some claim the C-47’s best, or the gallant R4D
Forget that claim, their all the same, they’re the noble DC-3.
Douglas built the ship to last, but nobody expected
This crazy heap would fly and fly, no matter how they wrecked it.
While nations fall and men retire, and jets go obsolete
The Gooney Bird flies on and on at eleven thousand feet.
No matter what they do to her the Gooney Bird still flies
One crippled plane was fitted out with one wing half the size.
She hunched her shoulders then took off (I know this makes you laugh)
Only wing askew, and yet she flew, the DC-3 and a half.
She had her faults, but after all, who’s perfect in every sphere
Her heating system was a gem we loved her for the gear.
Of course the windows leaked a bit when the rain came pouring down
She’d keep you warm, but in a storm, it’s possible you’d drown.
Well now she flies the feeder lines and carries all the freight
She just an airborne office, a flying twelve ton crate.
They patched her up with masking tape, with paper clips and strings
And still she flies, she never dies, Methuselah with wings.

22nd Mar 2008, 09:41
Stevef - course it was 1990! I remember because one of our staff happened to be out on the airfield when the call came from the crew (he was first on the scene before the Fire Service) and he was posted out after the 1990 Air Show.
Obviously the cause was detectable in the cockpit; maybe a 'gear unsafe' warning (there was I believe, only one red or green light, not two).

22nd Mar 2008, 09:47
Further to Milt's comments about control inputs:
Strangely, there aren't any wing control stops in the DC3 aileron circuit; the ranges of movement are governed by cable adjustment. I've no idea why it was designed this way - it could take considerable time to rig the system whilst keeping within the recommended cable tensions. The ailerons had to be set up with an inch of droop as well because they naturally rode up in flight and that gave a true neutral.
The elevators, though, had stops.

22nd Mar 2008, 13:31

When I was a kid I lived on a farm half way between 'the Lake' and Condo. Did quite a few trips to sydney from the Lake. We had generator shed that was painted very red and was often used by the pilots, so they said, as a landmark for their track.

What great trips they were for a kid. Except for the the time we were grounded at Temora and 8 including the driver shared a 3 hour taxi ride to the Lake. Seat-belts, what are they.

22nd Mar 2008, 13:38
I have a couple of questions about a C 47 KN628 - This was registered G-AOGZ and became N4849 - Does anyone know what became of this particular aircraft?
Also I read that this aircraft became a DC 4 in civil service and I have seen a few what I would have thought were DC 3s mentioned as such but actually described as DC 4s which I thought was a totally different aircraft??:confused:

22nd Mar 2008, 14:18
Here you go:

76950 (c/n 16534/33282) to RAF as KN628 May 1945.
Used as Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's personal
transport. To Derby Aviation in May 1954 as G-AOGZ. Became N4849 in 1969, then F-OGDZ
for use in Guadaloupe for tourist flights. After 10 years, sold to unknown buyer who
may have used the plane for drug smuggling. In 1983, converted to Basler BT-67 and fitted
with FLIR and machine guns and to Salvadorian AF as FAES118 for drug interdiction missions.
Another story has it after being bought by Derby Aviation in January 1956, it went to
Strathair who in turn leased it out to Cirrus Aviation and Emerald Air (1965-67),
Acquired 1966 by Hibernian AW, Ireland. Next after being sold and registered as F-OGDZ
for Air Antilles first, then as Air Guadelope (Societe Antilleise de Transports Aeriens/SATA),
it was broken up in Opa Locka, FL

Yes, a DC4 is a completely different aircraft, as you suspect. Four engines and tricycle gear for a start.

22nd Mar 2008, 18:31
Stevef - many thanks for the info.

27th Mar 2008, 07:12
G-AOGZ was operated by Derby Aviation ( Derby Airways) from Burnaston when I was there 57-61.:O
It was indeed previously Monties aircraft and DA operated it the whole time. I think it was "Darley Dale":cool:

I would think the first senario by Sevef is correct;)

27th Mar 2008, 16:10
'OGZ today (well, recently):


29th Mar 2008, 01:54
Martha (http://www.flyingmag.com/article.asp?section_id=12&article_id=803) writes of the Gooney Bird

29th Mar 2008, 17:00
Great article barit. :ok:

(Sadly I can relate. :()

29th Mar 2008, 20:29
Thanks for that barit. :ok:

31st Mar 2008, 00:56
When we operating Daks in South Africa, United were flying punters from Joburg up to the game parks.
The parks were fairly short so the short takeoff was 30+ inhg on the brakes ( with stick held hard back:}+ brake release, full power and go.
In the days before CRM:8 one day the sequence got out of phase ! The laddie applied full power before Sir released the brakes:=

Aircraft tail went up and both props hit the ground at full power.
Exactly as Chevvrons incident both props sheared off at the reduction gear to crankcase flange.
The right hand one went charging off into the bundu but the left hand one, like the Farnborough one came roaring into the cockpit.
The first blade to hit went through the small left hand crew door the second blade rotated in just forward and the 3rd blade actually came into the cockpit just forward the pilots seat back missing the capt, by fractions of an inch !! All blades remained attached to the reduction gear.

11th Dec 2009, 06:07
http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r68/sabrejet/fortescue3.jpg<,img http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r68/sabrejet/IMGP6073.jpg (http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r68/sabrejet/IMGP6073.jpg) img>

all in 1/48 scale

12th Dec 2009, 10:48
Haven't had a chance to read all the stories told so far, so hopefully not recounting one already told. Remember being told that one of the '3's being operated by PATAIR/PAPAIR? in Port Moresby had orginally "belonged" to McArthur. This was over the bar at the South Pacific Aero Club in 1970. You can just about make it out at the far left below.


Apparently on one trip they were transporting a rugby club back from TI (Thursday Island) after a game, and when the team have imbibed to excess. Some smart ar*e had the idea of them all moving to one side of the aircraft, then to the other in unison. This kind of upset the jockey. After a short while the Captain burst through the cockpit door revolver in hand telling everyone to sit in their seats, fasten their seat belts and the first person to move from their seat would be shot. Deathly silence from all pax from then on.

Alpha Tango Zulu, the BN2A Islander in the right foreground, was the outright winner of the 1969? London to Sydney air race. It was delivered via a ferry crew at the time, with all the pax seats removed and long-range tanks down the length of the fuselarge. Someone quoted me that it could almost fly for days without refueling.

Also briefly worked for Comair out of Rand Airport late '71. They flew tourists in '3's to Skukuza in the Kruger National Park for quite a while. They were pretty ancient too.