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My Favorite DC-3 / C-47 Story

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My Favorite DC-3 / C-47 Story

Old 23rd Feb 2008, 17:17
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Stevef,

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.
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Old 26th Feb 2008, 03:22
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BIA DC-3 last flight from LGW

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.
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 02:25
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GibAir

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.
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 06:30
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Goony Bird Alert!

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"
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 07:51
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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!)


Last edited by Fantome; 4th Mar 2008 at 21:16.
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 09:55
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Gibair

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.
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 13:32
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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........"
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 13:49
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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.
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 16:59
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Moron in the First,Thats me!

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!"
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 17:43
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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...

Last edited by stevef; 4th Mar 2008 at 18:11.
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 21:50
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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.
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Old 4th Mar 2008, 22:56
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Goonys On Floats!

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
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Old 5th Mar 2008, 04:19
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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.
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Old 5th Mar 2008, 06:27
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Attention Span NILL

On short runs on this thing I'm O.K. They ragged on me GOOD today!Be back later!
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Old 5th Mar 2008, 10:22
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Duke Elegant

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
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Old 5th Mar 2008, 13:41
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BIA DC-3 last flight from LGW

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
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Old 5th Mar 2008, 13:58
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Thanks fantome, I'd forgotten that Duke Elegant episode.

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."
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Old 5th Mar 2008, 14:25
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BUA Radio Calibration Dak - Any Stories?

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!
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Old 5th Mar 2008, 22:14
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Hi Guys!

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 DHead,just a little Curious.~Lobo~
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Old 5th Mar 2008, 23:24
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DC-3 story

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.

Last edited by Fantome; 31st Jan 2009 at 05:35.
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