DakotaAir Will Bring Passenger Flights Back To The UK Honoring The RAF Transport Command

Picture taken in Normandy in 2012 from "Drag 'Em 'Oot" showing the Spirit of Kent Spitfire of Biggin Hill.
Picture taken in Normandy in 2012 from "Drag 'Em 'Oot" showing the Spirit of Kent Spitfire of Biggin Hill.
Picture taken in Normandy in 2012 from “Drag ‘Em ‘Oot” showing the Spirit of Kent Spitfire of Biggin Hill.

Established on 25 March 1943 by the renaming of the RAF Ferry Command, RAF Transport Command was the logistical arm of the RAF. During World War II, it at first ferried aircraft from factories to operational units and performed air transport. Thanks to the effort of an Englishman named David Patters and his team of passionate volunteers the work and the sacrifices of the men who serve in this branch of the Royal Air Force will be always honored.

Dakotair Ltd will begin operations of 2 Douglas Dakotas in 2014, bringing passenger flights in this legendary aircraft back to the UK.The ‘Dak is Back’ tour will kick off in May 2014 visiting airfields around the UK throughout the year. On offer will be a range of sightseeing trips, city over flights and even ‘Fly with a Legend’, your chance to see an iconic WW2 fighter from the air including the Spitfire, Hurricane, Mustang and even the B17 Sally B!

2014 sees the 70th anniversary of both Normandy and Arnhem. Dakotair will take a plane load of veterans to these events free of charge, enabling these brave men and their careers to revisit their battlefields again in the same aircraft type they probably arrived in last time.

A great point of view running into a drop zone in Burma. A Douglas Dakota of No. 177 Wing RAF climbs away from a dropping zone in a dry river bed near Sinzweya, Burma, after parachuting supplies to the trapped 7th Indian Division in the Kalapanzin Valley during the Second Arakan campaign.
A great point of view running into a drop zone in Burma. A Douglas Dakota of No. 177 Wing RAF climbs away from a dropping zone in a dry river bed near Sinzweya, Burma, after parachuting supplies to the trapped 7th Indian Division in the Kalapanzin Valley during the Second Arakan campaign.

Dakotair will operate the aircraft as a permanent flying memorial to Transport Command, a very much unsung arm of the Royal Air Force. Flying in unarmed, unarmored, slow transport aircraft, Transport Command crews were responsible for many air drops of troops and supplies in every theater of World War Two.Famously Kohima and Imphal were supplied solely by air before a breakout from the Japanese siege could be arranged. Air drops were the lifeline of the ‘Chindit’ force, setup by Lord Wingate as a gorilla force in Burma.

In every theatre Transport Command were supplying the British and Commonwealth forces from every type of aircraft from Dragon Rapides, Dakotas an Avro Yorks and Consolidated Liberators.

Most famous will be the operations in 1944/5 in Normandy for D-Day, dropping vast numbers of paratroopers, Arnhem again dropping paratroops and flying resupply missions and in 1945 Operation Varsity, the crossing of the Rhein.

It was during Operation Market (the airborne element of Market Garden) that Transport Command won its only Victoria Cross. Flt Lt David Lord and crew flying KG374 of 271 Squadron RAF were flying a desperately needed resupply mission to an Arnhem drop zone. Heavy anti aircraft fire raked the low, slow Dakota III’s, setting Lord’s left wing and engine alight. Lord still had 3 canisters to drop and elected to run the gauntlet of the drop zone again! The remaining canisters were dropped and as Lord struggled to hold the aircraft steady, he gave the order for the crew to bail out. It was too late. The left wing gave way and the aircraft crashed to the ground, taking all but the navigator to their deaths.

For his gallantry in the face of the enemy Lord was awarded the VC and his crews the Mc and MM. 6 army RASC crewmen were among the dead.In honor of this gallant action, and the only VC awarded to a very hard working, overlooked arm of he forces, Dakotair will paint their first aircraft in the colours of KG374.

Dakotair will take delivery of 2 Dakota’s from Air Atlantique in early 2014, G-ANAF & G-AMPY will take the mantle of the RAF Transport Command Memorial.

G-ANAF and will be the organization's first passenger aircraft.
G-ANAF and will be the organization’s first passenger aircraft.

G-AMPY is still a working aircraft, providing defense to the UK waters as a pollution controls sprayer. This will continue to be the case into 2015, but the public will see her, in her post war Transport Command colors commemorating the Berlin Airlift, at events throughout the year dropping parachutists and flying formation displays with her sister ship G-ANAF (‘Ganaf’).

 G-AMPY en route to Farnborough in 2008.
G-AMPY en route to Farnborough in 2008.

Many people believe it was impossible that a Dakota could carry passengers after a European law stopped them flying in 2008. The RAF Transport Command is very advanced in their application with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and with their help, these regulations have been met.

This is a very large undertaking and  and very expensive.The RAF Transport Command actively looking for new members for the  Supporters Club. Each membership goes a very long way towards getting this project off the ground.

If you are interested in helping this great cause visit the RAF Transport Command website at www.dakotair.com

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