The Dakota C-47, Carves A Niche In The Indian Air Force

 The Dakota was inducted into the IAF in 1946. It was the first transport plane of the Indian Air Force. Initially 10 Daks as they were popularly called were inducted into the IAF.  Within a year these planes were put to use in the Kashmir valley. In 1948 with the raiders from Pakistan approaching Srinagar airfield, the first Dak with 28 troops of the Sikh regiment were flown to Srinagar.

 The Dak was also used to land at Leh, the highest airfield in the world. I first flew ina Dak when I was in school as we were taken up to

learn about what 'flying experince' means. The Dak remained in service with the IAF for almost 3 decades.

 The major use of the Daota was in the Eastern part of India. Here 2 squadrons of transports operating from Jorhat were equipped with Dakotas. Their mission to drop supplies to the far outposts of the army. The Dakota did yeoman service in this sphere and its accident rate despite the inclement weather was almost zero.

 The Dakota

was a twin engine piston powered plane, but its resilence was legendary. It was particulaly of tremendous use in the hills  of Assam and the eastern Himalayas. It e.could also take off and land from semi prepared air strips and that was a great advantage. In addition despite rain and bad weather the Dak never failed and did its missions all over Assam to the satisfaction of the army. There were occassions when insurgents fired at the plane and even hit it, but the Dak always returned to base.

The Dak was hoever a slow aircraft with a limited  cargo capacity. Hence the IAF replaced it with the Russian AN-32. Compared to the Dak the AN 32 was a modern plane with a greater pay load capacity. However the DAk has become a legend. Pilots who have  flown the plane will vouchsafe that this 'lovely bird' was one of the most loved planes in the IAF inventory.


Article Written By Madan G Singh

An early retired Gp Capt from Air Force who is an Executive Director in the Corporate world. Loves to write fiction and articles. Published over 60 short stories and his novel" Romance of the Frontier" is published from Notion Books.His second novel is on way for publication. The author also has close to 10,000 articles on the b net with millions of views

Last updated on 06-06-2016 52 0

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