The Aircraft

Douglas DC-3 (C-47 Skytrain / Dakota (N147DC)

  • Douglas DC-3 – C47 Skytrain / Dakota
  • Operator: Aces High US Inc.
  • Year of Manufacture: 1943
  • Powered by: X2 Pratt & Whitney 1830-92’s
  • Colour Scheme: USAAF – 87th Squadron (L-4 D-Day colours)

N147DC was Constructed in1942 at Long Beach California. She first flew in 1943.
Served with the United States Army Air Force (USAAF)
She flew with the 79th TSC out of Membury during D-Day as 42-1000884
Delivered to the Royal Air Force at Netheravon as TS423 in 1944 and shortly before the end of the war transferred to 436 Squadron to the Royal Canadian Air Force at Down Ampney.

In the Heavy Glider Unit she took part in Arnhem and the D-Day landings. She was also one of the very few glider (snatchers) recovery aircraft with the RAF this was a difficult and dangerous job.

She also helped drop supplies during the Berlin airlift.

After the war she went to Short Brothers, Scottish Aviation, Marshalls and Ferranti.

At Ferranti she acquired a nonstandard nose. Inside this unique nose, which singled her out from her eleven thousand sisters, Ferranti fitted air pass radar for the Lightning fighter and hydraulically operated gun turret. Underneath she acquired Sonar buoy dropping equipment.

In 1969, with a surprisingly low number of hours on her airframe (around 3000 hours) TS 423 was delivered to the Ministry of Technology at RAE West Freugh, Scotland where, nine years later, named “Mayfly” she was still stored. Unfortunately her original WW2 name is unknown.

The decision was taken by the MOD to scrap her on the Catterick fire dump.

Mike Woodley of Aces High managed to rescue her from this fate with the aid of the Imperial War Museum and Lord Onslow.

On 14th September 1979 TS423 was officially christened G-DAKS and given extensive cosmetic surgery to restore her Douglas nose at Duxford.

G-DAKS made her filming debut with Yorkshire Television as “Vera Lynn” of Ruskin Air Services in the series AIRLINE in 1979.
Her film and television credits have ranged from Darkest Hour, Catch 22, Breathe, Woman in Gold, Poirot, Tenko, Quantum of Solace, The Monuments Men, Indiana Jones the Last Crusade, Allies, Dirty Dozen 2, Memphis Belle, Da Vinci Code, White Hunter Black Heart, Red 2, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Land Girls, Guernsey and Red Tails.

On the 75 anniversary of D-day Aces High would have been operating her for 40 years!

Still flying over 70 years later and with just over 3,500 hours total flying time N147DC is probably the lowest houred Dakota flying in the world.

Aces High still operates her almost 30 years later and she is still being used in films and on the airshow circuit with her original WW2 cockpit and interior.

N147DC wears with pride genuine flack and bullet hole repairs, a reminder to her service during WWII.

Photo credit: Aces High Inc.