Iconic wartime plane takes the skies again

A Dakota.
A Dakota.

A FLY-PAST by one of the Second World War’s most iconic aircraft will take place not once, but twice during this summer’s Festival of Alnwick, in celebration of the Olympic torch travelling through Northumberland.

Organisers of the week-long festival have managed to secure a Douglas C-47 Dakota from the Royal Air Force’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to wing its way over the town on June 14, the day the iconic flame arrives.

And it will make a second overflight for the grand closing ceremony being staged at the Alnwick Garden the following day.

Times have yet to be confirmed and the Dakota’s visit will be weather-dependant.

Festival organiser Karen Larkin said: “It’s a real honour that the RAF has agreed to provide such a wonderful aircraft to perform a fly-past on two days of the festival. I’m sure that it will add a spectacular touch to the celebrations.”

The Douglas C-47 Dakota was one of the most successful aircraft designs in history and became one of the world’s most famous military transport aircraft. It saw widespread use by the Allies during the Second World War and subsequently by air forces and civilian operators worldwide.

Originally designated the DC-3 airliner, which first flew in 1935 and was used extensively by America’s airlines, nearly 2,000 Dakotas entered service with the RAF in 1942.

It was also almost indestructible, with one Dakota pilot commenting: “You can wreck a Dak, but you can’t wear it out.”