A Dakota for the 15th Wing Historical Center
Pictures : Serge Van Heertum & coll SBAP (other as mentioned)
September 1943 the C-47 Skytrain with construction number
42-24391 rolls out from the Douglas Company factory in the US. The C-47 was the
military version of the well known DC-3. The plane is integrated in the AAF
(Army Air Force of the U.S. Army, the USAF was created in 1947 only).
From October 1943 until August 1944 this C-47 was in service with the 8th TCS (Troop Carrier Squadron) of the 12th Air Force and participated in different campaigns for example in Algeria and Italy. In April 1946 the plane was de-enrolled from the AAF inventory and some month’s later was sold on the civil market.
In August 1946 the plane was registered in France as F-BEIG. During around 40 years the plane was in service in different French companies like the “Service Général de l'Aviation Civile" (SGAC), as a calibration aircraft for navigation aid systems. Later on the plane was owned by “Bretagne Air Service", "Normandy Aero services" and finally "Stellar".
In 1988 the plane was acquired by the Sabena Old Timers foundation but due to budgetary problems the plane was sold a year later to Christian Verderslyen, a Belgian pilot from Luxair. In 1990 the C-47 registered LX-DKT was named "Le Petit Prince".
The Belgo-Luxembourg company "Legend Air" created by Christian Verderslyen as Dakota freaks had a main objective : historical aircraft preservation and history of aviation promotion. They flew with the C-47 until 1992. Stored at Oostende Airport for 10 years now the plane was damaged in a storm and collided into a Boeing B707 also stored there. After months of negotiations and administration problems, finally this historic plane was donated to the Belgian Air Force 15th Wing historical center to be preserved near is new brother of arm, the Fairchild C-119G (CP10) and Percival Pembroke (RM7).
Months of preparation where needed and performed by the voluntary restoration team of the historical center before they could start the transportation from Oostende Airport to Melsbroek Airbase. The night of March 7th to March 8th, 2011 was chosen to perform the transport assured by the Flight Aircraft Recovery” of Beauvechain airbase and the 11th battalion Genie of Burcht under the control of MOV Ctl Gp , Air Recovery & Genie and finally the “Dakota” has its last retirement place (let’s hope) since around 4 o’clock that morning. Time now for more restoration and in some month’s a new C-47 with Belgian colors will be presented to the Historical center visitors.
|The F-BEIG in 1966 (copyright Ralf Manteufel)||In 1973 (copyright Peter Seemann)|
|The LX-DKT in 1990||"le petit prince"|
|Oostend Airport in 1997, the 42-24391 is stored since 1992|
|Disassembly of the aircraft (courtesy Dakota Historical Center)|
|Arrival of the excptional convoy (copyright Danny Carels)||Entering Melsbroek Air Base (copyright Danny Carels)|
|Unloading of the fuselage|
|The center wing||Heavy crane was needed for this operation|
|Unloading of the wings...||and the fuselage after sction|
|Concentration for the crane driver||A good coordination performed by MOV Ctl Gp , Air Recovery & Genie|
|Finaly near his brother of arm||Waiting the restauration and the Belgian Air Force colours|