Former Dakota pilot Mr Alan James, Director General History and Heritage – Air Force, Air Commodore John Meier and former Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal (ret’d) David Evans, AC, DSO, AFC at the plaque unveiling for the newly restored A65-86 C-47B Dakota, Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre.
Known as the ‘Biscuit Bomber’ the Dakota C-47B A65-86 will take pride of place in the static aircraft display at the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre this Sunday (17 February).
The newly restored Dakota will be joined by a fly-in of up to 15 General Aviation aircraft from the Royal Queensland Aero Club.
In 1942 the Dakotas were a lifeline for Australian soldiers fighting Japanese forces at Port Moresby over the Kokoda Track in New Guinea. Air dropped ammunition and rations would be dropped into the jungle when there was no suitable place to land close to troops.
A lack of suitable airdrop containers led to the creation of cardboard ice cream containers which would be packed with straw to deliver the required ammunition and rations.
The infantrymen gave these planes the nickname ‘Biscuit Bombers’.
The Dakota C-47B A65-86, is the longest serving operational aircraft in the Royal Australian Air Force, entering service 74 years ago with Number 35 Squadron at RAAF Amberley on 15 April 1945.
Her 53 year operational career included serving with the RAAF Transport Flight Japan, the Central Flying School and the Air Force’s Aircraft Research and Development Unit, ending in December 1999.
The A65-86 is just one of the magnificently restored or original aircraft on display including a F-111, Canberra bomber, Macchi trainer, Mirage and Sabre fighters, Caribou battlefield airlifter, WWII Douglas Boston bomber, Iroquois and Sioux helicopters.
Due to RAAF security requirements all visitors over the age of 16 must provide photographic identification, and have their identification details recorded as a condition of entry.
The RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre is open this Sunday and then on the third Sunday of each month, between 9am and 3pm.
Access is via the Back Gate located on Behm’s Road off the Old Toowoomba Road up until 2pm. Visitors who arrive at the main entrance on Southern Amberley Road will be directed to go back through Ipswich and access via the back gate.
Admission is free and photography is welcomed.
Images: © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence