21 June 2024 Civil/General Aviation » DC-3 » 1997 Gathering in Sweden  
This report was written by Graham Robson under the heading “Devoted to Dakotas”, and first appeared in Propliner Aviation Magazine No. 72. It is being reproduced here by kind permission of the editor, Mr. Tony Merton-Jones.

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DC-3 Meeting & Big Birds Fly-in 9 and 10 August 1997

That the legendary DC-3 still enjoys a very full life in commercial business the world over is a well known and frequently documented fact. A second life, however, as a much cherished and valuable aircraft within the European preservation scene is perhaps less well known, and was recently highlighted in grand style at the first ever DC-3 Meeting and Big Bird Fly-In, at Malmo-Sturup Airport over the weekend of August 9/10. Organiser, Mr Bjorn Brenemark, is to be congratulated on bringing together such a unique collection of Douglas' most famous design, which truly reflected a deep devotion to this classic type.

Intended as a celebration of the enduring DC-3, the weekend afforded the opportunity for the numerous European DC-3 operating and preservation groups to show off their aviation treasures as well as providing a forum to meet and consolidate the ties which bind this already closely knit 'community'. As would be expected, aircraft from Scandinavia played a major part in the weekend's activities, and participants included two DC-3s restored in full Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) markings. From Vaerlose in Denmark came OY-BPB "Arv Viking" (c/n 20019), a former Royal Danish Air Force C-47A, now operated by the Danish Dakota Friends for its owners Foreningen for Flyende Museers Fly, followed by the immaculate SE-CFP "Fridtjof Viking" (c/n 13883), owned and operated by Sweden's Flygande Veteraner and wearing the highly polished metal finish more representative of period SAS markings. Fellow Swede, Ake Jansson, brought his brightly coloured Douglas C-47B 9Q-CUK (c/n 33445) to Malmo, wearing striking 'national colours' of yellow fuselage top and 'SAS style' cheatline. Operated from Vallentuna airfield twenty miles north of Stockholm by Vallentuna Aviatorforening, this particular Dakota was previously owned by Transports Aeriens Zairois and was one of a pair rescued by Ake from Zaire in late September 1991 following a military coup.

Dakota Norway, owners and operators of the exceptionally smart LN-WND (c/n 11750), flew their aircraft to Malmo from their Sandefjord-Torp base. Adorned in a simple red and blue scheme representing the Norwegian national colours, the highly polished finish of this elderly lady was a sight to behold. Completing the 'local' attendees was OH-LCH (c/n 6346), a former Finnish Air Force Douglas C-53C Skytrooper and one of two examples owned by Airveteran OY restored with the full markings of Aero OY, better known by their operating name of Finnish Air Lines/Finnair, and operated from their base at Helsinki. Finally, the furthest traveller to Malmo was the France DC-3 Association's C-47A F-GDPP (c/n 9172), which brought a lucky party of association members from its home base at Orly. With simple titling on the port side only, this aircraft still retains the plain white top and polished natural metal undersides first applied when imported into France from the Central African Republic in 1983, where she had flown as part of the Governmental flight.

Sadly, not all the aircraft or organisations invited were able to attend. A party of fourteen from the 1st Austrian DC-3 Dakota Club did make the journey, however, as their own aircraft OE-LBC (the former N86U) "Edelweiss" is not airworthy and remains on display at Salzburg. The loss of the Dutch Dakota Association's aircraft last year naturally cast a sad note over the whole weekend, not only for those absent friends but, in the aftermath of the tragedy, temporary restrictions by the Dutch authorities precluded full operation of the DDA's other aircraft. It was also very disappointing to see no involvement from either of the UK's DC-3 operators, evidently the distance involved making the venture too costly an exercise as both companies needed to make an early decision based on passenger interest at the time of the invitation. That said, however, the sight of six superbly restored and beautifully turned out Dakotas was complemented by the arrival of Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung's rare Junkers Ju-52/3m, which flew in from Berlin for the second day of the event. This valuable vintage masterpiece took her place alongside the assorted Douglas products and added much to the atmosphere and mood of this wonderful celebration of commercial 'yesteryear'. Seeing the corrugated skin of the aged 'Iron Annie' alongside the relative sophistication of the Douglas product helped to give a vivid illustration of just how significant the DC-3 was to commercial air travel then, and remains so to this very day.

The DC-3 Meeting and Big Bird Fly-In was, without doubt, a huge success and a credit to all who took part. Bjorn Brenemark is confident that this initial gathering is merely a starting point for a bigger and better event next year. Watch this space!
Participating DC-3s

Denmark OY-BPB   C-47A-85-DL, c/n 20019 43-15553 D09Apr44 - ATC 14Apr44 Norway 20Apr45 - 43-15553 R Norwegian AF "X" - 20 Tpt Fit 24May45 - DNL Ll60ct46 - LN-IAT DNL "Nordfind" R090ct47/B 15Dec48 - SAS "Terje Viking" 01Aug48 - K-682 R Danish AF 16Sep53 Esk 721 (1979) - OY-BPB Bohnstedt-Petersen L03Mar83 (to fly in camouflage).
Finland OH-LCH Airveteran DC-3A-453, c/n 6346, NC34953 PAA ntu - 43-2003 C-53C 27Dec42 - N Atl Wg ATC 29May43 - European Wg ATC 30Nov43 - 8thAF lOOct44 - Oberpfaff. OlJan48 - FLC 14Jun48 -OH-LCH Aero O/y/Finnair D14Jun48 - St 31Dec60 to 25Jun63 - DO-ll Finnish AF 29Jul70.
France F-GDPP DC-3 Association C-47A-1-DL, c/n 9172, 42-23310, D 06 Mar 43 - 8th AF 23 Nov 43 - G-AGZF Scottish A/L, Prestwick, R 18 Dec 45 - WZ984 for trooping purposes - French AF 15 Oct 52. Probably flew as 141406 D 01 Nov 52 - CIET 340 May 54 - GLAM 1/60 "FRAFC" Aug 54 - GLA 45 May 56 - GT3/62 "FRASL" Mar 57 - GLA 45 "FSCDA" Oct 58 - GLAM 1/60 "FRAFH" Nov 60 - GTLA 2/60 "FRAJN/JI" Mar 64 - GLAM 1/60 "F-RAFN" - 1966 to Sept 68 - St Chateaudun 1971 - F-BRGN Rousseau Avn 1972 ntu - TL-JBB Pres de la Rep CentraL Afrique R Jul 75 - TL-AAX Inter RCA, Bangui Jul 80 - F-ODQE 1983 ntu - F-GDPP ACE Transvalair R 03 May 1984 - Noted at La Ferte Alaise, 09-11 Jun 2000 – ACE Transvalair op for DHL; >Air Inter lsd?; Rr F-AZTE photographed in bare metal with RAF roundel and fin flash, and serial KJ994, June 2005, France.
Norway LN-WND Dakota Norway C-53D-DO, c/n 11750 42-68823 D29Jun43 - 8th AF 080ct43 - FLC Finland 14Jun48 - OH-LCG Aero O/y t/a Finnair Dl9Jul48 - DO-9 Finnish AF 18Jun69 for National Board of Survey.
Sweden SE-CFP Flygande Veteraner Foundation C-47A-DL; c/n 13883, 43-30732 DO5Oct43 - Oran 20Nov43 - 9th AF 20Feb44 - USA 23Sep45 - RFC 29Oct45 Canadair Ltd - LN-IAF DNL "Nordfugi" 12Sep46 SAS "Fridtjof Viking" 01Aug48 - SE-CFP Linieflyg L 13Aug57 - 79006 R Swedish AF, F7 Wg Tpt Sq 29Jun60 - 13th Wg "76" (1978). - SE-CFP Stiftelsen Flygande Veteraner, Bromma, R26Jun84. (SE-CFP has data plate giving C-47A-60-DL, a block number not previously quoted, but it fits the next batch, starting at 18899). A/c flies in SAS c/s as ‘Fridtjof Viking', and is used for pleasure flights for Flygande Veteraner members.
Sweden 9Q-CUK   C-47B-35-DK, c/n 16697/33445, 44-77113 D08Jun45 - KP227 RAF MontrealllJun45 - UK 22Jun45 - 437 Sq 05Sep45435 Sq RCAF 07 Apr46 - Canada 20Ju146 - xx -12906 CAF Jun70 - xx - N99665 Basler Flt Svces, (Jun77) H Kalicak Constru, St Louis, MO R08Jul77 – Rr 9Q-CUK – Rr ES-AKE
Air Malta Miaco Non-Miaco DC-3s Military C-47s/C-117s 50th Anniversary - Europe 50th Anniversary - Canada Odyssey 86 1997 Gathering in Sweden The Last Time DC-3s abroad Avion Barbara Airkenya ends DC-3 services Project DST
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