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Vintage aircraftDakota makes historical landing at Air Force station Ojhar

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General News | February 9, 2019 7:11:41 PM IST
Dakota aircraft, rechristened as 'Parashurama' after its resurrection, made its maiden landing at the Air Force Station here on Friday.

The aircraft was flown by Group Capt Ajay Menon who is among one of the few pilots that can fly Dakota. It will proceed to Bengaluru for the Aero India Show.

Dakota was inducted in the Indian Air Force in 1944. Its role in World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever produced.

It was the first major transport aircraft inducted in the IAF. It is a fixed-wing, propeller-driven airliner and twin-engine metal monoplane with a tail wheel type landing gear that revolutionised air transport in the 1930s and 1940s.

Its ability to operate from short runways made it the most versatile transport aircraft in that period. The aircraft had glorious innings during the first Indo-Pak conflict of 1947.

On October 27, 1947, the first three Dakotas of No. 12 Squadron took off from Safdarjung Airfield for Srinagar carrying troops of the first battalion of the Sikh Regiment. During that period, there were no landing facilities in Leh, other than the 2,300 yards airstrip made in April 1948.

The risks involved in landing were enormous. On May 30, 1948, Air Commodore Mehar Singh created aviation history when he flew a Dakota with no de-icing facilities, no pressurisation and no route maps.

The plane landed in Leh on a sandy strip next to Indus river at the height of 11,540 feet.

The Dakotas were modified to carry bombs in their cargo bay and cargo handlers were trained to roll out the bombs out of the doors onto the target below. Thus began the saga of air operations over the worlds most inhospitable terrain.

To revive its glorious history, the decommissioned aircraft was resurrected in 2011 and restored to flying condition in Britain. On February 13 last year, the Chief of Air Staff ceremonially accepted the aircraft into the IAF from Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar, son of Air Commodore M K Chandrasekhar (retd), who was a Dakota pilot. (ANI)

 
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