Canadian D-Day Dakota flies again

On June 3, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM) performed its first post-restoration flight with its D-Day veteran C-47 Dakota, RCAF FZ692.

During its first post-restoration flight on June 3, the C-47 Dakota FZ692 performed flawlessly. Eric Dumigan Photo
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With museum CEO David Rohrer at the controls and pilot Bill Craig in the right seat, the C-47 flew flawlessly.

On June 6, the aircraft will lead the museum’s Avro Lancaster and B-25 Mitchell, along with several current RCAF aircraft, in a flypast to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Canada’s participation in D-Day.

Serving with Royal Air Force squadron 233, Dakota FZ692 was one of 30 aircraft from the squadron that participated in Operation Overlord, the invasion of German-occupied France.

The Dakota was piloted by Canadian J.S.R. McRae and landed paratroopers in Touffreville, France, behind German lines.

Museum president Dave Rohrer, right, and pilot Bill Craig helped FZ692 stretch her wings after a long restoration. Eric Dumigan Photo

By September 1944, the Dakota was transferred to RCAF 437 Squadron and flew over 200 operational trips transporting casualties, repatriated prisoners and supplies.

Post war, FZ692 became 12945 in the RCAF and flew with 424 Squadron at CFB Trenton, Ont. The Air Force retired the airframe in 1973.

Environment Canada operated the Dakota for the next 40 years for environmental surveys.

Realizing the historical significance of the airframe, the Canadian government donated FZ692 to the CWHM in 2014. Since then, the museum has removed all non-standard internal fittings installed by Environment Canada, overhauled both engines and painted the airframe in its 1944 RCAF 437 Squadron markings.

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The Dakota boasts a well-equipped avionics package. Eric Dumigan Photo

FZ692 is the only combat veteran in the museum’s fleet of Canadian military aircraft and will soon be available for flight experience rides. The Dakota will be formally dedicated on July 6 during the CWHM’s annual Air Force Day event.

Read our previous coverage here.

 

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