Header image: Aero Legends C-47 Dakota KP220 will once again be spending the winter in the BBMF hangar at Coningsby. (Photo: Steve P Raper)
With the BBMF C-47 Dakota ZA947 still away undergoing its scheduled ‘Major’ servicing at Duxford and its return date slipping (the latest estimate for its return is March 2024), the BBMF has a Dakota-sized space available in its hangar at Coningsby this winter. This has permitted the Flight to repeat the agreement, which worked well last year, of offering over-winter hangarage for the Aero Legends C-47 Dakota KP220 G-ANAF, in exchange for the BBMF pilots and crews being able to conduct some pre-season training in the Dakota before air-testing the Flight’s own ‘Dak’ after its ‘Major’, and before flying the Lancaster in 2024.
Dakota KP220 is expected to arrive at Coningsby for its winter stay in November. This means that visitors to the BBMF hangar on guided tours, hosted by the BBMF Visitor Centre, will once again be able to see a Dakota in RAF D-Day markings and hear the related human stories as we approach 2024 and the 80th anniversary of the greatest-ever invasion in the history of warfare.
C-47B Dakota IV KP220 was completed too late to fly operationally in the Second World War, being delivered to the RAF in June 1945. It served with 435 Squadron RCAF (part of 46 Group RAF), based at Down Ampney and then Croydon, until March 1946 when 435 Squadron relocated to Canada. Then from March 1947 KP220 flew with 24 Squadron RAF based at Bassingbourn. In 1948-49 it took part in the Berlin Airlift with 24 Squadron. KP220 was retired from RAF service in November 1950 and became civilian-registered as G-ANAF in June 1953.