Historic Dakota DC-3 ‘Parashurama’ Takes to the Skies at 91st IAF Day Anniversary Flypast in Prayagraj

BY | Monday, 9 October, 2023
Image: Twitter

The 91st Indian Air Force Day anniversary flypast in Prayagraj on October 8 featured the iconic Dakota DC-3 VP 905, which was restored and refurbished in 2018, informed the Press Information Bureau (PIB). This remarkable aircraft was gifted to the Indian Air Force by Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

On Friday, May 4, 2018, the Dakota DC-3, named ‘Parashurama’ after the sixth avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, was officially welcomed into the IAF’s Vintage Squadron at Air Force Station Hindan, marked by its distinctive tail number VP 905.

According to Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, “The Dakota aircraft holds a legendary status due to its significant role in India’s history, particularly during the 1947/48 events involving Pakistan’s efforts to gain control of Jammu and Kashmir. Today, under the command of Wing Commander D Dhankhar, the Dakota and its crew soar through the historic skies of Prayagraj.”

Mention may be made that Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s father Air Commodore (retd) M K Chandrasekhar was a Dakota pilot in the IAF.

According to the PIB, Dakota DC-3 is a unique aircraft in the history of the Indian Air Force. It was acquired and meticulously restored in the UK. When the Dakota fleet was retired from service, the last of these aircraft was sold as scrap by 2010. In 2011, in a bid to preserve history, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar initiated efforts to purchase a Dakota that was up for sale in Ireland.

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Initially, his proposal to gift a Dakota aircraft to the IAF at his own expense faced rejection, citing a lack of precedent, by the then Minister of Defence, A.K. Antony. However, Manohar Parrikar, the Minister of Defence in the BJP Government, later cleared the proposal to fully restore the aircraft.

The Dakota DC-3, known as the “Gooney Bird,” was the first major transport aircraft inducted into the IAF. It played a pivotal role in the 1947 Kashmir conflict and the 1971 Bangladesh War.

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