History of C-47A 43-48234

Douglas C-47A 43-48234

The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) received C-47A ’43-48234’, off the production line at Oklahoma City, in 1944. The aircraft was assigned to the Pacific Theatre as part of the 22nd Airlift Squadron.


Based out of Port Moresby and Finschhafen Airfield, PNG, the aircraft was used for troop transport, medical evacuations, aerial supply drops and the carrying of cargo. In late 1944 while in New Guinea the aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision with another C-47 during a mission.  The fin of this aircraft struck the wing of the other, with both aircraft landing safely. Neither aircraft knew they had collided until the damage was seen after landing, proving the rugged reliability of the C-47’s design.


C-47 Finschhafen 20091944


Following the war the aircraft was sold as surplus to the Commonwealth of Australia, gaining the civilian registration of VH-DMV, in 1947. The aircraft was registered to the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA – now Civil Aviation Safety Authority, CASA) and operated by Trans Australian Airlines on DCA’s behalf. DCA used the aircraft for navigation aid and landing system testing, and for pilot training. In 1951 the aircraft’s registration was changed to VH-CAO, due to DMV being the initials of a member of the political ‘opposition’ of the time.




The aircraft began its career as a freighter in 1962 when the aircraft was purchased by Brain and Brown Air Freighters of Melbourne, the new registration of VH-BAB was applied. It mostly carried cargo across the Bass Straight to Tasmania.



The aircraft was withdrawn from use after 35 years, and in 1980 began its retirement as a museum piece. The aircraft initially went to Chewing Gum Air Museum where it was restored to airworthy status and flown one last time to Wangaratta where it became part of Drage’s Air World in the mid 1980s. When Air World ceased operating in 2002 the aircraft was transported by road to North Queensland Warbirds, at Mareeba.

In 2014 David Kingshott purchased the aircraft and established Pacific Dakota Restorations.  The aircraft was trucked from Mareeba to Caboolture, with the generous assistance of ‘Heavy Haulage Australia’.

The aircraft, is undergoing an extensive restoration.  With the aim to be part of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy in 2019.  Click to see dedicated post regarding the Normandy Trip.