To honour the homecoming of the Dakota, a grand ceremony was held at Air Force Station Hindan Yesterday. The ceremony was attended by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Senior functionaries of the MoD, diplomats from the High Commission of the UK, officers of the IAF, representatives from M/s Reflight Airworks and proud veterans of the Indian Air Force (IAF) who have operated this magnificent flying machine. The aircraft is named Parshurama.
Vintage aircraft of the IAF, Dakota DC-3 reached India on April 25 at Air Force Station Jamnagar. The aircraft was gifted by Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Rajeev Chandrashekhar to the IAF. He recovered the Dakota from scrap from the United Kingdom (UK). The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B.S Dhanoa had ceremonially accepted the aircraft in February this year. The Dakota DC-3 joined the vintage air fleet of the force.
The vintage fleet was raised in Palam in 1988. Dakota were inducted in No 12 Squadron of the IAF in 1946. The aircraft rendered invaluable service during 1947 Kashmir Operation. The aircraft rendered yeoman service towards evacuation of thousands of displaced refugees from Srinagar and Leh.
A large fleet of Dakota DC-3 served in the IAF till 1988. It was one of the most versatile transport aircraft of its time. The first Dakota aircraft transferred the 1st Sikh Regiment to Srinagar during the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan in 1947 just after India’s independence. It is World War II-era aircraft, which was built in 1944. It also served in the United Kingdom’s (UK) Royal Air Force.
Chandrashekhar’s father Air Commodore M K Chandrasekhar (Retired) was a veteran Dakota pilot in the IAF. It will bear the tail number VP 905, the same one which the first such Dakota which transported troops to Srinagar on October 27, 1947.