We at Dakota feel that it is important for you to know your heritage and where you come from. Therefore we feel that it is appropriate for us to share with you where our name comes from with a brief overview of our heritage. Douglas made the DC-3 plane. As they introduced their novel concept of the DC series in 1933 with the DC-1 followed by a series production of the DC-2 in 1934, the company realised they had a ground breaking design on their hands. The DC-2 was the twin engine, all metal aircraft with state of the art features such as retractable landing gear and variable pitch propellers in a streamlined and smooth design that the world had never seen before.

Dakotas were built until 1946; there is no other transport in the world that equals its ruggedness and longevity. The aircraft is still operational in numbers in this new age, after 70 years of public service in both war and peace. The fact that they are still in use today is a testament to their brilliant robust design.

However, the aircraft that dominated American civil aviation in the early 1930’s were the Trimotors from Fokker and Ford, made of tubular steel frames, clad with canvas and ply-wood. Their appearance as flying string bags turned archaic overnight once the shiny and clean DC-2 arrived in the field. The rapid advance of aviation technology yielded an even more dramatic turn of the tide as the stretched versions of the successful DC-2 arrived in 1936. It was this DC-3 that would change the world of aviation once and for all, with a speed, a payload and a range that almost doubled when compared to the earlier generation of Trimotors.

Lawson Field, Fort Benning, Georgia, August 1946....At the command of their jump leader these twenty-one students of the Airborne School climb aboard a waiting Douglas C-47 of the 75th Troop Carrier Squadron which will take them up for a practice jump. After losing its cargo the plane will return quickly and pick up another load of jumpers without waiting long enough to turn off its motor.

Lawson Field, Fort Benning, Georgia, August 1946

History took the DC-3 into WWII, making it a military cargo/paratrooper aircraft (the C-47) that was built in massive numbers of 17,000 or more. The result of this was that after the war, the market was flushed with a versatile and reliable transport aircraft that could be purchased for an extremely low cost. Until today, the survival of this aircraft into the New Age can be declared by that high production numbers and its reputation as a 3-tons payload transport that can land on almost any piece of land, sand, gravel or grass.

In his memoirs, General Dwight Eisenhower cited the C-47 as one of the most important instruments of victory over Nazi Germany. Until the debut of the four engine Douglas C-54, which did not enter service until 1944, the Dakota C-47 was the most capable transport aircraft of World War II. Beyond doubt it was the most versatile operationally and the most important strategically.

Many people could argue that the ground-breaking design behind the Dakota C-47 would be one of the many contributing factors to the allied victory. We are extremely privileged and honoured to have such a prestigious and important namesake. The C-47 is still one of the most beautiful designs that will be remembered for a long time, just like the refurbishment going on at our building.