IAF’s ‘Parashurama’ makes comeback at Prayagraj flypast

| Updated: 09 October, 2023 12:03 pm IST

PRAYAGRAJ: The 91st Indian Air Force (IAF) Day anniversary flypast in Prayagraj witnessed a momentous event as the iconic Dakota DC-3 VP 905, affectionately named ‘Parashurama,’ graced the skies.

This aircraft, restored in 2018, occupies a distinctive place in the history of aviation in India. It was gifted to the IAF by the Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, whose father, Air Commodore (retd) M K Chandrasekhar, served as a Dakota pilot in the IAF, adding a unique familial connection to this historic aircraft.

Of particular note is the fact that the Dakota DC-3, affectionately known as the “Gooney Bird,” holds the distinction of being the IAF’s first major transport aircraft. It played pivotal roles in the 1947 Kashmir conflict and the 1971 Bangladesh War.

The Dakota DC-3 is a twin-engine propeller-driven airliner manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company. It was first introduced in 1935 and quickly became one of the most successful airliners in history. The Dakota was also widely used as a military transport aircraft during World War II and other conflicts.

The Dakota DC-3 VP 905 was originally acquired and restored in the United Kingdom. It was the last of its kind sold as scrap in 2010 when the Dakota fleet was retired from service. In 2011, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar initiated efforts to purchase a Dakota that was available for sale in Ireland, with the aim of preserving this historical aircraft.

READ MORE: Indian Air Force Day: IAF Celebrates Milestone with Focus on Modernization and Service

Although initially facing rejection due to a lack of precedent, the proposal to gift the Dakota aircraft to the IAF at Minister Chandrasekhar’s own expense received support from then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who later approved its full restoration.

The Dakota DC-3 VP 905 was formally inducted into the IAF’s Vintage Squadron at Air Force Station Hindon on May 4, 2018. It has since participated in several air shows and flypasts, including the IAF Day flypast in Prayagraj on October 8, 2023.

The Dakota DC-3 VP 905 is a cherished symbol of the IAF’s rich history and heritage. It is a testament to the dedication and perseverance of those who worked tirelessly to restore this iconic aircraft and preserve it for future generations.

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