ZA947 is captured flying low through the Derwent Valley made famous as the location where the Dambusters trained for the attack on the German Dams during WW2. It had taken off at RAF Coningsby on May 15, 2011 at 10:15 before performing flypasts at Coalville, Chesterfield, Chorley and Empingham before returning to home at 12:25. / © Philip Stevens
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Douglas C-47 Dakota (ZA947) arrived back at RAF Coningsby on April 11, 2011 resplendent in a new colour scheme, following a major overhaul at Humberside over the winter months. It was then flown directly to Manchester Airport for repainting by Air Livery (Manchester). After several aborted attempts to return to its home base due to crosswinds, it arrived landed safely at Coningsby.
The new scheme is based on Dakota III (FZ692 ‘ST-UK’) of 233 Squadron which flew in support of the D-Day landings in June 1944 by towing gliders and dropping paratroops from its base at Blakehill Farm. Two aircraft from this unit were the first RAF Transport Command aircraft to land in France when they landed at B.2 airstrip on June 13, 1944. On D-Day there were 30 Dakotas from 233 on the first airlift, six were used to tow gliders the remainder carried troops.
The original FZ692 is still flying with Environment Canada, registered C-GRSB (ex USAAF 42-92489 c/n 12295). It was built by Douglas Aircraft in 1943 and delivered to RAF February 1944 and served with 233 Squadron at RAF Blakehill Farm until September 1944.
ZA947 is painted olive drab and D-Day stripes and has ‘kwicherbichen’ (Quit your bitchin) painted on the nose with ‘UK’ (‘ST-UK’ was its original code).
Previously and since 2003, ZA947 has represented an aircraft of 267 Squadron during the Mediterranean campaign reformed from the Communications Unit, at Heliopolis and was utilised for local transport duties in Egypt. It had the unit`s Pegasus symbol painted on the nose.
Source: Philip Stevens