YESTERYEAR EXTRA - DECEMBER 1935
On the 17th of the month a twin-engined monoplane lifted off from Santa Monica airfield CA on its maiden flight. It was the Douglas DC-3 and since then the aircraft has passed on to immortal status. So much has been written on the aircraft there is little to add here in this brief tribute. With over 10,000 built and almost another 5000 under licence, the aircraft, as the DC-3, C-47 and Li-2 has given sterling service both in the commercial and military role in the farthest corners of the world. To cut to the chase, the aircraft was no stranger to Australia serving their airlines, plus the RAAF and RAN. Far North Queensland had a long association with the DC-3 and in particular Cairns. This FNQ city not only hosted DC-3’s of the ‘big two’ domestic carriers of their day plus the nation’s flag carrier on their schedules to and from New Guinea via Cairns, but became home to the legendary Bush Pilots Airways (BPA), the local operator of the type, later absorbed into Air Queensland.
It was only in the last decade that the DC-3 faded from the local scene with the demise of DC-3 Australia, the last operator of the type here. DC-3 Queensland, Splitters Creek and South Pacific were also in residence as late as the turn of the millennium. Dakota National and Pionair (NZ) were frequent visitors along with Air Nostalgia continuing their Air Safari role to the northern climbs up to the end of the last decade. In the southern states, Shortstop, based in Victoria still operate a sole example. A few images are included here just to savour the type once again and the nostalgia associated with this legendary airliner, some 80 years young.
|DC-3 in BPA trim and Air Queensland titles taxies out at Cairns|
|VH-CAN ‘Madeleine’ on loan from Splitters Creek fires up|
|Dakota National DC-3 cleans up off rw15 at Cairns|
|view from a port side window of the northern beaches at Cairns|
majestic smoke from a Cairns based DC-3 Queenland start up
|a pair of DC-3’s await their next tasking on the Cairns GA ramp|
|VH-MIN takes to the sky|
South Pacific DC-3 also wearing DC-3 Australia titles ready to taxi
|South Pacific example passing down the runway centre line|
|unmistakable profile of the legend as it goes OTT|
(NZ) on an aerial safari trip wears retro NAC Skyliner trim|
Thanks to GAFLIKS for providing this Yestayear report.