Aviation fans have been treated to a rare sight this weekend. A World War Two Dakota has had both its engines started up in public for the first time since it arrived in our region more than a decade ago. Grace Melody-Gardner reports.
The director of the Yorkshire Air Museum has paid tribute to his dedicated team of aviation enthusiasts who have worked on a World War Two Dakota before today's first public starting of the plane's engines. Ian Reed says people who have witnessed it have described it as a fantastic experience.
The Yorkshire Air Museum in York has successfully tested both engines of its World War Two Dakota plane in public for the first time. The plane has been restored and repainted over the past 12 years. Each engine was tested in isolation but despite last minute tweaks would not start simultaneously.
A team of engineers has been working to restore the Dakota since December 2001 when the Yorkshire Air Museum acquired the aeroplane.
– Ian Reed, Museum Director
When I first obtained this aircraft by a chance telephone call to Coventry in 2001, I could not have imagined the work which our dedicated team of aircraft engineers would have to put in to get it to this high standard of restoration – it is truly a great credit to them, and I especially congratulate the project leader George Astley MBE for his determination and skill.”
Delivered to RAF Toronto in January 1945, the Dakota served with the Allied Far East Command during WWll before undertaking a series of roles as a civil airliner. After 54 years of service, the aircraft last flew in January 1999 on pollution control duties with Air Atlantique based at Coventry.
The retired aircraft was then used for spares until Air Atlantique’s Dakota fleet was finally retired.
On a chance telephone call, the offer was made to the Yorkshire Air Museum to take one of these and ‘AMY J’ was chosen because of the historic resonance of the initials – Amy Johnson, the Hull born legendary aviator. It has been undergoing restoration at the Yorkshire Air Museum since December 2001.
The first public engine firing of the iconic Douglas DC3 'Dakota' is taking place at the Yorkshire Air Museum. The aeroplane has undergone a 12 year restoration and the engine firing will be the first step in the aircraft being able to take part in regular events at the museum.