In June 2019 the silver bird with the Norwegian registration LN-WND returns to Normandy for the second time since 2014. It is owned and operated by the non-commercial foundation called «Dakota Norway». This is a member`s organization and may take members on scenic flights and member` trips to airshows and events throughout Scandinavia and Europe. For several years this fine bird has been a regular participant in the «Flying Legends» airshow at Duxford, UK.
Following the Second World War, after five years of occupancy, the demand for public transport in Norway was huge. The authorities purchased three Douglas C-53D troop carriers and this aircraft is of the same type. She is now decorated with the same signs and colors of these three aircrafts.
The signs are of The Royal Air Force 20th Transport Squadron, but the Norwegian planes were not a part of the RAF squadron. On the contrary, the name was a continuation of the Luftwaffe’s 20 Transport Flieger Geschwader, which was the German air transport capacity based at Oslo`s airfield Fornebu during WWII.
The new Dakotas were flown by Norwegian pilots and the first aircraft arrived in Norway during May and June 1945.
Our C-53D-DO Skytrooper, c/n 11750, US Army Air Force NO 42-68823, was rolled out of the factory in Santa Monica in 1943 and was accepted by the USAAF on June 28th of that same year. She left the USA on September 26, 1943 and arrived with the 8th Air Force in the UK on October the 8th 1943.
Last year new information about the aircrafts war-duty arrived from Dan Buckhiester from the USA. Dan’s father, Wendell M. Buckhiester, flew this aircraft as a VIP transport with General Ralph Royce, who was the deputy commander of the Allied Expeditionary Air Forces. Its headquarter was in France and the name/nose art on the aircraft was «Little Egypt».
After WWII, the aircraft was stored with the US forces in Germany and in 1948 was purchased by the Finnish airline Finnair. From 1948 up to 1985 it flew on domestic and international routes with Finnair. She has also been in service with the Finnish Air Force, among others as a VIP aircraft for president Uhro Kekkonen.
In 1985 the airplane was purchased by two Norwegian pilots Thore Virik and Arne Karlsen, who also founded the Foundation and a member`s organization in 1986.
Dakota Norway is a non-commercial organizationwith one very important goal: to keep this aircraft airworthy and flying. Every penny we can make goes into the operation of the aircraft. Everyone who is participating in operating LN-WND is doing this on a voluntary basis.
Since 1986 we do pleasure flights every week during the summer season in the area of our base, Torp airfield, which is located 100 km. South of Oslo, along the Oslofjord.
These flights are open to our 2.000 members. When boarding the aircraft for such a flight, you will become a member. On a regular basis we also make domestic and international flights to airshows in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the UK.