The Imperial War Museum at Duxford near Cambridge was humming to the sound of radial piston engines on 4th and 5th June as one of the largest gatherings of Douglas DC-3 and C-47 aircraft gathered for the Daks Over Normandy event.
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944, the aircraft came together from across Europe and the US and went on to fly across the English Channel to Normandy, overflying the beaches where the landings took place and gathering at Caen Airport for a similar event.
I travelled down to Duxford to take in the gathering, being a big fan of vintage airliners.
The journey was slightly frustrating, taking nearly two hours to cover the last ten miles into the car parks as all the local roads became gridlocked with the thousands of visitors (who had all pre-booked tickets and parking, so it’s not like Duxford were unaware how many were coming!).
Once inside the crowds were huge, and the lineup of DC-3s impressive. But here came the second disappointment – the aircraft were all well away from the public, which was good for getting clean photographs, but bad for those who wanted to get up close and personal to these historic machines – some of which actually took part in D-Day.
The third disappointment was the lack of any scenic flights onboard the DC-3 aircraft. This would have been a nice touch, and the website hinted that it would be possible.
That being said, it was great to see nearly 30 aircraft gathered and various air displays happening throughout the two days with the aircraft.
Finally, all of the aircraft departed en masse to Normandy on the afternoon of 5th June. It was an awesome sight and sound!
While there, it was a chance to have another look at Duxford’s excellent collections of some of the world’s most historic aircraft. I’ll write a separate post about that, and the scenic Dragon Rapide flight I took.
In the meantime, here are some pictures of the aircraft that took part.
Here’s a list of participating aircraft which came to Duxford:
F-AZOX DC-3 Chalair
HA-LIX Li-2 Malev
LN-WND C-53D “Little Egypt” Dakota Norway
N62CC C-47 “Virginia Ann”
N103NA C-47 “Flabob Express”
N18121 DC-3A Polished metal
N24320 DC-3 “Miss Montana” Johnson Flying Service
N25641 DC-3A “Liberty” Legend Airways
N33611 DC-3 “Clipper Tabitha May” Pan American
N431HM DC-3 Swissair
N45366 C-53D “D-Day Doll” USAF
N473DC C-47 “Drag ’em Oot”
N47E C-47A “Miss Virginia”
N47SJ C-47 “Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber”
N74589 C-47 “Placid Lassie”
N8336C C-53DO “The Spirit of Benovia” Civil Air Transport
N877MG DC-3 Pan American
N47TB C-47 “That’s All Brother”
OH-LCH DC-3A Finnish Airlines
OY-BPB DC-3 “Gamle Dame”
SE-CFP DC-3 Scandinavian Airlines