“The Dakota Restoration Team”

“Dakota KN451 as it sat at the Canadian Aviation Museum in 2003 prior to disassembly”

“Disassembly was completed by the crew from 14 Air Maintenance Squadron in Greenwood shown here after the aircraft was loaded on to flt bed trucks for the trip to Greenwood”

“Dakota KN451 fuselage arrives safely in Greenwood”



The Greenwood Military Aviation Museum Air Park now displays its version of the venerable Douglas C-47 Dakota (military version of the famous DC-3), arguably one of the most reliable aircraft ever built; indeed, some are still flying after more than 70 years. Following the Aviation Museum’s mandate of displaying aircraft, or aircraft types, flown from Station Greenwood, or by Greenwood's squadrons overseas, during its history dating back to 1941, this Dakota represents one flown by 103 Rescue Unit at RCAF Station Greenwood from 1947 through the 1960's. The colour scheme shows the Day-Glo fluorescent orange wing tips and horizontal stabilizer, as well as a wide rear fuselage band, thought at the time to be highly visible as an aid to lost souls needing help; this notion was found to be of little benefit as the fluorescence quickly faded, turning yellowish, and the practice was discontinued for regular red paint. The color scheme also displays the familiar RCAF double lightning bolt, separating the white top and grey bottom of the fuselage. To inspire courage in survivors and to let them know that help was on the way, the word RESCUE was prominently displayed along each side of the fuselage - a practice still in use today. This display aircraft's interior will be open to the public on special occasions, when visitors may view a magnificently restored flight deck, a navigator's station and a period-equipped radio operator's station.


  • This Douglas Dakota Mk IV, C-47B-30-DK Skytrain serial number (s/n) 44-76590 (c/n 16174/32922), was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1944 for the United States Army Air Force (USAAF).
  • Transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF) 26 March 1945 and flown to Dorval, P.Q. 27 March, the aircraft was ferried to the United Kingdom 8 November after repairs. Here it was given the new tail code KN451 and re-designated a Dakota Mk IV.
  • KN451 was taken on strength (TOS) with No. 436 ‘Elephant’ (Transport) Squadron 12 February 1946 at R.A.F. Station Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England. This Squadron was part of the R.C.A.F.’s No. 120 (Transport) Wing, which in turn belonged to No. 46 (T) Group of R.A.F. Transport Command and maintained a detachment of aircraft at R.A.F Station Biggin Hill, Kent. 436 Squadron re-located to R.A.F. Station Odiham, Hampshire 4 April 1946, where it remained flying Dakotas until disbandment 22 June 1946.
  • Transferred from No. 436 to No. 435 ‘Chinthe’ (T) Squadron at R.A.F. Station Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England on 17 March 1946, KN 451 (ODM H) was assigned to the same higher authorities as its previous squadron, also part of the R.C.A.F.’s No. 120 (T) Wing. 435 Squadron was disbanded at R.A.F. Station Down Ampney 1 April 1946.
  • Dakota KN451 was purchased by the Canadian government 7 April 1946 and flown back to Canada and now designated a Dakota Mk. IVU; the ‘U’ denoting an instructional aircraft. The aircraft may have been held in storage for a short period and then assigned to 426 Squadron, RCAF Station Dartmouth (now 12 Wing Shearwater) of Eastern Air Command’s No. 9 (Transport) Group 5 August 1947.
  • "Ghost" lettering VC-CDF discovered and recorded on the underside of KN451's wings while paint stripping, indicates that it was the personal aircraft of the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) No. 10 Group at RCAF Station Dartmouth; at that time from 31 May 1947 to 31 March 1949 that was Air Commodore F. G. Wait CBE. Later, 451 was also the personal aircraft of AOC Central Air Command.
  • On 1 November 1950, KN451was designated an instructional airframe at the Technical Training School, Camp Borden as Dakota 655B; in August 1964, it was moved to the Canadian Aviation Museum (CAM) in Ottawa where it remained outdoors for the next 20 years.



KN451 was obtained from the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa in 2003. "Negotiations to acquire Dakota 655B from the C.A.M. for the Greenwood Military Aviation Museum began late in 2003 and, in Jan 2004, the transfer was agreed to and preparations for the move began. By mid- September 2006, most of the aircraft had arrived at Greenwood, and a restoration crew was assembled and a survey of what would be needed for the restoration began. During the disassembly of the Dakota in Ottawa, the wing box was damaged beyond repair and the search for a replacement took 3 years; Joe McBryan of Buffalo Airways in Hay River, N.W.T. donated a used wing box to the project.The restoration team was led first by Eric Welin and later by Russ Keddy. The team included Bill Flinn, Chuck Calder, Bob McElman, Doc McKeil, Brian Troniak, Dave Richards, and Sophie Demers-Saulnier. The fantastic paint job was accomplished by a volunteer team from 14 AMS led by Cpl Claude Aucoin and Cpl Alex Gagne.


“Colonel Ian Huddleston, Wing Commander, 14 Wing accepts Dakota KN-451 from the

Museum restoration team for display in the Air Park”