All photos me too and copyrighted
On my way back from Korenica, I had decided to stop at the abandoned Željava military airfield some 20-30 km away. I’ve always wanted to go there and now I was in the area, so what harm could a quick stop do. Quick, because 1. the weather was awful and 2. I wasn’t really prepared with maps, charts and a passport… but that’s another story, one which I will hopefully write soon, with many juicy photos. In the meantime, I had wanted to bring you a couple of photos of one poor old classic bird I’ve found there – a nowadays rather rare B model of the venerable C-47 Dakota.
The C-47B was something of a niche model in the Dakota line, produced for one thing only – flying across “The Hump”, the western ranges of the Himalayas on the often perilous WW2 India-Burma supply route. To enable to it cope with the high altitudes and longer distances, the B was uprated with supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 engines rated at the same 1,200 HP as the normally-aspirated variants, and additional fuel capacity. During WW2 they mostly served with the USAAF, while some were also transferred to the US Navy, where they served under the naval designation R4D-6 for cargo variants and R4D-7 for navigation trainers.
With the rapid downsizing of the Allies’ air forces after the war, many C-47s were disposed of at dirt-cheap prices, with the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia snapping up a few to complement it’s existing Lisunov Li-2s (DC-3s built under license in the USSR) and Li-3s (Yugoslav Li-2s re-engined with the DC-3 line’s original R-1830 engines). As far as I’ve been able to find out, most of these C-47s were B models…
One of these is our example, coded 212, so far the third ex-Yu C-47 I’ve been able to find (the others being at Otočac airfield and Belgrade airport). By the looks of it, it had been sitting here for quite awhile and is – according to a sketchy, Eyeball Mk.I analysis – beyond any reasonable repair, especially given that there are many other C-47s/C-53s/C-117s/R4Ds in better condition…
(the third Otočac-based aircraft I still haven’t photographed, but here are some shots from Airliners.net: