TP 79 Douglas ”DC-3” Dakota (1949-1984)
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Swedish Air Force Transport Aircraft TP 79 - Douglas DC-3 / C-47

This famous design, popularly called the ”DC-3” was an airliner that, more or less converted, became the most important transport aircraft of the Allied forces during WWII. 10.349 aircraft were produced in the USA. The most common variants were the C-47 Skytrain and the C-53 Skytrooper. Further 2.000-3.000 were built in Russia (designated Li-2) and Japan (Showa L2D). The RAF used the Dakota as the official name of the aircraft. 

After the war, a large number of this dependable aircraft, now sold cheaply as surplus,  continued to fly for civilian and military operators. The Swedish Air Force bought totally eight Dakotas. The first two in 1949 and the last one 1975 - 26 years later. The Dakota got the Swedish designation TP 79 and the aircraft got the Air Force numbers 79001-79008.  

The first two TP 79s were modified during the winter and spring of 1950 to ELINT (ELectronic INTelligence) aircraft. The work was done by the Workshops of the Air Force at Västerås (CVV). The ELINT crew that flew with the Dakotas belonged to FRA (Försvarets Radioanstalt = the Radio Establishment of the Defence).

In June 1952, 79001 disappeared over the Baltic Sea during an ELINT mission. Now we know that a Soviet fighter shot down the aircraft. A Catalina (Tp 47), searching for the missing Dakota, was in its turn shot down by a Soviet MiG-15. A German merchant ship saved the crew of the Catalina. The wreck of the Dakota was located on the 10th of June 2003 at the sea bottom east of Gotska Sandön. On the 19th of March 2004, is was successfully salvaged by the Swedish Navy.

The other six TP 79s were - besides transport of materials and personnel - used for the training of parachutists, development of new avionics, VIP-transports, training of navigators etc.  

The TP 79 was powered by two Pratt & Whitney  STW-C3 engines, each delivering 1.065 bhp.    

Photo at top: An unique picture of # 79002 fitted with equipment for ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare).

Three of the Swedish Dakotas are preserved - 79002, 79006 and 79007. # 79007 (c/n 13647) is exhibited at Flygvapenmuseum and still carries its military marking (photo at bottom).

Length: 19,65 m. Span: 28,95 m. Height: 5,20 m. MTOW 11.450 kg. Max. speed: 350 km/h. 


For the Model Builder

ESCI has produced a plastic model kit of TP 79/C-47 Dakota with Swedish decals (# 79008, code 78 of Wing F 13) in scale 1/72. Catalouge number 9096. Click on the thumbnail for larger image.

ESCI plastic model kit of Douglas C-47 including the Swedish Air Force variant TP 79

Stamp depicting C-47-DL, "DC-3", TL-AAD which belonged to Compangnie Centreé Africaine Air Bangu 1966-1971.

This stamp from 1967 depicts DC-3 (or more correct C-47-DL) TL-AAD from the Central African Republic. The aircraft was built in USA during WWII and had the US AF number 41-38753. After the war it was sold to France as F-BBBE.

The air line
Compangnie Centreé Africaine Air Bangu was formed by Air Afrique and the French airline UTA in 1966. In 1967, it stared a service between Bangui and five other domestic places with this aircraft, which it served the company until 1971. The name is nowadays Air Centrafrique and is the national flag carrier for the country.

Swedish Air Force Transport Aircraft TP 79 - Douglas DC-3 / C-47
  # 79007 at Flygvapenmuseum (Swedish Air Force Museum), Malmen, Linköping


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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-09-21