DC-3A    PH-PBA   Sightseeing Flights 


Weeze, Sunday September 10th 2006, The Dutch Dakota Association flew some sightseeingflights from Airport Weeze to the Netherlands, from were the flight went over Boxmeer, Gemert, Helmond, Roermond en Venlo. Aircraft involved was ´PH-PBA´ the ´Royal Dakota´ wich was registered in the name of His Royalness Prince Bernard. 

This "Dakota" (English name for the DC-3) flew with the US Army Air Force (USAAF) in Operation Market Garden (the airborne assault at Arnhem in The Netherlands). It was then designated a C-47A "Skytrain" (one of the US names for this aircraft) and carried serial 42-100971 (Douglas c/n 19434).
From twenty-three air bases in England, the airborne effort commenced on September 17, 1944, and continued until September 25, 1944. On the same day, the ground operation also started from its base in Belgium. This Skytrain, coded "6E-B" operated with 316th Troop Carrier Group/44th Squadron and was part of an aerial armada of 1073 transports (imagine !), 500 gliders and about 1500 fighters. "6E-B" dropped her 16 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division on that Sunday Sept.17th 1944.
Below on the page you'll find a link to more on this, look for Dakota Squadron.
On Feb 06th 1946 this Skytrain was declared surplus and stored, possibly in Germany. It was entered in the Dutch Aviation Register as PH-PBA in the name of His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The initials are not hard to find in the registration.
In 1960 its role as Royal Air Transport was terminated as Fokker F.27 PH-PBF took over. This was fitting as Fokker Aircraft Industries was our national pride and the F.27 an excellent aircraft.
The PH-PBA flew from 1960 till 1975 as Navigational Testbed for the Dutch Civil Aviation Authorities (Rijksluchtvaart Dienst - RLD).
The "Pappa Bravo Alpha" retired to the National Aviation Museum "Aviodome" at Amsterdam Int'l Airport-Schiphol and remained there for some 20 years; first it stood outside, as a gateguard for the museum, later it went inside, disguised as the PH-TCB of KLM.
By initiative of the DDA and whole-hearted support of HRH Prince Bernhard, the PH-PBA was restored to airworthiness at Coventry by Air Atlantique (1996-1998); for this restoration a special foundation was created: Prince Bernhard Alpha Foundation.
On Nov. 13th 1998 the PH-PBA was handed over, in the presence of HRH Prince Benrhard, to the DDA (who will take care of this "Dakota" on behalf of the Foundation). The PH-PBA looks splendid in its original colourscheme and could be considered "as good as new" !

www.sgniederrhein.net (c 2006)  Foto's By: Ron Kellenaers & Rene Wilthof

 Foto: Ron Kellenaers