Douglas C-47A Dakota III (ZA947) from the RAF BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) at the RIAT 2018, RAF Fairford (United Kingdom)
The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Dakota ZA947 was constructed as a C-47A by Douglas at Long Beach, California, USA, in 1942. It was delivered to the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 7 September 1942. A little over a week later, on 16 September, it was transferred under the Lend-Lease agreement to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), re-designated as a Dakota III and allocated the RCAF serial number "661". During the Second World War Dakota "661" served entirely in Canada. After the Second World War had ended Dakota "661" was deployed to Europe with the RCAF and operated in support of the Canadian forces from 1965 until 1969 when the aircraft was declared surplus to requirements. For the next 23 years the Dakota was operated by the British Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE). Initially, it was given the RAF designation KG661, but in the late 1970s it was realized that the serial number KG661 had, in fact, previously been allocated to another Dakota which had been destroyed in an accident. The error was reported and in July 1979 the Dakota was allocated the 'modern' serial ZA947, which explains why this serial does not match the age or era of the aircraft. When the Defence Research Agency – the successor to the RAE – declared ZA947 surplus to their requirements and offered it up for disposal in 1992, the aircraft was adopted by RAF Strike Command to be issued to the BBMF. It was taken on charge by the Flight in March 1993. It serves with the BBMF as an important multi-engine tailwheel training asset, but is also a sought-after display aircraft and a flying memorial to the brave RAF personnel who flew and operated these unarmed transport aircraft during World War Two. ZA947 is now painted to represent Dakota FZ692 of No 233 Squadron, around the D-Day period in 1944. This aircraft, which was named "Kwicherbichen" by her crews, was involved in Para-dropping operations on the eve of D-Day and subsequently in re-supply and casualty evacuation missions into and out of forward airfields in the combat areas.
The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) operates from RAF Coningsby, a Typhoon and fighter base, in Lincolnshire. The mission of the RAF BBMF is to maintain the priceless artefacts of our national heritage in airworthy condition in order to commemorate those who have fallen in the service of this country, to promote the modern day Air Force and to inspire the future generations. Flown by regular serving RAF Aircrew, the BBMF operates six Spitfires, two Hurricane, a Lancaster as well as a C-47 Dakota and two Chipmunk aircraft (primarily used for training).
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is the world's largest military air show, held annually over the third weekend in July,
usually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England in support of The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.
The show typically attracts a total of 150.000 to 160.000 spectators over the weekend.
The 2018 Air Tattoo will reflect the 100th anniversary of the RAF with a commemoration
and celebration of a century of service to the United Kingdom and its allies.