Bhubaneswar, Jan 29 (LocalWire) The Odisha government has begun with the process ofbringing back the Gooney Bird ‘Dakota.’
Let us know some interesting facts about Biju Babu’s favourite Dakota:
The Dakota was built in the Douglas plant in Oklahoma City in 1944 and was delivered to the USAF on April 14, 1944.
It was soon ferried to the Royal Indian Air Force as KG566 on April 30, 1944.
The Aircraft had suffered significant damage in a fire in 1945, but was put back in service later on.
It was still in use until the end of the Second World War, after which it was handed over to the Indian Air Force which used it for transportation for some time before selling it off to a private operator called A.W. India.
From A. W. India, it went over to the Nalanda Airlines via the India Overseas Airline, being finally occupied by the Air Survey Company of India Ltd., who stripped offthe plane’s interiors and used it as a survey craft for the next ten years.
The Dakota had several nicknames, including America’s ‘Gooney Bird,’ ‘Old Fatso,’ ‘Skytrooper,’ etc. The Royal Canadian Air Force termed it as ‘The Flying Elephants,’ while the French called it ‘The Beast.’
Biju Babu’s emotion for Dakota:
Biju Babu used this plane to ferry cargo and passengers under the Kalinga Banner between Calcutta and Agartala.
Biju flew to Jogjakarta on his rescue mission along with his wife, Gyan Patnaik. He used his Dakota to rescue Sultan Sjahrir, the former prime minister of Indonesia from a jungle hideout in 1947.
To reach Jogjakarta, Biju had to fly over the Dutch occupiedJakarta. He was well aware that the Dutch might try to shoot down his airplane.
On his way to Jakarta, he was surrounded by the Dutch planes.
But he flew the Dakota to such heights that the Dutch pilots failed to catch him. Biju completed the rescue missionreturning to India via Singapore on July 24, 1947.
Indonesia honoured Biju Patnaik with its highest civilian honour, the Bhumiputra, for his bravery.
Editing by Meenal Singh