Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar has gifted a DC3 Dakota aircraft, bearing the tail number VP 905 and called Parashurama, to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to be part of its Vintage fleet.
The gift deed was signed between Chief of the Air Staff of the IAF Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, and Air Commodore (retd) M.K. Chandrasekhar, who is also Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s father, and a Dakota pilot himself.
The MP gifted the restored WW2 Dakota aircraft’s papers and deed to Chief of Air Staff on behalf of his father. This tail number (VP-905) is the same as the first Dakota aircraft which transported troops of a Sikh regiment to Srinagar on 27 October 1947 in the Jammu & Kashmir operations.
On that day, three Dakotas of No. 12 Sqn took off from Wellingdon airfield (Safdarjung) for Srinagar signalling the start of the IAF operations in the 1947-48 Indo-Pak war. Before the end of the day, 28 Dakota sorties were flown (including six civilian sorties).
The first Dakota aircraft to take off and land at Srinagar, was piloted by Wing Commander K.L. Bhatia. It carried the first batch of troops of one Sikh Regiment under command of Lt. Col. Dewan Ranjit Rai.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said: “The Dakota (Dak) was also part of my childhood memories as my father flew it all over India. I am fulfilling my dream of helping my father donate it to the Indian Air Force.”
Retired Air Commodore M.K. Chandrasekhar, said: “This aircraft is dedicated to all air warriors and their families who served and flew the Dakota in various IAF operations in the remotest parts of India from 1947-1971.”