A lovely sight in Sweden for those who fancy proper historic aircraft is a DC-3 nicknamed Daisy by the enthusiasts of the Flygande Veteraner historic flight foundation. Born as a military cargo plane, about 80 years later it flies on in a shiny silver livery of SAS Scandinavian Airlines. The Flygande Veteraner take it to the air in the summer months.
"Daisy's" livery of Scandinavian Airlines System, the official name Fridtjof Viking, and even its registration SE-CFP, are historic. It sported this look earlier between 1957 and 1960, when it flew with the commercial airline ABA Linjeflyg for SAS. But then it would take another 24 years before it would dot its old shiny appearance.
C-47 Skytrain versus DC-3
The history of this remarkable aircraft starts in 1943. Rolled out of the Douglas aircraft factory in Long Beach, California, the aircraft with construction number 13883 started its life in service of war: as a C-47A Skytrain. This military version of the DC-3 had a big cargo door, a strengthened floor and bigger fuel tanks for a longer range.
More traditional looks of the C-47 and DC-3 military aircraft, on the left one in Royal Air Force historic livery taking off from Berlin-Schönefeld airport in 2008, on the right one in clear US military markings at RAF Fairford in 2007. Both photos by me.
Workhorse of many air forces
During the 1940s more than 10,000 C-47s were produced, on top of the almost 700 civilian DC-3. They became the workhorse of the United States Army Air Force/US Air Force and it stayed within official US military service until 2008, when the last of its kind flying Special Operations was decommissioned. The air forces of Great Britain and the Commonwealth operated at total of 2,000 of them, where they were named Dakota. Through second-hand sales the Skytrains and Dakotas in the end flew with the air forces of about a hundred different countries.
C-47 in Swedish Air Force service
The Swedish Air Force operated eight aircraft of the type, designated TP 79 in Swedish military service, between 1948 and 1984. One of them was "Daisy", with serial number 79006. The Flygvapnet bought the plane from Linjeflyg in 1960, when the airline suffered severe economic troubles and seized to exist. The first C-47 in Swedish Air Force service with number 79001 was shot down by a Soviet fighter jet over the Baltic Sea in June 1952. It was found 50 years later, salvaged and since a few years put on display at the Swedish Air Force Museum adjacent to Malmen Air Base in Linköping. More info at Flygvapenmuseum.se
Another of the C-47/DC-3s that served with the Swedish Air Force is number 79002, with tail code 792 and nickname Munin, that landed and wsa parked at Skokloster castle near Uppsala after it was decommissioned from military service in 1983. Here photographed by me in 2008. The plane was later moved to as an eye-catcher at the fortress of Karlsborg further inland.
Return to the skies with the Flying Veterans
When the Air Force sold its 79006 in 1982, the two aviation enthusiasts Ingemar Wärme and Jimmie Berglund bought it and founded the Flygande Veteraner (Flying Veterans) a year later. It returned to the air in the historic civilian livery and registration on 26 June 1984 - and has been a common sight at air shows in Sweden since. More about the foundation and the history of Daisy at Flygandeveteraner.se.
I spotted and photographed "Daisy" aka Fridtjof Viking in June 2010, during the Swedish Military Airshow at Malmen Air Base in Linköping, Sweden.
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