A65-94 was built in Oklahoma city as a C-47B-30-DK and was delivered to the USAF on 20 April 1945 registered as 44-76774.
The aircraft was then delivered to the RAAF on 2 May 1945 as A65-94 with a domestic registration of ‘VH-RFK’ and served in 38, 36 and then 34 Squadrons.
In 34 Squadron A65-94 was used as a VIP aircraft, transporting members of parliament and visiting dignitaries. During the Queen’s visit to Australia in 1954, A65-94 was used as a support aircraft carrying equipment for the tour. She was also used as a crew currency training aircraft and was based at Canberra. Gooney Birds, as they were commonly known, finished service with 34 Squadron in 1967 and A65-94 finally went to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) in 1982 where she served until 1997.
When A65-94 was decommissioned in 2000, the aircraft had flown a total of 14,600 hours and was 55 years old.
She was acquired by HARS in July 2000 and flown from Edinburgh in Adelaide to Bankstown in Sydney, where she went through restoration and registration onto the domestic register as VH-EAF. Thanks to the RAAF the aircraft was essentially left in RAAF livery.
The only changes to the livery were that the words ‘Royal Australian Air Force’ on both sides of the fuselage were changed to ‘Historical Aircraft Restoration Society’ and the ARDU insignias on the tail were changed to the HARS insignias.
After completing the necessary inspections and test flying, she was flown on her first excursion for HARS to Temora on 12 December 2000. Since that first outing she has flown many missions proudly sporting the HARS banner.
On 13 July 2001, VH-EAF departed Bankstown on a mission to participate in the Outback Air Show in Queensland. The first sector to Charlieville went without incident. However, after refuelling at Charlieville and heading north for Longreach, about 30 minutes out from Charlieville, the left engine suffered a fractured ring in one cylinder necessitating a single engine return to Charlieville. The aircraft performed quite satisfactorily on one engine and returned safely to Charlieville.
On 20 April 2002, the mission was to be present at the 60th anniversary of 36 Squadron at Richmond Air Base. The squadron was very pleased to see A65-94 fly in and for some of the senior members to take a flight in her.
Douglas C-47B Dakota
Length 19.66 m | 64 ft 6 in
Wing Span 28.96 m | 95 ft
Height 5.10 m | 16 ft 6 in
Maximum Take Off Weight 12,700 kg | 28,000 lbs
Empty Weight 8,160 kg | 18,000 lbs
Maximum Speed 346 km/h | 215 mph (187 kt)
Cruise Speed 273 km/h | 170 mph (147 kt)
Maximum Range 1650 kms | 1025 miles (890 nm)
Power Plant Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830 14-cylinder, air-cooled, twin row radial engines
Power Plant Weight 665 kg | 1467 lbs
Displacement 30 ltr | 1830 cu in
Maximum Power 895 kW | 1200 hp
Maximum RPM 2400
Propellors Three bladed variable pitch