A 426 Squadron Dakota makes a routine run to Goose Bay

The first Douglas Dakota military transport entered service with the RCAF on 29 Mar 43, when No 12 (Communications) Squadron at Rockcliffe took delivery of aircraft number 650. Over the years, Douglas Aircraft of Santa Monica, California, built nearly 11000 Dakotas in several variants, and the RCAF purchased about 570. Of all metal, stressed-skin construction, the Dak was fitted with two 1200 horsepower Pratt and Whitney R-1830-92 fourteen cylinder, two row, radial engines that allowed a top speed of 230 mph, with a service ceiling of 24000 feet and a range of 1600 miles. The aircraft could carry twenty-eight passengers, or fourteen litter patients with three attendants, or 10000 pounds of freight. The normal crew was two pilots and a crewman, with a wireless operator and a navigator when required.

No 426 (Transport) Squadron began operations with the Dakota on 1 Aug 46, flying out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The missions were comprised of hauling passengers, freight and mail to various destinations. On 24 Mar 47, operations began from Dorval, Quebec, which at that time was located on the western fringe of Montreal, and by the spring of that year had completed the move. This move was in preparation for the squadron's acceptance of the North Star, but until that time, the Dak continued to make the runs into Canada's north. By April of 1948, 426 Squadron flew it's last mission with a Dakota.

Dorval, Quebec, 14 Aug 47.

This model of a Thunderbird Dakota during take-off is housed in the main display case between the entrances of Blanchard Hall, Dishforth Building, Trenton.