Fact file: Douglas C47TP Dakota


The venerable Douglas Dakota soldiers on in the South African Air Force.


Douglas C47TP


Medium transport.

Country of origin:

United States.

First flight:

DC3: December 17, 1935, C47: 1940.

Delivered to the SAAF:

DC3: from June 21, 1943; “Turbodak” 1991.

Associated project name(s):





Pilot, co-pilot.

Major dimensions & weights

  • Wingspan:

  • Length:

  • Height:

  • Wing area:

  • Basic empty weight:

  • Max take-off weight:

  • Max landing weight:

  • Max internal fuel:

  • Max external fuel:

  • Max cargo weight:

  • Passengers:

  • 28.96m (95ft).

  • 20.68m (67ft 9in).

  • 5.18m (17ft).

  • 7.144mt (15,750lbs).

  • 13.041mt (28,750lbs).


  • Take-off to clear 15m: nn.

  • Landing from 15m: nn.

  • Rate of climb: nn.

  • Service ceiling: 7300m (24,000ft).

  • Max operating speed: nn.

  • Max cruise speed: 368km/h (229mph).

  • Max range at cruise speed: 2810km (1746 miles).

  • Stall speed: nn.

  • G-loads: nn.

  • Wing loading: nn.

  • Thrust: nn.

  • Bypass ratio: nn.

  • Thrust/weight ratio: nn.

  • 7300m (24,000ft).

  • 368km/h (229mph).

  • 2810km (1746 miles).

Engine Specifications

  • Make: Pratt & Whitney.

  • Model: PT6A AR.

  • Type: Turboprop.

  • Number: 2.

  • Compression ratio: nn.

  • Engine diameter: nn.

  • Engine length: nn.

  • Dry weight: nn.

  • Power turbine rotor speed: nn.

  • Shaft horsepower: nn.

  • Propeller: nn

  • Pratt & Whitney.

  • PT6A AR.

  • Turboprop.

  • 2.

Hard points:


Other attachments:



The most widely used transport aircraft of World War Two, the DC3/C47 has been in SAAF service since 1943.

In the early 1990s several were modernised with, inter alia turboprops replacing the piston engines. The conversion has not exactly been a success and only 11 of the aircraft remain in service.

At one stage it was joked that pilots were issued raincoats for the leaks and black cats for good luck. In the period April 2004 to March 2005 the C47 fleet flew 1761 hours.

The Chief of the Air Force in March 20071 said that those assigned to maritime tasks would be given a sensor upgrade. There is no indication by February 2010 that this has happened.

The SAAF has a requirement for a new maritime patrol aircraft cum medium transport and is looking at the Alenia C27J and Casa C295 Persuader. The C47TP is set to retire in 2015.


1 CAF briefing, AFB Makhado, March 9, 2007.