Douglas DC-3 Dakota ′Grand Old lady′
Queen of the SkyClassic fleet is Douglas DC-3 ZS-BXF (c/n 12107) "Klapperkop". This Grand Old Lady was built at the Oklahoma City production plant as C-47A-1-DK (military model) and she was delivered to the USAAF with tail code 42-92320 back in November 1943. She went to the RAF as FZ572 and was later based with the 5th Wing at Cairo with a SAAF 6821 military serial. After WW2 she was transferred to SAA to augment the Lockheed Lodestars with which SAA had started post-war services. It was in August 1948 she first received her SAA registration ZS-BXF and the name Klapperkop. All Dakotas were soundproofed and fitted out with 21 seats for airline service. The Dakota served with SAA for nearly a quarter of a century, providing reliable service on all the internal and regional sectors. When retired from SAA service the "Daks" were sold to the SAAF.
(ZS-BXF received once again SAAF markings ′6888′ and served with 44 Squadron). After her second spell with the South African Air Force ZS-BXF was again purchased by South African Airways and added to the Historic Flight fleet. She was restored to pristine condition and her fist post-restoration public outing was to the Vereeniging air show in October 1993.
Klapperkop is painted to represent the DC-3s that began service with South African Airways during the 1940s. Her main task nowadays is a leisurely one, taking passengers on low-level nostalgia trips. Specifically safaris throughout Southern Africa to exotic places like the Victoria Falls. Her Sunday flips are extremely popular giving passengers a low-level view of Johannesburg and its environs.
Aircraft history compiled by The Dakota Association of South Africa - John Austin-Williams
Special thanks to SkyClass Aviation models Farryn Ter-Ossepiantz & Lezinka de Meyer