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DC-3 to fly over Sydney Harbour on Thursday

written by Adam Thorn | December 15, 2020

HARS' DC-3 in traditional RAAF livery (Mark Keech)
HARS’ DC-3 in traditional RAAF livery (Mark Keech)

HARS Aviation Museum is set to fly its Douglas C-47/DC-3 over Sydney Harbour on Thursday to mark 85 years since the aircraft’s first flight.

A larger version of the DC-1 and DC-2, the DC-3’s first flight took place on 17 December 1935. The C-47, meanwhile, is the military variant that played a major role during World War II.

In Australia, many airlines operated the model including Qantas, Australian National Airlines (later Ansett ANA) and Trans Australian Airlines.

The DC-2 plans to depart Shellharbour Airport and fly north to Long Reef on the Northern Beaches before conducting low-level flyovers of Sydney Harbour. It will then fly directly to Sydney Airport and proceed back to the coast adjacent to Cronulla, before returning home to Shellharbour Airport.

The estimated itinerary (arrival, location, departure) is below:

  • – Shellharbour (YSHL) 11:45
  • 12:15 Long Reef (LRF) 12:15
  • 12:20 Harbour Bridge  (HBB) 12:35
  • 12:40 Sydney (YSSY) 12:40
  • 12:45 Abeam Cronulla (JIBN) 12:50
  • 13:10 Shellharbour (YSHL) –


HARS said of the history of the DC-3: “The first flight of the DC-3, a larger version of the DC-1 and DC-2, took place on 17 December 1935, 85 years to the day.

“The DC-3 was a major step forward in the aviation passenger carrying field starting in the ’30s but continuing through the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. In Australia, many airlines operated the DC-3 including Qantas, Australian National Airlines later Ansett ANA and Trans Australian Airlines.

The military version, the C-47, was developed from the DC-3 and introduced in 1942, however in the early part of WWII the RAAF operated leased DC-3’s from ANA and other sources, the first DC-3 entering service in September 1939.

“The C-47 ceased operation with the RAAF in March 1999, nearly 60 years of operational service, a record that has not yet been passed!

“The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) C-47 ex RAAF, was built in 1945, making it more than 75 years old, and still flying.”

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Comments (9)

  • David McKeand


    I remember a long cold noisy flight in a RAAF DC3 from Pearce AFB in WA to Richmond AFB in 1968. Vale the Goony Bird.

  • John Phillips


    i remember flying in a DC3 from Sydney to Burren Junction (YBRJ) on Butler Airways. Very hot day, no a/c , I was the only passenger.

    Flights don’t go to Burren Junction anymore, pax use Narrabri or sometimes Moree.

  • TD


    Let’s hope there is a photo/video shoot of this event as the effort involved is huge until the engines are started and w armed up. The fuel costs won’t be cheap either.
    Next time may be at the airshow next November so Tourism NSW ,Illawarra Airshow and Australian Aviation go for it!

  • Anton


    The is no 12 month prescription anymore!

  • Brian Jackson


    It is Trans-Australia Airlines not Trans-Australian Airlines

  • Roger Patterson


    My father was a pilot in the first intake post WW11 when TAA was formed and flew DC3s and then DC4s over a long career with TAA. He always spoke highly of these aircraft and considered them to be “very forgiving.”

  • Noodles


    Was in a C-47 during my time in the RAAF Cadets from Hight School (NBHS 21 Flight) at Richmond Air Force Base in the early 1960’s. We departed Richmond for a flight over Sydney Harbor and back to Richmond. It was equipped as a “paratrooper” and as well as being very excited (even got to go up into the nose) it was the noisiest thing I had ever heard. Not a lot of noise suppression around – in fact none !! Aircraft was A65-96 as I recordered it in my “RAAF service record”



    I flew in a Qantas DC3 Mascot – Port Moresby for school holidays in December 1950 – Mum wore gloves and stockings. If I remember correctly we were weighed before boarding. Walked across the tarmac, up the boarding steps and really climbed up to our seats. The engine warming routine seemed to take ages before t/o, tail up and climb. We departed in the evening and hit a big air pocket just before Newcastle (the captain said this was normal!) and a schoolboy going home for Christmas hols was thrown quite violently against the roof. Mum leant across the aisle to reassure him. We landed for refuelling at Brisbane, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville. In the early morning we landed at Cooktown, with glasses of orange juice on an old table, and long seats in an empty shed beside the strip – NO signs of life!! The pilot and hostess worked around the aircraft – no ground staff. We droned on across the Coral Sea at the lower height flown then and I vividly remember still the brilliant reefs and islands, all technicolour and beautiful, an unknown magic world only seen in picture books. We arrived at Jackson Strip to meet Dad who worked for the Copra Marketing Board, flying in small aircraft to fix anything that broke down anywhere, with his tool box across his knees for weight & balance. The flight home was a Qantas Skymaster, Port Moresby-Brisbane-Sydney, and I went into the cockpit (not flight deck then) and told the captain I wanted to learn to fly – unusual for girls in those days.

  • It is NOT a DC3; it IS a C47. The DC3 was the civilian version and most DC3’s in Australia were modified C47’s from the war. The RAAF only operated C47 aircraft NOT DC3’s

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