ONE of the great workhorses of the air was given a new home yesterday - but instead of flying in, it turned up on the back of a low loader.

The Douglas Dakota is synonymous with the great airborne operations of the Second World War, and was once an almost everyday sight in the skies.

Now the Yorkshire Air Museum, at Elvington, near York, has been given a prime example, registration G-AMYJ, donated by Coventry-based Air Atlantique

The aircraft was delivered for service in February 1945 and first operated with RAF Montreal, Canada, later seeing action in May 1946. It acted as troop carrier until 1954

Since then, the plane has been in service as a civilian aircraft with various operators, flying from mainland UK, Jersey and even Egypt.

Until January 1999, it served as a sea pollution control, slick-spraying aircraft with Air Atlantique, which replaced the type with another aircraft more suited to this specialised role.

"The airframe is in excellent condition and, although the useable parts of the engines have been sent to America for overhaul, it is hoped that it will be possible to restore the engines to ground operational condition," said a museum spokesman.

"It is our intention to display the aircraft to a high standard in an appropriate RAF colour scheme, which will be selected from several options."

Apart from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota, based at RAF Conningsby, in Lincolnshire, there is no other such aircraft on display in northern England, and the museum expects it to quickly become one of the jewels of the collection.

"The longevity and outstanding reliability of the Dakota has earned the type its proud place in aviation history and it will be a major attraction for visitors to the Museum, especially in view of the recent opening of the Northern Airborne Forces Display," said the spokesman.

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