Bhubaneswar: The legendary DAKOTA (DC-3) VT-AUI aircraft, flown by the late Biju Patnaik, has entered the Odisha border. A reminder of the pioneering spirit of one of Odisha’s most iconic leaders.
Reportedly, the aircraft has been dismantled into three parts and is being shipped to Bhubaneswar in three containers.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already allotted 1.1 acres of land to the State government where the Dakota plane will be displayed for public viewing.
A four-person crew has been assigned to disassemble the Dakota (DC-3) VT-AUI aircraft, which is around 64 feet 8 inches long with wings that extend to 95 feet, according to representatives of Odisha’s trade and transport department.
The team will restore, reassemble and do the renovation work of the plane at the airport, the officials said.
Attempts to move the aircraft to Odisha were made in the past two years, and a tender was also published for the venture but the COVID-19 pandemic put the idea on hold, according to a senior official.
In 1947, the former chief minister had used this plane to rescue the then prime minister of Indonesia Sutan Sjahrir
Besides being a social reformer and politician, Biju Patnaik was a skilled pilot who undertook high-risk missions. He clandestinely flew Indian freedom fighters from one location to another.
A grateful Indonesia had twice decorated Biju Patnaik with its highest civilian honour ‘Bhumiputra’ for his role in rescuing Sutan Sjahrir.
Biju Patnaik founded Kalinga Airlines, a Calcutta-based airline, prior to entering active politics. He was also a member of the Royal Indian Air Force under British Rule.
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