Massive road convoy to deliver "Gooney Bird" to Ipswich

A ROAD convoy headed to Ipswich will make its way through parts of Queensland this week as defence staff transport a retired aircraft to RAAF Amberley.

The C-47 aircraft, affectionately known as a Dakota or "Gooney Bird" or the A65-86, will be moved from HMAS Albatross to the Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre. It is the military version of the DC3 airliner.

The convoy starts south of Nowra in New South Wales at HMAS Albatross Naval Air Station and will begin its journey just after midnight - early Friday morning.

The C-47 Dakota was a favourite at the Air Display at the Strand in Townsville.The Australian Defence Force Air Display was one of the most colourful mounted by the Air Show team since the current series commenced in 2001.  Despite visibility issues created by a rare dust storm, an impressive array of military aircraft performed along the full length of the Strand. Featuring the United States Air Force (USAF) Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds,  the Air Display also included the popular RAAF Air Demonstration Squadron the Roulettes; the C-17 Globemaster; C-130H Hercules;  FA-18 Hornet;  Hawk 127, Army Helicopters including the Chinook, Blackhawk and MRH 90; War Birds; skydivers and the Red Baron. Ground displays included the Force Ten RAAF Band; Australian Federation Guard Precision Drill Team; Townsville Pipe and Drum Band; along with rides, exhibitions and a plethora of food and drinks. The successful days  event concluded with the F-111 performing its spectacular dump and burn, followed by a dazzling fire works extravaganza on the foreshore. The Air Display is said to have attracted around 70,000 spectators, equivalent to roughly 40% of the population of Townsville.
The C-47 Dakota affectionately known as "Gooney Bird", will make its way to Amberley. SGT Rob Mitchell

The aircraft will be transported by truck and is expected to arrive in Ipswich on Monday, about 3am.

The convoy will cover more than 1200km during the three-day transport operation.

The aircraft will travel through the towns of Beresfield, Muswellbrook, Gunnedah, Narrabri, Goondiwindi and Warwick before arriving at RAAF Base Amberley.

The RAAF first took delivery of A65-86 at Amberley in April 1945.

It was withdrawn from service in December 1998 after 53 years in operation and was delivered to the Australian Navy Historic Flight in November 1999.

During its Air Force service it flew with 10, 35 and 36 SQNs, RAAF Transport Flight Japan, Central Flying School and Aircraft Research and Development Unit.

The aircraft will have had its propellers, wings, elevators and tailfin removed to enable safe transit and will be reassembled at Amberley.

It will be reassembled by RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage personnel and volunteer members. Reassembly involves reattaching the propellers, wings, elevators and tailfin and final preparations for public display in World War II representative colours.

On The Road

Friday, February 9

  • 12:01am: Depart HMAS Albatross, NSW
  • 3:30am: Arrive Dust Bowl (Hume Highway end of Picton Road)

Saturday, February 10

  • 12:01am: Depart Dust Bowl (Hume Highway end of Picton Road)
  • Arrive Mooney Mooney Bridge (north side of Hawkesbury River) prior to daylight;
  • Depart 9:00am
  • Beresfield, NSW approx. 10:30am
  • Muswellbrook, NSW approx. 12:30pm
  • Willow Tree, NSW approx. 1:30pm
  • Arrive Gunnedah, NSW approx. 3:00pm

Sunday, February 11

  • 05:00am: Depart Gunnedah, NSW
  • Boggabri, NSW approx. 7:30am
  • Narrabri, NSW approx. 8:00am
  • Moree, NSW approx. 9:30am
  • Goondiwindi, QLD approx. 11:30am
  • Inglewood, QLD approx. 1:00pm
  • 3:00pm: Arrive Warwick, QLD

Monday, February 12

  • 1:00am: Depart Warwick, QLD
  • 3:00am: Arrive RAAF Base Amberley, QLD (Contractors Gate)