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This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » What's Naveenbabu Doing With His Dad's Dakota?

What's Naveenbabu Doing With His Dad's Dakota?

March 06, 2023 15:04 IST
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IMAGE: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the unveiling of the Dakota VT-AUI aircraft, once owned by his father Biju Patnaik, for public display to mark his 107th birth anniversary at the Biju Patnaik international airport in Bhubaneswar, March 5, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday unveiled the iconic Dakota aircraft owned by the legendary leader Biju Patnaik for public viewing at the Biju Patnaik airport in Bhubaneswar on the late CM's 107th birth anniversary.

The Dakota DC-3 aircraft used by Biju Patnaik, an ace pilot, was brought from the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose international airport in Kolkata to the Odisha capital on January 18, 2023, and spruced up before it was put for public viewing at the Biju Patnaik airport.

A 10-member team from Aerospace Research Development required 12 days to dismantle the aircraft and pack it in proper shape for public viewing.

IMAGE: Naveen Patnaik unveils the Dakota VT-AUI aircraft. Photograph: ANI Photo

Talking to PTI, Odisha's IT Secretary Manoj Kumar Mishra, who was part of the team for renovation and restoration of the iconic Dakota aircraft, said, "Today is an emotional day for all of us.

"We have heard so many stories about the late Biju Patnaikji, on how he had gone and rescued people from Indonesia, how he had made landing in Leh. We didn't have a living symbol of his daredevilry in Odisha."

"When we brought the Dakota from Kolkata," Mishra added, it was really in very bad condition. We have restored it in full glory and it now stands as a testimony to Biju Babu's daredevilry. It will inspire generation after generation, when people will see and the new generation will read about him."

IMAGE: Naveen babu poses for a picture with the Dakota aircraft. Photograph: ANI Photo

This is perhaps the first airport in the world where an aircraft is being displayed at the entrance for public viewing, said historian Anil Dhir.

Before bringing the Dakota to Odisha, the Airports Authority of India had allotted 1.1 acre of land for the aircraft to be placed in front of the airport named after Biju Patnaik.

SEE: Biju Patnaik's iconic Dakota plane is unveiled for public display. Video: ANI Photo


The Odisha government is planning to build a mini walk-through museum at the display site.

It will depict the young days of Biju Patnaik when he flew the aircraft, his adventure stories and pictures and tales of his high-risk missions.

IMAGE: The Dakota up close. Photograph: PTI Photo

Before joining politics, Biju Patnaik was an ace pilot who established Kalinga Airlines having a fleet of 15 Dakota aircraft.

Biju Patnaik rescued erstwhile Indonesian vice president Muhammad Hatta and prime minister Sutan Sjahrir in 1947.

The Indonesian government twice decorated Biju Patnaik with the Bhumiputra, the highest civilian award of the country, for his daredevil mission.

IMAGE: Naveenbabu also flagged off the state-sponsored flight operation on the Bhubaneswar-Rangeilunda route. Photograph: ANI Photo

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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