April 15, 2024
The Border Security Force took good care of its Dakotas - and here's exhibit No.1!
An aerial view of the BSF Museum at Tekanpur, showing Dakota VT-DDW displayed outside to the left of the building.

Tekanpur is a town located roughly 30km from Gwalior city to the South east on National Highway 75. The town is a major center for the Border Security Force (BSF), housing the BSF Academy, formerly the BSF Training Center.

The Border Security Force (BSF) is the largest Para-Military Organisation, numbering around 220,000 personnel and first set up in 1965. The BSF operates an active air wing, responsible for transportation of senior officials. For years this air wing had a few Douglas DC-3 Dakotas that were based in Palam Air port. These aircraft were phased out from active flying in the late 80s and for years spent time at Palam.

Fortunately the BSF had preserved atleast two of these aircraft. One of which, Dakota VT-DDW can be found preserved at the BSF Museum at Tekanpur.

VT-DDW underwent some cosmetic restoration – including a mockup rudder. The aircraft tail wheel is shown backwards, probably a result of the aircraft being ‘pushed’ into that position.
The aircraft undercarraige is ably supported by stilts that help releive stress on the wheels. No where on the aircraft does the title of BSF painted anywhere.

VT-DDW (c/n 9949) actually has ahistorydating back to the RAF. Originally built in the US as 42-24087, it served as FD963 during the Second WorldWar (designated Dakota III). Post Independence, it was operated by Air Works India, and then went to the Indian Airlines after nationalisation. Sometime after the BSF was formed the aircraft was transferred from Indian Airlines to the BSF’s Air Wing.

Even though the BSF Museum at Tekanpur was opened in Nov 1990, VT-DDW arrived at the museum only around 1995-96. It was transported from Delhi to Tekanpur by road in a dis-assembled state – and help was requested from the Indian Air Force personnel based at Maharajpur, Gwalior. Air Marshal S Bhojwani, who was then AOC of Gwalior has this to write:

In 1995-96, when I was AOC Gwalior, I received a request from Tekanpur for help in reassembling a Dak which had been crated and transported from Delhi by road for display outside their museum. I seem to recall the task was urgent as the museum was to be inaugurated a few weeks later.

I sent a young engineering officer and a party of Mirage technicians with a 10-ton crane…..and several pictures of the Dak from various angles. Its to their credit that they managed to put the aircraft back together in a few days – its worth noting that none of the airmen was in service when the Dak was phased out of the IAF, but they did a great job!

The aircraft is currently displayed in the Museum premises,just left of the main museum building. Itcarries civil colours,and with the exception of the Indian flag on the tail, no BSF markingshave been noted on the aircraft.

Another view of the BSF Museum at Tekanpur. In addition to the Dakota, various other vehicles and weaponry can be seen on display.

The museum is located right on the National Highway 75 – which would indicate that the aircraft can be seen by members of the public from the road. However close access to the museum and the aircraft is currently unavailable.

All Photographs on this page are the copyright of the Border Security Force Academy. Aircraft history taken from www.demobbed.org.uk and www.aerotransport.org

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