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IAF Aircraft Inventory: Dornier Do-27 (Dror)

The Do-27 was the first aircraft to enter production in Germany after World War II. The prototype of the Do-27 was first flown on April 8, 1955, and the first production aircraft in October 1956. By the time production ended in 1965, over 600 examples had been built. The type's largest operator was West Germany but the type as also served with the Belgian and Swiss air forces.

The IAF begun operating the Do-27 in October 1964 when the first 10 examples entered service with the 100th "Flying Camel" Squadron at Sde-Dov. With more aircraft arriving after the 1967 Six Days War, the Do-27 fleet would eventually consist of 35 examples. Nicknamed "Dror" (sparrow), the Do-27 could carry between 4 and 6 passengers. The type's excellent STOL capabilities allowed the type to play a large number of roles, among them liason, light observation, artillery spotting and maritime patrol. The aircraft were routinely used in operations against Palestinians infiltrating into Israeli territory from Jordan in the late 1960s, spotting and tracking infiltrators while also coordinating the actions of IDF troops on the ground. The Dror's frontline role also brought about the loss of a number to enemy fire. During artillery exchanges between Egyptian and Israeli troops on the Suez Canal on March 8th 1969, an Egyptian SA-2 downed one of the Do-27s. Both the pilot and the scount onboard managed to bail the stricken aircraft and were collected to a nearby IDF post, but the ongoing fighting prevented their evacuation to hospital and the pilot, Ehud Ben Arie, died of his wounds. Another Dror was shot down by a Syrian missile on October 11th 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, while on observation over the Golan Heights. The pilot, Captain Yaacov Bitzur, and the two scouts onboard were killed. A third combat loss seems to have taken place in 1969, but to none other than an Israeli Hawk SAM.

The type was finally retired in 1981 and most aircraft were sold abroad. At least 15 were sold to a U.S. operator, some of which are still flying today. Another resides at the IAF Museum in Hatzerim.

Specification: Dornier Do-27
Type: light utility & liaison aircraft.
Powerplant: Lycoming GO-480-B1A6.
Performance: max speed - 227kph, crusing speed - 175kph, service ceiling - 3,300m, rate of climb - 198m per minute, range - 1,100km.
Weights: empty - 1,165m, max takeoff - 1,850m.
Dimensions: span - 12m, length - 9.6m, height - 2.8m.
Armament: none.

Sources: IAF Inventory