The Legendary Douglas DC-3
Announcing a new coffee-table book by the renowned Dutch Aviation
Photographer: Michael S Prophet
The Douglas Commercial 3 (DC-3) Story - The Plane That Changed the World
Beneficiary of the epoch-making DC-2 technology, the Douglas DC-3 is generally considered the greatest single commercial transport in history, and certainly the most famous aircraft around.
The iconic DC-3 revolutionized air travel to the extend not equal until the arrival of the jet age.
Much of that revolution involved safety; for in 1937, thanks to its reputation for strengthened reliability, air travel insurance finally became available to the general public.
DC-3s are still flying eight decades after its first debut, a tribute to the soundness of its brilliant design, and are likely to continue flying well into the next century, most likely as a Basler turbine conversion. This was the airliner that not only made flying respectable, but enabled the struggling young aviation industry to end its complete reliance on mail subsidies and finally come close to making money just by carrying passengers.
In the fast paced world we live it today; it is refreshing to pay tribute to an aviation icon, the term obsolete and not reusable may never apply: the legendary Douglas DC-3 still lingers on. Although it has been over 86 years it has first flown, as many as a 900 examples still survive as wrecks/relics in museums and some even keep hauling passengers and cargo.
This book pays tribute to the different Dakota′s, DC-3s and C-47s from around the world, restored show-birds, nostalgic airliners, VIP transports, tired old cargo haulers and decaying hulks from the past and present. According to the latest Air Britain worldwide DC-3 survey as off October 2010, stated there are 164 derelict airframes, 219 stored examples, 336 preserved airframes and 250 active airframes, totaling 991 DC-3s and 9 DC-2s.
With more than 16,000 built, the DC-3 became the world’s most successful aircraft and legend in numerous wars. The Soviet Union constructed almost 5,000 more under license known as the ‘Lisunov Li-2’ and Japanese Nakajima Hikoki built close to 500 licensed examples from 1940-45 called L2D ‘Tabby’.
During both WW2, the military version of the DC-3, the C-47 ‘Skytrain’ became a crucial factor for success and played major roles in the ‘D-Day’ and ‘Market Garden’ operations. The C-47 had been upgraded with more powerful engines (giving the plane an additional 200 HP) and was refitted with reinforced floor and large cargo aft cargo doors. The “Gooney Bird,” as it was nicknamed by the US forces, officially had accommodated for 32 passengers, 28 combat equipped troops, or 21 stretchers. The C-47 often carried twice its official capacity in the midst of the war.
In addition to its ability to haul troops, Jeeps, and howitzers, the C-47 also had remarkable short-field takeoff and landing performance, reportedly being able to take-off from rough fields less than half a mile long, and land in even shorter distances.
Today the Basler Conversation factory in Oshkosh near Chicago is the future for the multipurpose DC-3 Dakota. With 45,000 hours of work, with 80 employees, a non-flying aircraft can be converted into a modern turbine aircraft with new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67R turboprops engines and modern cockpit and it known as the BT-67. The DC3 is the only aircraft in the world that can be fully rejuvenated after 80 years of service and then continue to fly for another 50 years or more.
Some Fun Facts about the Douglas DC-3:
A ski-equipped DC-3 named “Que Sera Sera” was the first airplane to land at the South Pole in October of 1956
Designed to carry a maximum of no more than 30 passengers, one C-47 in Burma during the war somehow managed to board a total of 74, including the then-Lt Col. Jimmy Doolittle, who was en-route home from his famous bombing raid on Tokyo.
The DC-3 has over 20 nicknames; military and civilian alike. The most notable of which are: Dakota, Gooney Bird, The Skytrain, The Sky Trooper, Biscuit Bomber, Old Methuselah, the Placid Plodder, Puff the Magic Dragon, Spooky and many, many more
A C-47 ran out of fuel with all its crew bailing out, only to learn later that the aircraft had landed gently all by itself in a meadow several miles from where the crew had deserted her
The 87-year old aircraft that will never die
According our own studies from the last several years, the total number of flying (airworthy) DC-3s has dwindled down to 172 airframes and this includes all the turbine examples.
Status -January 2022.
Credit: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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US Distributor Baker & Taylor Publisher Services