Douglas DC-3

Douglas DC-3. A Golden Age Classic


All of the technology was present in the 1930's to develop modern commercial airliners, what was needed was a reason.This was provided in 1930 with an amendment(McNary-Watress Act) to the 1925 Kelly Act. The airmail carriers were paid according to the weight of the mail they carried. The new law changed this so that carriers got paid for available cargo space and a bonus was paid to operators flying multi engine aircraft equipped with the latest instruments. This was clearly an incentive for operators to fly larger aircraft. It also provides a subsidy to the airlines for carrying passengers as well as mail.

  • The effect of the McNary-Watress act was not long in coming.

    United Airlines contracted Boeing Aircraft to build a modern twin-engine airliner. In 1932 Boeing brought out the 247,a twin-engine, all-metal, low-wing monoplane, capable of carrying ten passengers and 400 pounds of mail, with a cruise speed of 189 mph which made it possible for the first same-day service between New York and San Francisco.

  • Transcontinental and Western Airlines (TWA) soon responded by contracting Douglas Aircraft to build them a airliner better than the Boeing 247.In 1933 Douglas was testing an aircraft called the Douglas Commercial One (DC-1)only one was built for test flights. The production aircraft was called the DC-2.It had a cruising speed of 192 mph and carried 14 passengers and several thousands of pounds of mail.

  • While United was flying its 247s and TWA its DC-2s,American Airlines was losing money flying foreign-built aircraft. Douglas was approached again to build an aircraft bigger than its own DC-2.On December 14,1935,the first of theses new aircraft, called the DC-3 was completed. The DC-3 was larger than the DC-2,carried 24 passengers or 5000 pounds of cargo a distance of 1,200 miles and became the standard commercial airliner for all the airlines and was one of the most successful aircraft ever built. By 1938 DC-3s carried 95 Percent of all commercial traffic and by 1939 they were carrying 90 percent of all commercial traffic in the world, A total of 455 DC-3s were built for the airlines between 1935 and 1942,During World War II 10,000 more (designated C-47)were built for the United States Military.The DC-3 (named Dakota by Britain) was mass produced as a utility transport in C-47, C-53, and other versions, known also as Skytrains,Skytroopers,and was nicknamed:"Goonie Bird" by many, was licence-built in large numbers in Russia as the Lisunou Li-2. Used in all imaginable roles, from freight and personnel transport to glider tug and ambulance, the type was active in all theatres of war, notably during the D-Day landings in Normandy and subsequent assaults by Allied airborne forces.

  • The DC-3 was to become perhaps the most important airliner or aircraft for that matter in aviation history. It quickly established its reputation around the world with air carriers and the military. Many DC-3's are still flying today.Some are even updated with Turbine engines and still a reliable favorite for cargo haulers


    Douglas DC-3
    Wing span: 95 ft. 0 in. (28.96 m)
    Length: 64 ft. 5 in. (19.63 m)
    Height: 16 ft. 4 in. (4.97 m)
    Max T/O Gross: See Note below
    Cruise Speed: 170 m.p h. (274 km/h)
    Range: 1,025 miles (1,650 km)
    Two Wright Cyclone R-1820, 9 cylinder, radial air-cooled engines, each providing 1,475 h.p. (1,099 kw) @ take-off.
    Note: The standard airline DC-3 operated at civilian weights (as opposed to wartime overloads) had a maximum gross weight of 25,200 lb without deicing boots, or 25,346 lb with deicing boots. Certain freighters could be operated at 26,900 lb provided the correct main landing gear was installed, etc.


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