The venerable Douglas DC-3 first flew on December 17, 1935 and many of them continue to fly to this day. 16,079 different variants of the Douglas DC-3 were manufactured and by 1998 over 400 were still flying. 10,048 were military variants of the Douglas DC-3 designated the C-47 and C-53. American Airlines inaugurated passenger service on the Douglas DC-3 on June 26, 1936, with simultaneous flights from Newark, N.J. and Chicago, IL.
The Douglas DC-3 TodayToday you will find the Douglas DC-3 still in service flying into and out of remote locations all around the world where runways are made out of dirt and sand. For example, many of these aircraft provide transportation throughout the jungles of Columbia today. In an article titled "The airplanes of the Colombian jungle" Juan Carlos Rocha details how the Douglas DC-3 serves the natives of the Columbian jungle in remote areas. Here is an excerpt from the article:
These planes have brought virtually everything to Taraira, a village of 200 people in the department of Vaupés. “The street lights, the electrical generator, the cement, the only Jeep, the TV antennas, the TVs, a tractor, the panels used for the sports center, the chickens, the hens and the ice cream … everything,” said Capt. Joaquín Sanclemente, who has 33 years of experience flying the DC-3. In the hangars of the airport in Villavicencio, a mid-sized city with 385,000 residents in the foothills of the Andes on the edge of the rainforest, there are 20 of these planes – probably the largest concentration of operational DC-3 aircraft at a single airport. The airplanes were brought into the country by the Colombian airline Avianca. They were part of its fleet between 1939 and 1975 before they were sold to smaller airlines, where they began flying to hard-to-reach places. Capt. Luis Felipe Cortés would need a considerable amount of time to make a list of the locations he had visited throughout Colombia during his 34-year career. His accumulated flight time totals a little under three years in the sky. “It would be easier to tell you where we haven’t gone,” he said.