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Douglas DC-3

by John M. White |

The Douglas DC-3 is a low-wing, cantilever all-metal monoplane with retractable gear and which first flew on December 17, 1935, and remains today as one of the most beloved of all aircraft. The original design was so satisfactory that the basic specifications for the aircraft were never changed. Designed by Donald Douglas, construction on the first aircraft began in December of 1934 with the first flight a year later. Douglas had been approached by American Airlines because of his reputation as having outstanding engineering skills. Two versions of the aircraft were designed, a 14 passenger Douglas Sleeper Transport and the 28 seat day plane Douglas DC-3. The aircraft proved so popular that by 1938 95% of all U.S. airline passengers were flown on a DC-3 airplane. Douglas DC-3 When the war began many of the airliners were pressed into military service and designated as C-47 aircraft. The military needed their large load carrying capacity, and were able to extend the aircraft's range by adding additional fuel tanks. By the end of the war the Army Air Force had acquired over 10,000 of these aircraft. With its incredible reliability the aircraft, affectionately known as the "Gooney Bird", found itself flying all over the world in a variety of roles, including dropping troops into battle, carrying freight and being flown in all kinds of weather. After the war many of these surplus aircraft found their way back to the commercial airline fleet, finding themselves used by airlines and military forces worldwide. The Douglas DC-3 has proven itself to be the workhorse of the aviation world, and in 1936 President Roosevelt awarded the Collier Trophy to Donald Douglas for his achievement in designing the Douglas DC-3. You can get more information on this fabulous aircraft at the U.S. Centennial of Flight website. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 I came to admire this machine which could lift virtually any load strapped to its back and carry it anywhere in any weather, safely and dependably. The C-47 groaned, it protested, it rattled, it leaked oil, it ran hot, it ran cold, it ran rough, it staggered along on hot days and scared you half to death, its wings flexed and twisted in a horrifying manner, it sank back to earth with a great sigh of relief - but it flew and it flew and it flew. — Len Morgan. The C-47 was the U.S. military designation for the DC-3 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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