DC-3, the quintessential airliner!
Douglass Corporation model 3 is the quintessential airliner and not just for the 1930’s and 1940’s, it remains one of the most recognizable aircraft today. The DC-3 was the first reliable and economically feasible aircraft the airlines flew. It ushered in the expansion of the world’s airlines in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Rugged and reliable it is still in service around the world today.
A couple of years ago I was doing consulting work for a proposed start up airline (Yambuta) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was researching the competition and was pleasantly surprised to see that Wimbi Dira Airline was operating a DC-3 in passenger service along side its DC-9 jets. Unfortunately, they crashed it a few months later; but that is the “Wild, Wild West” atmosphere of aviation in western Africa.
The military also loved the DC-3; they designated it the C-47 (R4D in the Navy). All the services flew it for many years, over 16,000 were produced worldwide. My Uncle flew troops in the C-47 in the late 1950’s. There was even an Attack version, the AC-47 also known as Puff the Magic Dragon. Fitted with 3 min-guns it had a devastating punch. My Uncle flew its sister ship the AC-119 on the same type missions during Vietnam.
Many books have been written about the venerable DC-3; reference, military, even novels (including my own). It has also been the star of movies and TV for decades. If you love old aircraft and action novels, give mine a try.