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Twin-engined monoplane in Eastern Airlines livery. Summary Douglas DC-3 First flown inthe Douglas DC-3 became the most successful airliner in the formative years of air transportation, and was the first single passenger aircraft fly profitably without government subsidy. More than single passenger aircraft, DC-3s, both civil and military versions, U.

Many are still flying. An enlarged variant of the popular seat DC-2, the seat DC-3 was comfortable by the standards of its time and very safe, because of its strong, multiple-spar wing and all-metal construction. The airlines liked it because it was reliable, inexpensive to operate, and therefore profitable. Pilots liked its stability, ease of handling, and excellent single-engine performance.

The airplane on display above flew more than 56, hours with Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12,when it flew from San Salvador to Miami. Gift of Eastern Air Lines Wingspan: 29 m 95 ft Length: Up toairline passenger craft were too slow and carried too few passengers to be really profitable. United Air Lines had ordered sixty of the new Boeing s, the first truly modern airliners and had effectively tied up production.

The carried ten passengers at mph and made all other transports obsolete. The other carriers were thus forced to find another plane if they wished to be competitive in the passenger-carrying business.


In the Douglas Aircraft Company designed a new passenger plane, as ordered by Transcontinental and Western airlines, to compete with the Boeing The first model, the DC-1, was soon succeeded by the DC-2 and the start of quantity production. American Airlines, at the time, was using the slow Curtiss Condor, which was fitted with sleeper berths.

American needed a new airplane able to compete with the DC-2 and the Boeing single passenger aircraft, but one with sleeping accommodations. In C. Smith, president of American Airlines, made a direct request of Douglas to build a larger, more comfortable plane which could lure the luxury trade. The original plane was designed as a luxury sleeper with seven upper and seven lower berths and a private forward cabin.

The day plane version, known as the DC-3, had twenty-one seats instead of fourteen berths.

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The design included cantilever wings, all-metal construction, two cowled Wright SGR 1, hp radial engines, retractable landing gear, and trailing edge flaps. The controls included an automatic pilot and two sets of instruments. The original design was so satisfactory that the basic specifications were never changed. American Airlines initiated DST nonstop New York-to-Chicago service on June 25, A year later, with the DC-3 in service, Smith stated, "It was the first airplane in the world that could make money just by hauling passengers" This was the beginning of an immortal airplane known the world over.

As the success of the DC-3, with its larger capacity for passengers, its speed, and its economical operation, was realized, airlines throughout the world began placing orders with Douglas.

In the United States the big three transcontinental lines were very competitive.

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With the advent of DST coast-to-coast service by American Airlines, Trans World Airlines obtained DSTs and DC-3s for such flights also. When United Airlines, with its Boeing s, saw that the Douglas plane was outclassing its own service, the company purchased ten DSTs and five DC-3s, and began flights on January 1, In July of that same year United introduced sleeper service between New York and California.

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By95 percent of all U. Two hundred sixty DC-3s, 80 percent of the number of airliners, were in service in on domestic carriers. As of December 31,thirty DC-3s were still being used by U. S airlines. Foreign companies also began to order the economical Douglas-built plane.

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KLM was the first European airline to own and operate DC-3s, infollowed by companies in Sweden, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and elsewhere. By DC-3s were flown by thirty foreign airlines, and by90 percent of the world's airline traffic was being carried by these aircraft.

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The impact of the DC-3 was felt the world over. In July President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented Donald W. Douglas, head of Douglas Aircraft, with the Collier Trophy. Recognizing the DC-3 as the outstanding twin-engined commercial plane,' the citation read, 'This airplane, by reason of its high speed, economy, and quiet passenger comfort, has been generally adopted by transport lines throughout the United States.

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Its merit has been further recognized by its adoption abroad, and its influence on foreign design is already apparent. Many commercial carriers in Europe put their DC-3s to use as military transports.

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The United States ordered new versions of the DC-3 modified for troop transport and cargo carrying. These were designated as Cs and Cs. As military versions were built, they were put into operation in European and Pacific theaters during World War II.

Cs initiated the Berlin Airlift in In military service sincethe C proved most useful in many endeavors.

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Many names and numbers were assigned to the DC England labeled it the "Dakota" or "Dak. The airlines called it "The Three.

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The normal gross weight for the aircraft was 25, pounds, with twenty-one passengers.