Spain - Air Force
The Douglas DC-3 is a fixed-wing, propeller-driven aircraft which revolutionised
air transport in the 1930s, and 1940s, and is generally regarded as one of the
most significant transport aircraft ever made (also see Boeing 707 and Boeing 747).
The DC-3 was engineered by a team led by chief engineer Arthur E. Raymond and
first flew on December 17, 1935, (the 32nd. anniversary of the Wright Brothers
flight at Kitty Hawk). The plane was the result of a marathon phone call from
American Airlines CEO C.R. Smith demanding improvements in the design of the DC-2.
The amenities of the DC-3 (including sleeping berths on early models and an
in-flight kitchen) popularized air travel in the United States. With just one
refuelling stop, transcontinental flights across America became possible.
Before the DC-3, such a trip would entail short hops in commuter aircraft during
the day coupled with train travel overnight.
Early American airlines like United, American, TWA, and Eastern ordered over
400 DC-3s. These fleets paved the way for the modern American air travel industry,
quickly replacing trains as the favored means of long distance travel across
the United States.
During World War II, many civilian DC-3s were drafted for the war effort and
thousands of military versions of the DC-3 were built under the designations
C-47, C-53, R4D, and Dakota. The armed forces of many countries used the DC-3
and its military variants for the transport of troops, cargo, and wounded.
Over 10,000 aircraft were produced (some as unlicensed copies in Japan as
Showa L2D, and as licensed copies in the USSR as Lisunov Li-2).
After the war, thousands of surplus C-47s were converted to civil service and
became the standard equipment of almost all the world's airlines, remaining in
front-line service for many years. The ready availability of ex-military examples
of this cheap, easily maintained aircraft (it was both large and fast by the
standards of the day) jump-started the worldwide post-war air transport industry.
Douglas had developed an improved version with a greater cargo capacity and a
different wing which it attempted to sell during this time frame, but with all
these surplus aircraft, the Super DC-3 did not sell.
Numerous attempts were made to design a "DC-3 replacement" over the next three
decades (including the very successful Fokker Friendship) but no single type
could match the versatility, rugged reliability, and economy of the DC-3, and
it remained a significant part of air transport systems well into the 1970s.
Even today, almost 70 years after the DC-3 first flew, there are still small
operators with DC-3s in revenue service. The common saying among aviation buffs
and pilots is that "The only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3."
A Swedish DC-3 was shot down over the Baltic Sea in June 1952.
Production: 10,655 built at Santa Monica, and Long Beach, California,
in both civil and military versions. 2000 or so built in Russia under licence
as the Li-2. 485 built in Japan as the L2D Type 0 transport. More than 400
remained in commercial service in 1998.
Powerplant: A wide variety of engines was fitted to the DC-3. The most popular
was the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Double Wasp, but Wright R-1820 Cyclones,
Pratt & Whitney R-2000, and even Rolls-Royce Dart turbines and Armstrong
Siddeley Mamba turbines were used.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Douglas DC-3".