• Welcome to The Fedora Lounge!

DC-3 / C-47

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by Tiki Tom, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    The Douglas DC-3, which made air travel popular and airlines profitable, is universally recognized as one of the most iconic airplanes of the golden era. The first flight of the Douglas DC-3 was on December 17, 1935 or just over 80 years ago. During World War II, many civilian DC-3s were drafted for the war effort and just over 10,000 U.S. military versions of the DC-3 were built, under the designation C-47. Thousands of paratroopers were dropped from C-47s during the first few days of the invasion of Normandy, France, in June 1944. C-47s were also used to airlift supplies to surrounded American forces during the Battle of Bastogne. In the Pacific, the C-47 played an important role at Guadalcanal and in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma. Possibly its most influential role in military aviation, however, was flying "The Hump" from India into China during the war. DC-3s were also among the heroes of the Berlin Airlift of 1948-9 when Allied aircraft fed Berlin as Stalin tried to bring the city to its knees. If ever there was a plane that symbolizes the golden era of adventure travel, it was the Douglas DC-3 / C-47. It almost goes without saying that the DC-3 was Indiana Jones’s favorite aircraft:


    Remarkably, The DC-3 is still in service. From the Congo to Thailand, and from Valparaíso to Tegucigalpa, DC-3s are still in service all over the world, mostly humping cargo. It’s now considered something of a bush plane, because of its ability to land on short, rough runways (like many runways were, back in the 30s!)

    By the time I came around, airlines had already replaced the good old DC-3 with jet liners. I regret that I never got the chance to fly in one. Have any of you ever flown on a DC-3? Anyone have DC-3 stories to tell? The DC-3 spirit of adventure still lives!

    Zombie_61 likes this.
  2. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch Practically Family

    When I was a college student in Albuquerque in the mid-'60s I'd fly home to Dallas by way of Trans-Texas Airways, which still had some DC-3's. We called TTA "Tree Top Airways" because they flew so low, making short hops to little airports like Midland-Odessa, Van Horn and others before getting to Love Field in Dallas. It was rough flying compared to today and I kept the barf bag handy. As a paratrooper in the late 60s I jumped out of C-119s and C-130s, but a friend got a chance to jump out of a C-47 ("Dakota") and described it as "Just like Öbjective Burma!"
    cm289 likes this.
  3. All I can do is agree, there is no plane, IMHO, more iconic to the era (nor one more "beautiful" in its chubby simplicity). Also, again, IMHO, one of America's and England's finest moments was the Berlin Airlift. Any plane associate with that event alone has something to be very proud of. So glad there are some DC-3s still flying. Wasn't its nickname the Gooney Bird?

    Other than those that have been restored and used for historic runs, almost all of the famous train steam engines have been retired, so it's nice to know that some DC-3s are still in functional use. While not a Anamist, I sometimes like to think objects have souls and, if they do, planes want to fly in useful service just as trains want to move goods and people with purpose.
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  4. vitanola

    vitanola My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I used to take the Cape Cod Airways DC-3 from Boston to Provincetown back in the 1980's. Of course, I also occasinnally flew Island Airlines' Ford-Stout Tri-Motor from Sandusky to Put-in-Bay. The Tri-Motor was damaged in an encounter with a power line, repaired, briefly returned to service, and then retired at the behest of Island Airways' insurer. It appears that by 1985 the value of an operating Tri-motor was so great that the airline could not afford to insure it. They replaced the Tri-Motors with DeHaviland Twin Otters.
  5. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    My first airplane flight was in a DC-3. For the life of me I can't remember where we went, but as stated, you sure got your share of weightless time with all the air pockets! It was double fun, since my dad flew in C-47s with the Ninth Air force during WWII. Bill Lear, (of the jet with the same name,) said, "the only plane that will replace a DC-3 is another DC-3!" He was not known for his complements to the competitors.
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  6. Braz

    Braz Familiar Face

    In '67-'68 I had occasion to fly from my hometown of Ft. Wayne to Detroit several times in order to catch a connecting flight. At the time the airline (United?) was flying DC-3s on that route. It was always a treat to watch the startup procedure with first one prop, then the other, slowly turning and making that whining-whirring sound followed by the boom of ignition and a big belch of smoke. And, boy did they vibrate.
  7. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Stumbled onto this photo. [​IMG]
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  8. 1930artdeco

    1930artdeco A-List Customer

    The greatest airplane ever designed by far!

  9. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

  10. TikiTom...back in the early 1960's USAF I was stationed on the DEW Line up near the Canadian Border across the Top of NA, I ran a LOGAIR Section at my base and was involved in Load-UnLoad C47's, One A Day for 2 years (Other Airplanes also).
    We were allowed 2 Hours for Un-Load then Load....try that with Loading 6 B52 Tires....
    Back then LOGAIR was Capitol AL, Zantop AL and Flying Tiger AL all WWII C47's that had mostly seen their day...
    I also flew along with the loads on occasion, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Etc....

    On one flight, a Flying Tiger AL, the pilot was a beat up old Original Flying Tiger (old leather FT jacket and worn out Khakis} and he had his 13 year old son with him, his son was his Co-Pilot., once they got Airborne they let me fly it....That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

    Another couple of Great WWII Cargo planes were the GlobeMaster C124's and the C119 Flying Boxcars...

    Those were the days...
  11. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    Few people know the DC3 was never approved by the FAA. It was in service before they started. They decreed that the DC3 should be withdrawn from service by 1940, extended to 1947 because of the war, then they seem to have forgotten about it. Funny to think that if the FAA had got started a few years earlier the DC3 would never have been allowed .
  12. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    While the FAA did not exist at the time, the CAA most certainly did. The DC3 received Type Certificate ATC607, which was transferred to the FAA when it was established. The FAA is well aware of all the DC3 variants with over 10 Airworthy Directives that must be complied with, along with an annual, and if commercial, 50 hour and 100 hour checks! In 1947, the FAA gave all DC3s unlimited airframe time, because of how over built they were, and they don't cycle like pressurized airliners.
  13. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Great story, Bolero. I wish I had a story like that in my quiver of tales. My most exotic flying experiences include being a passenger in a C-130 in Turkey and getting to ride shotgun in a de Havilland Beaver as it did water take off and landings. All the best to you!
  14. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Is that a modified DC-3 still flying humanitarian aid into deepest Africa? Love this stuff. Good deeds, African locations, and a vintage aircraft to boot.

    Stearmen likes this.
  15. Cocker

    Cocker Practically Family

    Tiki Tom, indeed, it's a Basler BT-67, basically a DC-3 with turboprops, modern avionics, and a couple other modifications.
  16. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Lets not forget the Curtiss C-46 Commando! Not as pretty, but even more capable, still serving every where from sweltering jungles, to The Great White North!
  17. 52Styleline

    52Styleline A-List Customer

    I flew once on a C-47 in Vietnam. They were used as cargo haulers and it was possible to hitch a ride on one that was going where you needed to go. They were also used for electronic recon (ED-47) and as gunships.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  18. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    Holy smokes! The Dakota rides again! Thanks for cluing me in to the BT-67. A quick search and this popped up in the news.


    "Basler Turbo Conversions has sold more than 63 BT-67’s worldwide so far. The Basler BT-67 has been used by the U.S.A.F. SOF Command, U.S. Department of State and U.S. Forest Service, and is widely used by the Thailand and Colombia Air Forces. Other Air Forces using the Basler BT-67 are that of Mauritania, Mali, El Salvador, and Guatemala. It is widely used by Scientific, and Geophysical Survey companies specially in the Polar regions, aside from many commercial cargo airlines, some of which also ferry passengers in “combi” configuration."​

    I can't tell you how happy it makes me that the old girl is finding yet another successful reincarnation... In the 21st century, no less. Hard to believe it is basically the same plane that was dropping paratroopers onto D-Day beaches and flying the hump.
  19. Cocker

    Cocker Practically Family

    Can you believe they even made a gunship configuration??


    @Stearmen , the C-46 is my favourite cargo plane. The DC-3 is a legend, true, but the C-46 is a BEAST!
  20. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Inside a 101st Airborne replacement barracks at Ft Campbell, Ky; near a lighted WWII DC-3 memorial (the plane had been used for the D-Day Normandy drop),
    one of the guys; whom arrived plastered, looked out of a window and spied the plane-thinking he was on another plane heading for a drop, unceremoniously barfed.:eek::oops:
    Later in the morning he explained that he always upchucked before jumping.o_O

Share This Page