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Douglas DC-3
Douglas DC-3

A Douglas DC-3

Description
Role Passenger & military transport
Crew 3
Passengers 14 sleeper, 21 - 28 day
First flight 17 December 1935
Entered service June 1936
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft
Produced 455 commercial DC-3s, 10,174 military C-47s
Dimensions
Length 64 ft 5.5 in 19.7 m
Wingspan 95 ft 0 in 29 m
Height 16 ft 3.6 in 4.9 m
Wing area 987 sq ft 91.7 sq m
Weights
Empty 16,865 lb 7,650 kg
Loaded
Maximum takeoff
Powerplant
Engine 2 × Wright Cyclone
Power (each) 1,200 hp 1,216.64 hp
Performance
Maximum speed 192 mph 308.9 k/hr
Cruising speed
Range 1,495 miles 2,405.9 kilometers
Ceiling 20,800 ft 6,339.8 m
Rate of climb 1,130 ft/min 5.7 m/s

The Douglas DC-3 'Dakota' is a small piston engine airliner developed by Douglas Aircraft during the 1930s. Many of the previously existing military C-47 Skytrains have been refitted as DC-3s, leading to the type's global popularity.

Description Edit

Among the first commercially successful airliners, the Douglas DC-3 has seen one of the longest commercial runs of any aircraft, many examples still remaining in airline service to this day. It was produced in large numbers both as a commercial transport, and as a military transport/cargo aircraft, the C-47 Skytrain. In military service with the British and the Commonwealth, it was known as the Dakota. Even today, after 75 more than years, this aircraft remains airworthy as the original aircraft or as a Turboprop-converted version named Basler BT-67. Buffalo Airways maintains a small fleet of DC-3s in the present day among other historical types for charter and cargo operations, one of the few remaining airlines with the original type in service.

The DC-3 popularized air travel in the United States. Previously, transcontinental trips entailed short hops in slower, shorter-range aircraft travel during the day combined with train travel overnight. However, in the DC-3, transcontinental flights could cross the U.S. in 15-17.5 hours.

The DC-3 is a twin-engine monoplane with a tailwheel-type landing gear. Its cruise speed is 207 mph (333 km/h), its range is 1,500 mi (2,400 km), and it can carry 21 to 32 passengers or up to 6,000 lbs (2,700 kg) of cargo.

Production Edit

16,079 DC-3s were produced, and more than 400 remained in commercial service in 1998. Production was as follows:

  • 607 civil variants
  • 10,048 military C-47 and C-53 derivatives
  • 4,937 built under license in the Soviet Union as the Lisunov Li-2
  • 487 Mitsubishi Kinsei-engined aircraft built by Showa and Nakajima in Japan as the L2D Type 0 transport

Specifications (DC-3A)Edit

Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 21–32 passengers
  • Length: 64 ft 8 in (19.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 95 ft 2 in (29.0 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m)
  • Wing area: 987 sq ft (91.7 m2)
  • Empty weight: 16,865 lb (7,650 kg)
  • Gross weight: 25,199 lb (11,430 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9-cyl. air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,100 hp (820 kW) each
  • Powerplant: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp 14-cyl. air-cooled two row radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW) each
  • Propellers: 3-bladed series

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 200 kn; 370 km/h (230 mph) at 8,500 ft (2,590 m)
  • Cruise speed: 180 kn; 333 km/h (207 mph)
  • Service ceiling: 23,200 ft (7,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,130 ft/min (5.7 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 25.5 lb/sq ft (125 kg/m²)
  • Power/Mass: 0.0952 hp/lb (156.5 W/kg)

Notable accidents Edit

There have been many accidents and incidents involving the DC-3, particularly during its early years of service. The following is an incomplete list of notable accidents.

Event Date Fatalities/number on board Cause
Lovettsville air disaster August 31. 1940 25/25 Lightning strike
Eastern Air Lines Flight 21 February 26, 1941 8/16 Controlled flight into terrain
Northwest Airlines Flight 5 (1941) October 30, 1941 14/15 Icing conditions
American Airlines Flight 1 (1941) October 30, 1941 20/20 Unknown
TWA Flight 3 January 16, 1942 22/22 Controlled flight into terrain
American Airlines Flight 28 October 23, 1941 12/12 (0/2 on second aircraft) Mid-air collision with USAAF Lockheed B-34 bomber
BOAC Flight 77 June 1, 1943 17/17 Shot down by German fighter planes
American Airlines Flight 63 (Flagship Ohio) July 28, 1943 20/22 Loss of control due to severe turbulence and violent downdrafts
American Airlines Flight 63 (Flagship Missouri) October 15, 1943 11/11 Controlled flight into terrain due to icing
Pennsylvania Central Airlines Flight 105 January 6, 1946 3/19 Aircraft collided with terrain
1946 Australian National Airways DC-3 crash March 10, 1946 25/25 Aircraft crashed into sea
British European AIrways Flight 530 August 7, 1946 3/15 Controlled flight into terrain
1946 C-53 Skytrooper crash on the Gauli Glacier November 18, 1946 0/12 Weather related controlled flight into terrain
1947 BOAC Douglas C-47 crash January 11, 1947 8/16 Multiple causes including weather, shortfall in airfield radio capacity, crew route inexperience, crew rostering oversight, and pilot error
Eastern Air Lines Flight 665 January 12, 1947 18/19 Controlled flight into terrain
1947 Croydon Dakota accident January 25, 1947 12/23 Loss of control
1947 Héðinsfjörður air crash May 29, 1947 25/25 Controlled flight into terrain
1947 Korangi Creek crash December 27, 1947 23/23 Loss of control due to low visibility and instrument malfunctions
1948 Australian National Airways DC-3 crash September 2, 1948 13/13 Controlled flight into terrain due to navigation equipment errors
1948 Airborne Transport DC-3 (DST) disappearance December 28, 1948 32/32 (missing, presumed dead) Unknown
1950 Sverdlovsk plane crash January 5, 1950 19/19 Landing failure due to heavy snow and strong winds
1951 Ringway Dakota crash March 27, 1951 2/3 Icing leading to mechanical failure
1951 LOT Li-2 Tuszyn air disaster November 15, 1951 18/18 Engine failure, loss of control
1955 Cincinnati mid-air collision January 12, 1955 2/2 (13/13 on second aircraft) Mid-air collision with Martin 2-0-2A
1967 Cebu Douglas C-47 crash March 17, 1957 25/26 (including Ramon Magsaysay, the 7th President of the Philippines) Metal fatigue
Ethiopian Air Lines Flight 372 July 15, 1960 1/11 Controlled flight into terrain
Aero Flight 311 January 3, 1961 25/25 Stall, pilot error
1961 Derby Aviation crash October 7, 1961 34/34 Controlled flight into terrain due to navigational error
New Zealand National Airways Corporation Flight 441 July 3, 1963 23/23 Wind shear, controlled flight into terrain
Aero Flight 217 November 8, 1963 22/25 Controlled flight into terrain
1978 Finnish Air Force DC-3 crash October 3, 1978 15/15 Cracked exhaust valve due to metal fatigue in an engine cylinder
Florida Commuter Airlines crash September 12, 1980 34/34 Unknown, possible factors include weather, unreliable instruments due to discrepancies in the pitot-static system, and lack of proper operational oversight by airline management
2010 Air Service Berlin Douglas C-47 crash June 19, 2010 0/28 Engine failure, exact cause under investigation
2012 South African Air Force C-47 crash December 5, 2012 11/11 Under investigation
2019 Colombia DC-3 crash March 9, 2019 14/14 Crashed into terrain, exact cause under investigation
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