Aircraft Wiki

A Douglas DC-5.

The Douglas DC-5, the least known of the famous DC airliner series, was a 16-22 seat, twin-propeller aircraft intended for shorter routes than the DC-3 or DC-4. However, by the time it entered commercial service in 1940, many airlines were canceling orders; consequently, only five civilian DC-5s were ever built. With the Douglas Aircraft Company already converting to war production, the DC-5 was soon overtaken by events, although a limited number of military variants were produced.

Design and development[]

The Douglas DC-5 was developed as a 16/22 passenger civilian

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airliner, with a high wing and innovative tricycle landing gear (unique for the time). One prototype and four production aircraft were constructed prior to World War II.

Operational service[]

Ironically, the prototype (configured with just eight seats) became the personal aircraft of William E. Boeing; since his former company was already in full military production mode. It was later sold to the Navy and converted for military use as an R3D variant.

The other four planes were sold to KLM, two where used by KLM West Indies. The other two where sold to the Dutch East Indies Government and used by KNILM. In 1941 the two KLM West Indies aircraft joined the KNILM fleet. They were used to evacuate civilians from Java to Australia in 1942. One aircraft, ex-PK-ADA was captured by the Japanese and operated as a transport, in camouflage with Japanese markings. Three of them later operated in Australia and, in 1948, the last surviving DC-5 was apparently smuggled to Israel for possible military use.


Basic passenger version - 5 aircraft were built.
Designation in USAAF. Current USAF records show that the C-110’s (3) were on inventory between 17 March and 31 December 1945 and were based at Luzon, in the Philippines. However, it is very doubtful whether the US Army Corps serials were ever carried by the DC-5s and it seems certain that this was a bookkeeping operation only.
Military version of the DC-5 built for the Navy as 16-seat personnel carriers - 3 were produced.
Military version of the DC-5 built for the US Marine Corps as 22-seat paratrooper version - 4 were produced.
Designation of prototype of DC-5 used by Willam E. Boeing as a personal aircraft and converted for military use.


Military operators[]

  • Israeli Air Force operated one DC-5.
  • Imperial Japanese Army Air Force operated one captured Dutch DC-5.
United States
  • United States Army Air Force operated one C-110.
  • United States Navy operated three R3D-1.
  • United States Marine Corps operated four R3D-2.

Civil operators[]

  • KLM received four DC-5.
United States


  • Pearcy, Arthur. Douglas Propliners: DC-1 – DC-7. London: Airlife, 1995. ISBN 1-85310-261-X.

External links[]

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