Flight Notes - how to fly the Douglas DC–3
Since its introduction in 1935, the DC–3 has been one of the most reliable and economical aircraft in commercial aviation history. General Dwight Eisenhower cited the DC–3, or "Gooneybird" as the military version was often called, as one of the most important factors in the Allied victory in World War II. Amazingly, even today, nearly 70 years after the first launch, DC–3s are still in service around the world hauling cargo and passengers.
The Douglas DC–3 defined the birth of the era of modern commercial aviation. Airlines finally had an airplane they could operate within expense limits that allowed ticket pricing available to the average person. Passenger travel by air across continents was possible day or night. Some versions of the DC–3 were equipped with sleeping berths.
Almost as remarkable as the revolution the DC–3 fostered in air travel is the fact that DC–3s are still flying for revenue. Some are used for scenic nostalgia flights and others are still hauling cargo. Donald Douglas would undoubtedly be proud to know that the venerable twin-engine bird is still earning money.
The DC–3 is about as easy an airliner as there is to fly. Like most taildraggers it needs some attention on the ground. The DC–3, however, is very stable to fly, easy to handle, and very forgiving of less-than-perfect landings.
|Cruise speed||185 mph 161 knots||298 km per hour|
|Engines||Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830s|
|Maximum range||1,845 nm 2,125 miles||3,420 km|
|Service ceiling||23,200 feet||7,071 meters|
|Fuel capacity||604 U.S. gallons||2,286 liters|
|Empty weight||16,145 pounds||7,323 kilograms|
|Max gross weight||26,200 pounds||11,884 kilograms|
|Length||65.5 feet||20 meters|
|Wingspan||95 feet||29 meters|
|Height||17 feet||5.18 meters|
|Maximum seating||21 to 28|
|Useful load||10,055 pounds||4,560 kilograms|