The DC-3

This legendary plane has now been airborne for 70 years. It was built in the 1930’s when American Airlines asked Douglas Aircraft to design a passenger plane to compete with United Airlines’ Boeing 247. 

In its day it was state-of-the-art, complete with autopilot, a retractable undercarriage, an aerodynamic nose, and extremely strong wings. Noisy by today’s standards, it was considered very quiet when it came out. The DC-3 made air travel tolerable for more people. Traveling across the United States had been an especially treacherous journey prior to the DC-3, but after its advent the number of travelers surged. The military soon began ordering many of the modified DC-3s, the C-47, which became known as the Dakota. About 200 DC-3s remain in operation today. Read Celebrating an Aviation Legend.