Seventy years ago, one of aviation's best-known and most-loved airplanes was born. On Dec. 17, 1935, the DC-3 made its first flight.
It was the plane that changed the way the world flew. The DC-3 made commercial air travel popular and airline profits possible. Its commercial and military service over seven decades has made it an aviation legend.
The importance of the DC-3 cannot be understated. As noted in the quote, it's the airplane that made airline service a viable business model. During World War II it was the main transport aircraft for the US and British Empire. The official US Army name was the C-47 Skytrain while the Brits called it the Dakota. The most common nickname, though, was Gooney Bird. It was used to ferry troops and supplies all over the world. It was used to tow assault gliders and to drop paratroops. It served on in US military use until the 60s, and hundreds of Gooney Birds, mostly C-47s made during The War, are still being flown today in commercial service. Can you imagine a 1940s-vintage truck being used to haul freight today? Talk about over-engineered!
I've been an aviation buff since I was a kid and one airplace I still want a ride in is a DC-3.