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Category: Air support/WW2/Allied

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'The Biscuit Bombers'    'The Gooney Bird'

History owes a lot to Trans World Airways (TWA) for the production airliner delivered by Douglas was the DC-2, which began operations in July 1934. At that time it was the best passenger aircraft in the world, and other operators soon began queuing up to place orders. First of the non-US airline customers was KLM, which began flying the type in the autumn of the same year, and the DC-2 seemed set for a long production run.

However, even greater acclaim was to come Douglas's way when it attempted to fulfil yet another requirement, this time from American Airlines. This company operated sleeper aircraft on its trans-America flights and, wanting to keep abreast of the latest developments, asked Douglas for a suitable airliner. Their answer was the DC-3, a direct but slightly larger development of the DC-2. The prototype first flew on 17 December 1935, and the design was soon being produced in two versions for American Airlines the 14-passenger DST sleeper and a 21-seat 'daytime' airliner. Services with DC-3s started in June of the following year.

What was to become perhaps the most important airliner in history, quickly established its reputation with this and other operators, including the military. During the Second World War, the DC-3 (named Dakota by Britain) was mass produced as a utility transport in C-47, C-53, and other versions, known also as Skytrains and Skytroopers, and was license-built in large numbers in Russia as the Lisunou Li-2. Used in all imaginable roles, from freight and personnel transport to glider tug and ambulance, the type was active in all theatres of war, notably during the D-Day landings in Normandy and subsequent assaults by Allied airborne forces.

After the war the military flying continued, while production of the civil version restarted. DC-3s became the mainstay of worldwide passenger and freight services for many years, although as larger-capacity piston-engined airliners and then jet airliners became available, DC-3s were gradually turned over to smaller operators.

Douglas DC-3
Wing span: 95 ft 0 in (28.96 m)
Length: 64 ft 5 in (19.63 m)
Height: 16 ft 4 in (4.97 m)

Max T/O Gross:

28,000 lbs (12,701 kg)

Cruise Speed:

170 mph (274 km/h)


1,025 miles (1,650 km)
Two Wright Cyclone R-1820, 9 cylinder, radial air-cooled engines, 

each providing 1,475 hp (1,099 kw) at takeoff.


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces