DC-3 Historical Timeline

This beautiful DC-3, Flagship Detroit, is one of the oldest still flying. American Airlines took delivery of it in 1937, and the airplane is now owned, maintained and operated by Flagship Detroit Foundation. Last year, the historic airplane flew to 10 events across the country. Jon Whittle

July 22, 1921: The Douglas Aircraft Co. incorporates, with its main base in Santa Monica, California, in an old movie studio.

After its introduction in the mid-1930s, the DC-3 became a huge hit with airlines, including Delta, United, American and TWA, as well as a long list of international operators. Alamy

April 1936: The first Douglas Sleeper Transport is delivered to American Airlines.

City of Portland was an early Douglas Sleeper Transport operated by United Airlines. Getty Images
1940: Air Transport Command begins its orders of C-47s, the military version of the DC-3. Tyson Rininger

1943: The 2,000th C-47 rolls out of the production hangar at Long Beach.

1944: More than 100 C-47s fill the skies over Europe while supporting the Battle of the Bulge.

1959: Ozark Air Lines begins operations with 24 DC-3s and three Fairchild F-27s.

Capt. Chuck Midyett began flying the DC-3 as a 20-year-old pilot at Ozark Air Lines. He still flies the DC-3, and says he loves it just as much as he did when he stepped into the cockpit more than 50 years ago. "Together We Fly: Voices from the DC-3" Charles Midyett Collection

1960: Delta Air Lines retires its last DC-3.

1970: Buffalo Airways is founded, with headquarters in Hay River, NWT, Canada, and starts flying the DC-3.

March 23, 1975: A Continental Air Services DC-3 carries 106 people, including 98 children, on a relief flight from Ku Lat to Saigon, Vietnam.

Despite its impressive operational capabilities, the DC-3 is also a true piece of art. Getty Images

1982: Four Star Air Cargo begins Caribbean operations using the DC-3.

1989: A DC-3 is the air transport of choice for the fictional Cleveland Indians in the film Major League.

Most DC-3s have two Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radial engines. Getty Images

1993: The DC-3 with the most flight time, PBA's N136PB, clocks in at 91,400 hours; though not flying today, she could be.

2009: The Ice Pilots NWT TV show debuts; the final episode aired on December 17, 2014.

While the DC-3 has been out of production since the mid-1940s, there are many beautiful examples still flying. However, with a dwindling number of usable engines and the possible end to the 100LL fuel needed to feed them, the days of this historic airplane taking flight might be numbered. Getty Images
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