Gallery: The Legendary Douglas DC-3

During what came to be called the Golden Age of Flight in the first half of the 20th century, the Douglas Aircraft Company so revolutionized the aviation industry that its DC-2s and DC-3s were flying more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passengers by the end of the 1930s. By the mid-1940s, all but 25 of the 300 airliners operating in the United States were DC-3s, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Scroll through this gallery to see examples of the important roles these airplanes and their variants have played across aviation history.

DC-3 Flagship Detroit [Photo: Bonnie Kratz]
Breitling’s DC-3 took a break from its world record tour to visit EAA AirVenture 2017 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. [Courtesy: Breitling]
Sketches of the DC-3. [Courtesy: skybrary.aero]
Decades after it was built, this DC-3 was still flying as N34, once operated by the FAA for navigation inspection and other missions. [Courtesy: dc3dakotahistory.org]
Another DC-3 that was still in use decades after its debut. [Courtesy: skybrary.aero]
In 1935, Douglas Aircraft was awarded the Collier Trophy for the DC-2. Donald Douglas was congratulated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. [Courtesy: aviation-history.com]
A riveter works on an outer wing during World War II. [Courtesy: museumofflying.org]
A Douglas Sleeper Transport in use. [Courtesy: California State College/ pearlharboraviationmuseum.org]
A C-47 coming in for a landing. [Courtesy: fab.mil.br/musal/]

Paratroopers in a C-47. [Courtesy: Library of Congress/pearlharboraviationmuseum.org]
A C-47 taking off, towing a glider [Courtesy: Imperial War Museum/ pearlharboraviationmuseum.org]
C-47s and R4Ds were a vital part of the Berlin Airlift [Courtesy: U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation/pearlharboraviationmuseum.org]
A C-47 modified for use in medical evacuation [Courtesy: United States Army Air Forces/pearlharboraviationmuseum.org]
A C-47 Skytrain in flight. [Courtesy: us-militaria.com]
The Douglas DC-2 began operations in July 1934. [Courtesy: aviation-history.com]

A Douglas DST in flight. [Courtesy: airandspace.si.edu]
An Eastern Air Lines DC-3 is one of several aircraft displayed at the National Air and Space Museum. [Courtesy: airandspace.si.edu]
One of the first American Airlines’ Douglas Sleeper Transports (DST), photographed in Glendale, California, on May 1, 1936. [Courtesy: AAHS Journal/dmairfield.org]
A VARIG Airlines DC-3, purchased as surplus after World War II. [Courtesy: varig-airlines.com]
A Norwegian Douglas DC-3 on display at the 2007 Duxford Air Show. [Courtesy: Ray@Panko.com/pearlharboraviationmuseum.org]
DC-3 tail number NC30000 was a stock DC-3A built in 1941. [Courtesy: aviation-history.com]
Yukon Sourdough—a 1942 Douglas C-47A converted to a DC-3C. [Photo: Stephen Yeates]
Zoe Dell Lantis Nutter traveled across the U.S. in the late 1930s promoting commercial aviation on United Airlines’ DC-3s. [Courtesy: Special Collections & Archives, Wright State University]

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