PBA Fleet: Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 is a propeller-driven airliner which had a lasting effect on the airline industry in the 1930s/1940s and World War II. It was developed as a larger, improved 14-bed sleeper version of the Douglas DC-2. It is a low-wing metal monoplane with conventional landing gear, powered by two 1,200 hp (890 kW) Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp radial piston engines. It has a cruise speed of 207 mph (333 km/h), capacity of 21 to 32 passengers or 6,000 lbs (2,700 kg) of cargo, and a range of 1,500 mi (2,400 km), and can operate from short runways.

The DC-3 had many exceptional qualities compared to previous aircraft. It was fast, had a good range, was more reliable, and carried passengers in greater comfort. Before the war, it pioneered many air travel routes. It was able to cross the continental US from New York to Los Angeles in 18 hours and with only 3 stops. It is one of the first airliners that could profitably carry only passengers without relying on mail subsidies.

Following the war, the airliner market was flooded with surplus transport aircraft and the DC-3 was no longer competitive due to its size and speed. It was made obsolete on main routes by more advanced types such as the Douglas DC-4 and Lockheed Constellation, but the design proved adaptable and useful on less glamorous routes.

Civil DC-3 production ended in 1942 at 607 aircraft. Military versions, including the C-47 Skytrain (the Dakota in British RAF service), and Soviet- and Japanese-built versions, brought total production to over 16,000. Many continue to see service in a variety of niche roles: 2,000 DC-3s and military derivatives were estimated to be still flying in 2013; a 2017 article put the number at that time at more than 300.

General Characteristics (DC3)

Crew: 3
Capacity: 21–32 passengers
Length: 64 ft 8 in / 19.7 m
Wingstrong: 95 ft 2 in / 29.0 m
Height: 16 ft 11 in / 5.16 m
Wing area: 987 sq ft / 91.7 m²
Aspect ratio: 9.17
Airfoil: NACA2215 (root) / NACA2206 (tip)
Operating Empty weight (OEW): 16,865 lb / 7,650 kg
Gross weight: 25,200 lb / 11,431 kg
Fuel capacity: 822 gal. / 3736 L

Performance (DC3)

Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp 14-cyl. air-cooled two row radial piston engine, 1,200 hp / 890 kW each
Propellers: 3-bladed Hamilton Standard 23E50 series, 11 ft 6 in / 3.5 m diameter
Maximum speed: 200 kts / 230 mph / 370 km/h at 8,500 ft / 2,590 m
Cruise speed: 180 kts / 207 mph / 333 km/h
Stall speed: 68.0 kts / 78.2 mph / 125.9 km/h
Service ceiling: 23,200 ft / 7,100 m
Rate of climb: 1,130 ft/min / 5.7 m/s
Wing loading: 25.5 lb/sq ft / 125 kg/m²
Power/mass: 0.0952 hp/lb / 156.5 W/kg

Three-View Drawing (DC3)

The PBA Douglas DC-3 Fleet

Photos of the entire fleet of Douglas DC-3s are published below. Click on each of them for information and photos. Aircraft are sorted by Registration (N-Number) with prior registrations in parentheses where applicable.
If you would like to contribute any photos, scans, documents — then please contact us as we’d love to expand this site.


Douglas DC-3-277B (DC-3/DST) | MSN 2204 | N34PB



Douglas C-49E-DO (DC-3/DST) | MSN 2216 | N35PB



Douglas C-52B-DO (DC-3A-197E) | MSN 2137 | N137PB