YouTube - DC-3


Primary Function:
Weight Empty:
Max. Weight:
Max. Cruise:
Initial Climb:
First Flight:
Year Deployed:
21 to 28
Wright Cyclone
2 x 1,200 hp. ea.
64 ft. 6 in.
95 ft.
18,300 lbs.
26,900 lbs.
4,500 lbs.
192 mph
1,100 fpm
21,000 feet
1,500 miles



The origins of the DC-3 trace back to American Airlines request to Douglas to build a larger, updated version of then flying passenger aircraft.  It was the introduction of the DC-3 that initially made American Airlines more successful than its competitors.

The DC-3 was the first twin engine aircraft able to earn a profit without the need to haul freight.  It was an instant success. It was first flown by American Airlines in June of 1936. Other airlines based in the United States soon followed American's use of the DC-3 including Delta, Eastern, TWA and United.

Worldwide sales of the DC-3 followed including a purchase by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. DC-3 aircraft were soon flying the world's longest schedule route. It was from Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Sydney, Australia.

DC-3 aircraft service was flown by Cubana de Aviacion airlines from Havana, Cuba to Miami Florida.

It is estimated that in the years just prior to the start of World War II, the DC-3 made all but five percent of the total commercial airline flights throughout the world.  When World War II broke out, many DC-3 aircraft were used for troop transports and air ambulances.

Some 600 DC-3 aircraft were in commercial airline service and an additional 15,000 were in military service. 

DC-3 Dave Johnson


That's Dave Johnson with his DC-3 built from enlarge Ziroli plans. It has a 21 1/2 ft. wingspan with a 14 3/4 ft. length and weighs about 120 lbs. Dave uses Zenoah 62 engines for power.

The Top Flite DC-3 has a wingspan of 82 1/2 in. and length of 55 1/2 in. Building materials in the kit are balsa and plywood. Engines are .25 to .40 two cycle, and weight is around 10 lbs.

Sturla's Design has plans for a DC-3.  Its wingspan is 141 in. and length is 97 in.  Recommended engines are 26 cc or DLF-20RA (see comments below).