A step forward in air transport

The DC-3, designed by the Douglas Company in the 1930's, is a famous aircraft in the history of aviation. It revolutionized air travel in way that it was the most efficient civilian aircraft of its time, it was the first aircraft to fly across the United States in fewer than three stops. Until the DC-3 arrived, no other airliner built at that time, was able to make transcon flights. Major US legacy carriers including United, American, TWA and Eastern ordered the type. So did Alaska. American Airlines, managed at that time by C R Smith, and TWA, founded by pioneer pilot Howard Hughes, were among the earliest and most important customers to operate the type. Major airlines in Europe including Air France, BEA, KLM and Sabena followed as well. ANA of Japan flew the type in the 1950's.
Douglas developed the DC-3, seating over 20 passengers, as a successor to the DC-1 and DC-2 built at the request of TWA mentioned above. The competitor at the time was the much less successful Boeing 247 which flew only with United Airlines. Boeing was busy developing the 307 Stratoliner, the 314 Flying Boat at the request of Pan Am, the 377 Stratocruiser and the B-17 for the US Army. It was only at the beginning of the jet age that Boeing, introducing the 707 jet, would have the greater market share in the civilian aviation sector.
The DC-3 made its maiden flight on December 17th 1935, exactly 32 years after the Wright Brothers flight in North Carolina. Some 400 units in passenger version were ordered. At the dawn of the second world war, most civilian DC-3's were converted for military use and many more C-47's were built for several purposes, for example hauling soldier troops over Normandy (France). The C-47 is the military DC-3.
After the war ended in 1945, many military DC-3's were converted for civilian use and the major airlines in the United States and the rest of the world resumed operating the DC-3 on commercial flights until the 1950's when Douglas introduced larger models including the DC-4, DC-6 and DC-7.
More than 10000 DC-3's of both civilian and military versions have been built. No aircraft, in the whole history of aviation, has been built in as many units. Even the Boeing 737, the most selling commercial jet, has not yet reached 10000 units to this day (late 2000's). Several DC-3's are still flying in remote areas of the world, others remain preserved. The above picture, taken at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, shows one of them.

I have flown on the DC-3 once in my whole life. That was back in the mid 1980's when I was coming back from a safari trip in South Africa. I flew on a DC-3 from Skukuza to Johannesburg. What was very particular about riding on the DC-3 was the fact the aircraft was non pressurized unlike all other commercial aircraft I have flown on, the windows only had one layer of glass. What an experience.
In Skukuza (South Africa) there is no jetway bridge and only a few propliners, no jets, I felt I was living in the 1930's in a remote area. I don't remember if there is a control tower at that airport, but with so few aircraft flying in daily, a tower would not be necessary. The controllers would have nothing to do all day! I don't even know if the runway is equipped with low visibility equipment for IFR conditions, it certainly is not CAT III equipped.
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