The Douglas DC-3 is still going strong 80 years after its first flight took place on December 17 1935.
The first DC-3s were built for American Airlines and featured either eight sleeper berths (called the Douglas Sleeper Transport) or a standard configuration of 21 seats.
The DC-3 proved one of aviation’s most successful programs, with about 16,000 aircraft built between 1935 and 1946 – comprising 600 or so civil DC-3s, over 10,000 military C-47 Skytrain/Dakota variants plus aircraft licence-built in Russia and Japan. The C-47 provided the bulk of US and allied nations’ airlift capabilities in WW2, while after the war surplus C-47s were converted into DC-3 airliners in their thousands and they would play a central role in the development of the postwar airline industry across the world.
Australian Aviation Traffic columnist Gordon Reid captured some images of Air Nostalgia’s DC-3 VH-TMQ taking off from Essendon Airport on December 17 2015, 80 years to the day since DC-3’s thefirst flight.
The Air Nostalgia DC-3 was built as a C-47 for the US Army Air Force (serial 44-76552) before it headed to Australia to join the Royal Australian Air Force (as A65-91).
And after its service with the RAAF, the aircraft found a home with various Australian airlines and featured in an ABC television documentary, before being sold to Air Nostalgia in 1996.
With a completely restored and modernised interior, VH-TMQ has 28 seats and operates charter flights from Essendon.