MIA Welcomes Vintage Flagship Detroit DC-3 - June 10, 2011  


The Flagship Detroit, NC-17334, is the oldest flying DC-3 in the world

 

June 10, 2011

State of the Ports Briefing 2011

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A feature on a historic American Airlines plane created by Boston Herald. Continue

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The Flagship Detroit DC-3 visits Nashville

Local reporter Carlos Jasso reports on the visit of the Flagship Detroit DC-3 to the Nashville International Airpor. Continue

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TASM Hosts World’s Oldest Flying DC-3 

 

 

“The Detroit,” a vintage DC-3 built by Douglas Aircraft Company in 1937 sits gleaming in the April sun on the tarmac just south of Tulsa Air & Space Museum at Tulsa International Airport waiting for a load of eager passengers representing Tulsa area press.

The Detroit is the oldest flying DC-3 in the world and is operated by the Flagship Detroit Foundation, www.FlagshipDetroit.org, a privately funded, nonprofit organization promoting the remarkable history of these renowned aviation workhorses and educating the public on the importance of these aircrafts in the history of aviation in America. The completely restored plane was here during the week leading up to Tulsa Air and Space Museum’s annual Aviator Ball, a major fundraiser for the museum. This year, the event paid tribute to the 65th anniversary of American Airlines’ Tulsa maintenance base.

The plane has logged nearly 50,000 hours in the air, and though this may sound like a lot it is really a young to middle-aged DC-3 based on the life span of all planes in the fleet. Many have been retired or are still flying with well over 100,000 hours. But even as a middle-aged plane, The Detroit has had a full life. In its youth, it was a Braniff Airlines plane flying passengers coast to coast. It once served to shuttle First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt across America on her many philanthropic quests. It fell on hard times and became a drug smuggling airplane for a short period of time in South America. It was at one time equipped for spraying fire retardant chemicals on forest fires. Finally it was rescued by American Airlines and after being restored ended up starring in a rather lack luster movie titled, “The Killer Inside Me.” Continue

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Video taken from the DC-3 over Niagara Falls

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The Flagship Detroit

American Airlines DC-3 Flagship Detroit - Alliance Air Show - photo by flat6a

N17334 DC-3; "Flagship Detroit" ;1909 Central Dr. Suite 204, Bedford, TX 76021, photo by DC-3Detroit

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The Flagship Detroit Foundation is a non-profit (501c-3) organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of one of the most popular aircraft in American Airlines history. The Flagship Detroit, NC-17334, is the oldest flying DC-3 in the world.

The aircraft was built in 1937 and was the 21st DC-3 that American Airlines received. American ended up operating 84 DC-3s until they went out of service in 1949. NC17334 is the oldest DC-3 still flying today. The DC-3 was purchased by the Flagship Detroit Foundation in August 2004 and was restored. Today it is flown around the country to remind people of the history of flying.

 

Americans's first scheduled passenger service DC-3 flight was on June 25, 1936 with the Flagship Illinois, nonstop service between Chicago and New York. Continue

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DC-3 Factoids

  • Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made. Many DC-3s are still used in all parts of the world.
  • This was the flagship aircraft of the 1930s, much like the DC7 was in the 1950s, and the A380 is in the 2000s.
  • The DC-3 was the result of a marathon $300 phone call from American Airlines CEO Cyrus Smith to Donald Douglas, during which Smith persuaded a reluctant Douglas to design a sleeper aircraft based on competitor TWA’s DC-2 but upgraded. Douglas only agreed to go ahead with development after Smith told him that American would buy 20 aircraft.
  • With only three refuelling stops, eastbound transcontinental flights across the U.S. taking approximately 15 hours became possible.
  • This was the first airliner that could make money on just passengers rather than air freight
  • Total production of the DC-3 was 16,079
  • American Airlines inaugurated passenger service on June 26, 1936, with simultaneous flights from Newark, N.J. and Chicago, IL
  • December 17, 2010, marks the 75th anniversary of the DC-3's first flight, and there are still small operators with DC-3s in revenue service and as cargo aircraft. The common saying among aviation buffs and pilots is that "the only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3." The aircraft's legendary ruggedness is enshrined in the lighthearted description of the DC-3 as "a collection of parts flying in loose formation. Its ability to take off and land on grass or dirt runways makes it popular in developing countries, where runways are not always paved.
  • The oldest DC-3 still flying is the original American Airlines Flagship Detroit (c/n 1920, #43 off the Santa Monica production line) which is here today.

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 21-32 passengers

 

DC-3 / DC7 / A380 Comparison Statistics

Entry Into Service:

  • DC3 (1936)
  • DC7 (1953)
  • A380 (2007)

Passengers:

  • DC3 (21-32)
  • DC7 (99 to 105)
  • A380 (526)

A380 carries passengers equal to over 20 DC3s and 5 DC7s

Ceiling:

  • DC3 (10,000 feet)
  • DC7 (25,000 feet)
  • A380 (43,000 feet)

A380 flies 4 times higher than DC3

Range:

  • DC3 (1,025 miles)
  • DC7 (5,635 miles)
  • A380 (9,500 miles)

A380 has 9X longer range than DC3 and double DC7 range

Wingspan:

  • DC3 (95 ft)
  • DC7 (127 ft)
  • A380 (261 ft) 

A380 = 2 DC7 and almost 2.5 DC3s

Length:

  • DC3 (64.5 feet)
  • DC7 (112 ft)
  • A380 (238 ft)

A380 equals almost 4 DC-3s and 2.5 DC7s

Speed:

  • DC3 (150mph)
  • DC7 (406 mph)
  • A380 (587mph)

A380 is almost 400% faster than DC-3

 

  • The oldest DC-3 still flying is the original American Airlines Flagship Detroit (c/n 1920, #43 off the Santa Monica production line) which is here today.
  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 21-32 passengers