Monday, January 9, 2017

Homage to the DC-3

The above bronze statues of Donald W. Douglas and his dog Wunderbar stand below a giant DC-3 across from the Santa Monica Airport on the grounds of the Museum of Flying.  His fleet of  fixed wing, propeller-driven airplanes revolutionized travel for us common man.  I had to pay my respects!
Before the DC-3, travel by air was slow, scary and extremely expensive.  There were the Fokker Tri-motors and the Curtiss biplanes, but when this baby took to the air in 1935, at greater speeds, greater heights and greater comfort, the other guys were . . . well . . .grounded.   By the 1950's, if you were traveling by air, you were traveling on a DC-3.

The plane became a worldwide sensation.  It could cruise at 200 mph and climb above the turbulence.  Interior soundproofing and fresh-air ventilation made it comfortable for those lucky 32 passengers aboard.  Because of its strength and reliability, the DC-3 is still being flown today despite the fact that production stopped in 1975.
The aircraft on display in Santa Monica was built in 1942 and delivered to the U.S. Army for use as a paratrooper and glider tug.  President Eisenhower remarked that the DC-3 was one of the four reasons the Allies won World War II.  (The other three were the jeep, the bazooka and the atom bomb.)

After the war, its sleek silhouette starred in many a motion picture like Quantum of Solace and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

  Revolutionary.  War Hero.  Movie Star.  The DC-3 was a marvel of design and progress.  Over the decades, it transported thousands upon thousands of us wingless beings from coast to coast and beyond.  United, American, TWA, Delta and Eastern all had DC-3's in their fleet.

Oh, yeah.  I had to pay my respects.


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