USN PHOTO from Chief Will Shelton Collection

The most famous and durable transports in aviation is DC-3 or R4D (Navy and Marines), C-47 (Air Force) and Dakota (British). It was also known as the Gooney Bird, Skytrain and the gunship "Puff".

DC-3's set the standard for air travel when it was introduced and enabled carriers to make a profit on passenger service without taxpayer support.

Some sixty years after the first flight, there are more than 1,000 are still serving the aviation community in a variety of uses.

It was a larger airplane than the DC-1 and DC-2. Wing span was 10 feet longer than the DC-2. Thirty more inches to the length and over 2 feet wider. Also it had double the range of the DC-2

The DC-3 was what the airlines needed and the response was fantastic. From the DC-3's beginning in 1936 to 1939 Douglas DC-2 and 3's carried 90% of the U.S. air traffic.

The C-41 was the first military version of the DC-3 and only one was produced as a staff transport for the Army in 1938 and it was still in service flying sightseeing tourist 1995.

World War II brought about the need for a military version of the DC-3. They were the C-47 and the Navy R4D. These aircraft had large double cargo doors, a sturdier floor, folding bench seats and stronger landing gear.

They routinely flew overloaded while still being reliable and durable. Designed for a maximum take off weight of 12 tones, wartime loads sometimes exceeded 17 tones.

Designed as a commercial aircraft in the 30's the DC-3 / R4D served with distinction in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam with the United States. It has been used as a paratroop carrier, glider tug and gunship just to name a few variants. It has even had pontoons to make it able to land on lakes and rivers.

The attached photo of the R4D-8 is from John Sanger.
The  resolution is not the best but it is one of NAS Grosse Iles R4D-8s. You'll note the fans are turning.
This Grosse Ile R4D-8 is on ramp in front of hanger one waiting taxi instructions from tower prior to take off.


Production ended in 1946, but this aircraft is still serving in many parts of the world and will still be flying into the next century.

Nicknames Dakota, Gooney Bird, Skytrain, Puff
Engines Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 twin wasp
Horsepower 1,050 each
Length 63 feet 9 inches
Height 17 ft.
Wing span 95 foot 6 inches
Weight empty 17,865 lbs.
Wt. operational 31,000 lbs.
Max. speed 230 mph
Service ceiling 26,400 ft.
 Range 3,600 miles
If you have a gif or jpg of one of these aircraft I would love to have a copy for the web site.

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Revised: June 30, 2010