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Flight Craft 21: Douglas DC-3 (ePub)

The Airliner that Revolutionised Air Transport

Aviation Colour eBooks Military > Modelling Photographic eBooks

By Robert Jackson
Imprint: Air World
Series: Flight Craft
File Size: 25.7 MB (.epub)
Pages: 88
ISBN: 9781526759993
Published: 18th November 2020


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No airliner in the history of commercial aviation has had a more profound effect than the Douglas DC-3. It was reliable, easy to maintain and carried passengers in greater comfort than ever before.

Its origins stem from a design by the Douglas Aircraft Company of Santa Monica, California. Known as the Douglas Commercial One, or DC-1, this new aircraft was revolutionary in concept. It was quickly developed into the DC-2, an airliner that lead to Douglas’ domination of the domestic air routes of the United States, and of half the world.

Experience with the DC-2 led to the development of an improved version, the Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST), first flown on 17 December 1935. This in turn evolved into a 21-seat variant, the DC-3, featuring many improvements. The first American Airlines DC-3 entered service in June 1936, and within three years of its introduction the aircraft accounted for a staggering 95 percent of all commercial air traffic in the United States. From commencement of service to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the DC-3 increased domestic revenue passenger miles more than fivefold. Of the 322 aircraft operated by the country’s airlines in December 1941, 260 were DC-3s. At the pre-war peak, 30 foreign airlines operated the DC-3. On the eve of war, the DC-3’s scheduled flights represented 90 percent of international air traffic.

In addition to over 600 civil examples of the DC-3, 10,048 military C-47 variants were built, as well as 4,937 produced under licence in the USSR as the Lisunov Li-2 and 487 built by Showa and Nakajima in Japan as the L2D. After the war, thousands of surplus C-47s, previously operated by several air forces, were converted for civilian use. These aircraft became the standard equipment of almost all the world's airlines, remaining in frontline service for many years. The ready availability of cheap, easily maintained ex-military C-47s, both large and fast by the standards of the day, jumpstarted the worldwide post-war air transport industry.

The full remarkable story of the DC-3, and its ancestor, the DC-2, is told in these pages, providing a wealth of information for the modeller and the enthusiast alike.

The DC-3 has a special place in the history of aviation, with its classic design establishing new benchmarks for reliability and luxury, and it was so successful in pioneering new mail and passenger routes during the latter half of the 1930's that within a few short years 600 had been built and enjoyed a near monopoly on commercial air travel over the USA. This achievement was dwarfed by its performance during the Second World War, with over 15,000 military versions being produced as the C-47 Skytrain, otherwise known as the Dakota to the British and the Lisunov Li-2 to the USSR. It provided the Airborne Forces with a superb parachute dropping and glider towing aircraft, but above all saw ubiquitous service as a transport workhouse, carrying passengers and freight all over the globe, delivering supplies to forward bases and evacuating wounded on the return flight. This book summarises its service history, but with many colour photographs and renderings it is primarily intended as a superb reference for modellers, including a wide range of patterning examples and close up detail of numerous component parts.

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Pegasus Archive

Featured in

Air Fan, June - July 2021

Full review here

JP4 Aviation Monthly

This is a very useful book of a source of inspiration and motivation to build a replica of this long serving icon of flight.

IPMS Magazine, Issue 3 - 2021

A great addition to the highly popular Flight Craft Series. This book reviews the history of an icon of both civil and military aviation – Very Highly Recommended

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Must-have Air Modeling Series in our private library.

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Miniaturas JM

It is very well written with some very detailed photographs, some amazing modelling that ticks all the right boxes.

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"A whopping 109 colour photos shows kits in various stages of completion...Enjoyed it."

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The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

Highly recommended.

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AMPS Indianapolis

As featured by

Cocardes International, February/March 2021

This iconic aircraft, still in use in various roles (many of the available versions are listed on pages 28-33) in today's world, has an everlasting appeal that will allow it to be known and loved for a long time. This book is an opportunity to get to know it better and, if possible, to recreate it to scale thanks to the precious advice of Robert Jackson.

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On The Old Barbed Wire

Another of the most famous aircraft ever flown and still flying today. This book is a lovely reference both for the aircraft enthusiast alone as well as the modeller. From my own point of view this is again a most useful publication for myself as a modeller and a keen civilian aircraft enthusiast. The book runs through the origins of the aircraft, possible replacements of which the DC-3 has outlived along with a list of kits and builds for the modeller. Fantastic!!

Review by Andy Thomson

As featured on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

That leads on into a section of 8-pages of some very colourful profiles, only a couple of which show any military camouflage though along with civilian markings. Then the final part of the book is filled with Modelling the DC-3 and a Model Showcase. This details and assesses a great variety of models in an equally varied set of scales. From the old original 1./72 Airfix Dakota as well as their new one, as well as 1/144 and 1/48 models, all very neatly finished and accompanied by plenty of modelling tips.
Another excellent addition to the FlightCraft series of books from author Robert Jackson.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

One of the things I love about the Flight Craft books are the pages of aircraft profile pictures which show it in the liveries of different operators, both civilian and military, and this DC-3 book is no exception. This is obviously a great help to modellers.

Two other interesting chapters in the book include one on the DC-3’s current roles under the title ‘Live on Forever’. Its longevity means we’ll easily see DC-3s operating a hundred years after they first flew.

The other interesting chapter is ‘A Pilot’s Story’ and is written by Simon Lannoy, a former DC-3 pilot for Intra Airways who was based in Jersey. It offers some really interesting insights into what it was like to fly the DC-3.

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Airport Spotting

About Robert Jackson

ROBERT JACKSON is the author of over eighty books on military, aviation, naval and scientific subjects. He was defence and science correspondent for a major British newspaper publishing group. Among the other books he has compiled for Pen & Sword are on the Bf-109 in the FlightCraft series, whilst he has written extensively on the T-34, the Panzer I and II, the Centurion, and Chieftain main battle tanks, as well as the Russian T54/55, for TankCraft.

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