The scientific tourist #201 — a pilot’s eye view…

…of a DC-3. This shot, from the San Diego Air and Space Museum:

DC-3 cockpit

Well, I guess to be fussy, it’s really a pilot’s eye view of a C-47 — one military variant of the DC-3.

The DC-3 was originally built in 1935 as the Douglas Sleeper Transport, intended to fly 24 passengers by day or 16 by night in what was then a rapidly expanding passenger aviation industry. They wound up being hugely popular, since they finally allowed passengers to cross the U.S. in a single day (15 hours going eastward, 17-1/2 hours going westward) in a single aircraft.

During World War II, the design’s durability and range made it a popular choice for cargo use under the designations C-47, C-53, R4D, and Dakota. After the war, surviving military variants of the DC-3 were converted to civilian use. This flood of surplus aircraft equipped airlines with cheap and easily maintained workhorses, helping spur the post-war airline industry.

Some 16,000 DC-3s were produced, with over 400 still in service across the globe to this day.

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