Designed in the mid-1930s, it is no exaggeration to claim that the DC-3 Skyliner completely transformed air commerce. The DC-3 was the first airliner designed with the capacity and range to make transporting passengers profitable. As a result, the airlines raced to order the new Douglas transport. So many, in fact, that by 1939 almost 90% of all air commerce world-wide was flying in DC-3s.
With the outbreak of World War II, the DC-3’s military cousin, the C-47 Skytrain, was to become the mainstay of the Allied air transportation scheme with over 10,000 constructed for the U.S. Army. In the years immediately after the war, as manufacturers scrambled to design a replacement for the DC-3, it quickly became apparent that the only replacement for a DC-3 was, well, another DC-3. Even today, almost 80 years after the first DC-3 was delivered, hundreds are still at work carrying passengers and cargo.
In total, some 16,079 C-47/DC-3s were built by Douglas and under license in the USSR and Japan. If these aircraft were lined up touching wingtip to wingtip, they would comprise a row of aircraft over 289 miles long.
The Aircraft on Display was delivered to the 1264th Base Unit of the U.S. Army’s 9th Air Force’s North African Wing at Payne Field in Cairo, Egypt in May, 1943, and continued to serve with the 9th Air Force for the remainder of WWII. Following the end of hostilities in Europe, she was transferred to the 12th Air Force’s Middle East Command based in Turkey. After only one year with the 12th Air Force, she was declared surplus by the Army and sold to Devlet Havayollari Idaresi (The state airline of Turkey) and remained in their service until 1954 at which time she was sold to private owners and returned to the United States.
In 1957 this aircraft underwent conversion to a DC-3 executive configuration after which she was promptly sold to the government of Mexico. Following decades of service with Mexico’s Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico (Minister of Finance and Housing) and the Sectetaria de Agricultura y Ganaderia (Minister of Agriculture and Livestock), this aircraft was transferred to the FAM (Mexican Air Force) in 1993. The aircraft remained with the FAM until 1999 when she was sold into private ownership in Mexico. In 2007 the aircraft was purchased by World Jet Inc. and returned to the United States.