Have you ever flown in a DC-3?

I did once when I was a kid. My mom worked at Gibbs Flight Service at Montgomery Field in San Diego, and a DC-3 was there. I don’t remember if it was ‘barnstorming’ or if it was based there. Anyway she ponied up a sawbuck for each of us from her secretary’s salary so we could take a short ride. Someday I’d like to actually go somewhere in a DC-3, but at least I got a ride.

Never been in a DC-3, the best I can offer is a ride from Aberdeen in Scotland to the Sumburgh in Shetland in a Vickers Viscount about 15 years ago.

I’ve always wanted to, never had the chance.

Though I am considering heading up north to perhaps get the chance to fly a turbine conversion of one.


I flew in Air North’s DC3 from Darwin to Melville Island in the late 90s. I guess it was pretty cool, but I’m far from being a plane nerd. It was just a way of getting to Milikapiti.

I grew up basically across the street from the local small town airport. When I was about ten yrs old, on summer vacation, my buddy and I “snuck” over there, which was forbidden by our Moms.

We were wandering around a hanger at one of the FBO’s when some adult guy said “Hey, what are you kids doing?” We got all scared of course, but the guy was nice, and it turned out he was working on a DC-3, owned by an oil company. (I grew up on the Gulf Coast, south of Houston.)

Amazingly, after we talked about how we loved airplanes, the dude asked if we wanted to go up for a ride. He actually called our moms, and though we were in trouble, they said ok.

This was in the late 60’s.

Apparently, he was an A&P and a pilot, and needed to take a test flight.
So we went up for a ride, out over Galveston Bay and around the pattern a couple of times.

One of my fondest memories in life is when he let us one at a time stand in front of him and hold the yoke. It came up chest high on us youngsters it seemed, and he let each of us pull back and push forward a little bit, “flying” the airplane.

So we landed and went home and got grounded (pun intended) for a month.

It was my first flight ever, and contributed to taking flying lessons when I was 17, and finally getting a private (long since lapsed) in my twenties.

Sorry for rambling, but thanks for bringing back a great memory.

My first flight was in a DC3 in 1958 and I was 14. This was from Barcelona to the island of Majorca. We had traveled by train from the UK to Barcelona, but to avoid the sea-crossing my parents paid extra to complete our journey by air.

I jumped one (a turbojet modification, even better) in Paraguay once. So one take-off, no landing.

I flew in a DC3 when I was a small kid in the early 1960s. I have almost no memory of it, but then I don’t remember much of my early childhood anyway.

The route was from London to Guernsey, and back again a few weeks later.

I flew in this plane the first military DC-3 made. It was an amazing flight.

I rode in one from Del Rio to Dallas when I was thirteen; it was my first time to fly and I am ashamed to say that airsickness overcame me.

Flew from Port Lyautey (Kenitra) Morocco to Gibraltar, and return, in '58 or '59. It was our “station aircraft”. Also flew in one while getting a “hop”, in the U.S., around the same time, that one (ANG) wasn’t pressurized and had no cabin heat, don’t remember how high we flew, but it was cold. Also flew in a B-25, after takeoff I left my seat in the side gunners position and laid on the deck in the plexiglas nose, all the guns were long gone. I remember looking straight down from this position as we flew across the Mojave.
Also flew in a Convair twin engine prop job, belonged to a local Texas airlines, don’t recall the model. I do recall that the center isle, very narrow, was several inches below the level of the seating. Two narrow seats on each side.

Does a C-47 count?

I flew in one in about 1979 on a family to a fishing lodge in the Panamanian jungle. We flew from Panama City to a small grass airstrip cut out during WWII, where we had to go around again because a dog ran across the airstrip the first time. My dad saw the instruction on the pilot’s clipboard: “Steer around rocks.”

To what extent are DC-3/R4D/C-47s still in use?

I’ve flown on two flights in DC-3s (circa 1982). Never landed in one, though.

Thanks for that story, Klaatu.

About 7-8 years ago, we flew in to San Juan, P.R. to take a vacation cruise. I was looking out the window while we were taxiiing to the terminal and noticed that there were quite a few DC-3s sitting around the place.

One thing I’ve never done but would like to.

I did get to sit in the captain’s seat of the one in the New England Air Museum once, though. Looked just like the sets in Island in the Sky.

Klaatu, thanks for the story - I was one of those kids who couldn’t get enough airplanes either, and now that I finally do some flying of my own I do what I can to be welcoming to the kids who now watch me. Your (US) license is still good, btw - they don’t expire. All you need to get back into it, if you want to, is a renewed medical, a little dual to knock the rust off, and a brief checkride.

I’ve wondered this myself. Over 10,000 of them were built, and the survivors have been rebuilt and re-engined and many are still earning their keep. I’d be interested to know how many are still flying.

ETA: A longtime friend of mine was born in Sitka. He said when he was a kid the family would get off the island by PBY-5 Catalina. Lucky bastard!

I flew in a commercial one as a kid. I think from Chicago to Janesville, WI.

Not ever, or any other (turbo-)prop engined commercial aircraft. Always wanted to, but the smaller Douglas and Boeing jets had already saturated the short haul sector in California by 1965 if not earlier. Going to college in San Diego and being from L.A. I often flew between San Diego and LAX (or Burbank), and it was always a Boeing 737 or 727. When passing through Midwestern airports on my occasional journeys farther afield, however, I would very often see propellered airliners that looked like they could be Viscounts or DC-6s or some such.

I now drive past (or through) LAX nearly every working day and, oddly enough, I often see newer generation turboprops, including one that looks quite like a Viscount. But my expectation is that I really don’t want to go to any of the places where these airplanes are going, so I’m not likely to get a ride on one.

When I was 13 (1971) my family all went back East to see my mother’s family and to spend a week in the Wisconsin North Woods. The first leg of our trip was LAX to Chicago, via American Airlines. American had just proudly trotted out their new widebody DC10, so the in-flight magazine had a long article about the airline’s first DC3s. By all accounts, it seems to have been a remarkable aircraft, especially if you engaged the sleeping compartment in the back. I can’t think of a single in-flight mag I’ve seen since then that was worth saving, but I sure wish I still had that one.

Oh, my yes, many many hours. Very frequent flights in the C-47 (Army Air Corps version), and later frequent flights in Northeast Airlines around New England. Absolutely wonderful aircraft. If you have to crash, you have a much better chance of surviving in a DC-3 than another other plane I know of. Many have walked away from crashes and emergency landings.

Can’t find it now, but back in the late 60s or early 70s, a reporter in, I think it was in The Wall Street Journal, tried to fly across the U.S. in nothing but DC-3s still used in regional airlines, and he did accomplish it. Lots of transfers, though. :smiley: