Help us get the DC-3 Airborne for Christmas

 DC-3 Fundraising Drive!

We are working hard on completing the DC-3 and the museum needs your help.  Our goal here at the museum is to get the aircraft in the air by the end of the year.  In order to meet this goal, we need to cross several hurdles of which funding is paramount and we have begun working with the FAA to get an inspection program in place.  With these two items complete, it is anticipated that we could have the aircraft ready to fly by Thanksgiving.

Your donations will help to support the fuel, oil and training needed to get the aircraft through ground testing and first flight.  

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N1945 - Douglas DC-3!


 


DC-3

 Courtesy of Speed of Flight

 The legendary Douglas DC-3 is the latest restoration project by the AHM.  This Douglas DC-3-G202A, registration number NC1945, serial number 3294, was built in Santa Monica, California, in February 1941. It was delivered to Transcontinental and Western Airlines (TWA) at Kansas City, Missouri on March 4, 1941.

About sixty percent of all DC-3 aircraft went to war in WWII as transports; this one did not.  In fact, NC1945 is one of the very few existing DC-3s with the rare 24-passenger, 8-window configuration.  Most remaining DC-3s are of the 21-passenger, 7-window configuration.  This airplane flew with TWA as ship 386, from 1941 until 1952.  In fact, some of our members logged hours in this plane as TWA crewmembers.  It then spent 14 years with North Central Airlines.  In 1968 it went into charter operations, and later was a travel club airplane with Coronado Airlines, in California.

The airplane was doing geo survey work in Torrance, California.  It then sat in the desert west of Palmdale for a few years in storage, as part of an estate.  The airplane was flown to Roswell, New Mexico in the mid-1980's for storage.

In 1993, AHM members became aware of it, and "old 386" was purchased from a Denver museum.  A crew of AHM members made three trips down to Roswell to take the fuselage off the center section and put all of the various parts on trailers for the long highway trip to Kansas City, Missouri.

After locating work space that would hold the airplane, restoration work started.  Stripping paint from the fuselage was the first step in determining the condition of the outside fuselage skin.  Removal of insulation from the inside of the fuselage skin showed the real problems that lay ahead.  Corrosion had played havoc with the skin panels, former rings, stringers, and many other parts.  Anybody in his or her right mind would have said, "it's not worth putting any more money into this airplane". However, being dedicated aircraft restoration enthusiasts, we started the project anyway!

The frame was in good shape, with minor corrosion. This was caused by glue used on the cabin insulation.  Old frames and parts were used as templates and patterns for the new ones. So, we were basically building a new airplane, from the inside out.  We've replaced the majority of the exterior skin with new materials and fasteners. Old panels are dated, signed, and tacked to the hangar wall, which makes very nice hangar decorations, if you're wondering!

The DC-3 is currently being made airworthy. It has completed one engine overhaul and is in the process of the completion of a second engine overhaul. The exterior and interior restoration are nearing completion. The installation of new carpeting and beautifully restored seats are complete. This Douglas DC-3-362, registration number NC1945, serial number 3294, was built in Santa Monica, California, in February 1941. It was delivered to Transcontinental and Western Airlines at Kansas City, Missouri on March 4, 1941. Through all of its travels, this DC-3 has come home.

 

AHM DC-3 N-1945

  • 1941—Our plane was delivered here to TWA, one of the 40% of DC-3s that did not serve as a war transport. It flew for TWA 1941-1952.
  • Over 13,000 DC-3s/C-47s built, majority 7/21 configuration; ours one of the only 600 more rare 8 window/24 passenger configuration built (believed very few of this configuration left).
  • 1993—AHM acquired and hauled here from Roswell, New Mexico .
  • Restoration began and airframe corrosion was found to be a big problem. New frames were built, much of the exterior skin replaced—essentially building a brand new plane.
  • Over 500,000 rivets were used--if laid end-to-end, the rivets would cover a distance of more than three miles.

Specifications

Cockpit of DC-3 operated by FAA to verify operation of navaids (VORs and NDBs) along federal airways
General characteristics
Crew: 2
Capacity: 21-32 passengers
Length: 64 ft 5 in (19.7 m)
Wingspan: 95 ft 0 in (29.0 m)
Height: 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m)
Wing area: 987 ft² (91.7 m²)
Empty weight: 18,300 lb (8,300 kg)
Loaded weight: 25,200 lb (25,346 with deicing boots, 26,900 in some freight versions) (11,400 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9 series (earliest aircraft) or Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3G in the C-47 and later civilian aircraft, 1,100 or 1,200 hp max rating, depending upon engine and model (895 kW) each
Propellers: 3-bladed Hamilton Standard 23E50 series hydraulically controlled constant speed, feathering
Performance
Maximum speed: 237 mph (206 kn, 381 km/h (=Never Exceed Speed (VNE), or Redline speed))
Cruise speed: 150 mph (130 kn, 240 km/h)
Range: 1,025 mi (890 nmi, 1,650 km)
Service ceiling: 24,000 ft (7,300 m)
Rate of climb: 1,130 ft/min (5.73 m/s) initial
Wing loading: 25.5 lb/ft² (125 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.0952 hp/lb (157 W/kg)