The first versions of the DC-3, called Douglas Sleeper Transports, began service with American Airlines in 1936. Demand for the airliner was high because there was nothing directly comparable. By 1938, DC-3s were flying 95 percent of the United States' airline traffic. During World War II, the DC-3 design became a troop and cargo carrier called the C-47. Douglas built a total of 10,654 of the rugged and reliable planes and many are still flying today.
The Museum's DC-3 was built in 1940 for American Airlines. It has seen service with various airlines and flown over 20,000 hours. It now wears the livery of Alaska Airlines, which operated many DC-3s and C-47s after World War II.
Donald Wills Douglas (1892-1981)
Engineer Donald Douglas created his own company in 1920. His "Cloudster" was the first aircraft to lift a payload equal to its own weight and the "Douglas World Cruisers" were the first to fly around the world. During wartime, Douglas built transports, bombers, and attack airplanes. Donald Douglas was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1969 for his design of both military and commercial aircraft.