The DC-3 first flew on December 17, 1935. Coincidentally, this was just 32 years to the day since Orville Wright flew the world’s first aeroplane for the very first time, from the sand dunes of Kill Devil Hill, in North Carolina.
On that historic day, Mr Wright remained airborne for twelve seconds, and covered a distance of one hundred and twenty feet, just twenty five feet more than the wingspan of this aeroplane.
And yet, in thirty two short years, this machine had been developed, capable of carrying thirty people a thousand miles, at nearly two hundred miles an hour.
It was a breathtaking technical achievement, and the DC-3 quickly became the standard airline aircraft of the western world.
This aircraft was one of the last ones made, and rolled of the Douglas Aircraft Company’s Santa Monica production line in August 1945.
It was delivered as a C-47 to the RAAF, and served that service faithfully, including in two wars, until it came to us in the late eighties.
As is common with military aircraft as opposed to civilian ones, they do very little flying, and this machine’s no exception, with the result that even now it’s only flown the equivalent of four years of normal airline service, so it’s a very young, old aeroplane.
It’s powered by two mighty Pratt and Whitney twin-row Wasp piston engines; each has fourteen cylinders, a capacity of 1830 cubic inches, and develops 1200 horsepower for takeoff.
Arguably the most sacred site in Australian Aviation, the RAAF base at Point Cook.
Point Cook is where much of the early flying was accomplished in Australia, nearly one hundred years ago. For more than eighty years it was the RAAF’s main training base, and home of the RAAF College, where the service struggled to turn callow youths into officers and gentlemen.
It’s now the home of the RAAF Museum, a world class military history facility, specializing in our aviation heritage.
The Museum is unique in the world in hosting an air display three times a WEEK.
That’s right, every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at one o’clock, one or the other of the Museum’s five airworthy aircraft, which range from a Tiger Moth to a Mustang is wheeled out, (often visiting aircraft are utilized, including one of ours once or twice a month) the pilot demonstrates to the visitors of the day what’s involved in preparing the aircraft for flight, flies a brief display, and takes questions afterwards.