A classic design icon and one of the most important aircraft ever built, the Douglas DC-3 today celebrates the 75th anniversary of the plane's maiden flight. To mark the occasion, Bruce McAllister has released a handsome new photo book, called DC-3: A Legend In Her TIme.
By way of reviewing McAllister's book, the Wall Street Journal recently penned its own appreciation:
Strictly speaking, only 607 DC-3's were ever built. But modified versions of the plane were built in huge numbers, thus becoming the U.S. Army's C-47 (many of them lend-leased to Britain in 1940 and 1941), the Soviet Union's Li-2 and even Japan's L2D navy transport. By some accounts, the world-wide total of modified DC-3's comes to roughly 16,000. They hauled passengers, paratroopers, refugees, livestock and freight; they served as spy planes, weather stations and gun ships; they flew to both poles and to almost any place on Earth where a 1,000-foot runway could be roughed out.
This Dec. 17 marks the 75th anniversary of the airliner's maiden flight, a good reason for Bruce McAllister's coffee-table tribute, "DC-3." Mr. McAllister has worked both as a photographer and as a pilot, and he draws upon both talents to assemble the 250 photos in this book. Together with his pithy text, the images will, I suspect, cause the spirits of aviation buffs to soar. But the majesty of the plane's design can please the aesthetic sense, too; and the history of the plane itself offers a winged approach to key moments in 20th-century history.
Image: Top: DC-3 at San Francisco Airport, 1940s. Bottom, former American Airlines DC-3 in Sonoma County, California.