Incredible &Amazing Facts about the DC-3

Buried for months in snow on a glacier in Iceland, a C-47 was abandoned by the Air Force as hopelessly unsalvageable. But the owners of Icelandic Airlines dug it out and flew it home - on engines and batteries still able to operate after the long freeze.

Military DC-3's (C-47's) were a hardy lot. In World War II, a Japanese kamikaze pilot tried to shoot one down, then, unable to do so, rammed it. The kamikaze crashed; the undaunted C-47, with a gaping hole in the mid upper fuselage, shorn of much of its cabin, merely shrugged and staggered on home, a bit drafty but safe.

In another wartime skirmish, a Japanese Zero colided with a C-47, slicing off most of its rudder. The Zero plunged to earth, while the tailless C-47 managed to wallow back to base, being officially credited with an enemy "kill" by downing the hapless Zero.

A mid-air collision clipped 5 feet from one wing of a Capital Airlines DC-3, yet its pilot brought it down reasonably intact, its passengers and crew safe.

A C-47 ran out of fuel with all its crew bailing out, only to learn later that the aircraft had landed gently all by itself in a meadow several miles from were the crew had deserted her.

A Chinese DC-3 grounded because of engine trouble, was strafed by five Japanese fighters that out more than 3,000 bullet holes in its wings and fuselage. Its engines more or less repaired and the bullet holes patched with canvas and improvised glue, the plane took off and ran into a heavy rainstorm. The engines were running roughly, belching out huge streaks of blue and orange flame. The rain washed away the cobbled-up bullet hole patches, setting up a loud eerie whistling noise as the aircraft staggered homeward. A patrol of six enemy fighters jumped the stricken transport, but suddenly broke off the attack without firing a single shot. Safely down, the planes crew monitored a Tokyo broadcast that described a new Allied secret weapon that "spouts streams of flame and screeches in horrible tones as it flies.

Designed to carry a maximum of no more than 30 passengers, one C-47 in Burma during the war somehow managed to board a total of 74, including the then-Lt Col. Jimmy Doolittle, who was enroute home from his famous bombing raid on Tokyo.

In Brazil, a DC-3 once wallowed into the air with 93 flood victims aboard, a feat that effectively contradicts aerodynamic principles as basic as two and two equals four.

500,000 rivets were used in the DC-3. If the rivets were laid end to end, they would cover more than three miles long.

3,600 blueprints were used for the making of the DC-3 and if laid on the floor, they would cover approximately 28,000 square feet.

The total length of control cables for a DC-3 is over half a mile long.

The lighting system of each DC-3 plane was sufficient to light an eight room house. More than 90 lights were used in each plane. 1,517 watts are required. To light an ordinary room in those days only 100 watts was required.

Approximately 6,000 men and women were employed in building a DC-3.

Material used for sound insulation in the DC-3 and the DST "Sleeper" weighed 240 pounds. Blankets and mattresses weighed another 195 pounds.

3,900 feet of tubing, 8,000 feet of wire and approximately 13,300 square feet of sheet metal were used in the construction of each DC-3.

The heating and ventilation used in the DC-3 dispensed 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute on a warm day. As it took a little more than 15 hours to fly from Los Angeles to New York, 900,000 cubic feet of air passed through the cabin or 60,000 to 75,000 pounds of air were utilized on the trip, depending on the altitude flown.

More than 120,000 BTUs were delivered to the cabin of a DC-3 on a cold day. On a flight to NY from LA, 1,800,000 BTUs were delivered during the 15 hours the plane was in the air. The boiler weighed 17 pounds and evaporated 15 gallons of water an hour. Approximately 225 gallons of water were evaporated from LA to NY. Only six quarts of water are carried in the heating system where it was continuously evaporated and condensed.

A radiator capable of heating air from 4 degrees F. to 200 degrees F. was installed in every DC-3. The air passed through the radiator at a speed of 3,000 feet a minute and since the radiator was only a foot long it took only 1/50 of a second to heat the air from 4 to 200 degrees. The radiator weighed 36 pounds.

Heating a DC-3 in the air was the equivalent of heating a building in a 200 mph wind at a 35 degree outside temperature

Approximately 700,000 parts were used in the construction of the DC-3. This is exclusive of instruments and engine parts and exclusive also of the 500,000 rivets used on each plane.

The engines powering the DC-3 weighed 1,275 pounds each or a total of 2,550 pounds. This weight alone is a striking contrast to the payload available on some of the early airmail planes flown which was around 250 pounds.

At a cruise speed of 180 mph at 10,000 feet each engine developed 550 hp Ninety-one gallons of fuel were used each hour giving approximately 2 miles per gallon.

Sometime between February and July of 1957 a commercial DC-3 pilot took his passengers sight seeing near Phoenix, AZ. He got up close and personal with a mountain side--a bit too close and too personal. He brushed the mountain side and took of the left wing tip outboard of the outboard aileron hinge. The Gooney Bird landed minus the wing tip and with an embarrased pilot.