Friday, April 19, 2013

Time to get a new plane?

Last night, Brighid (Not Brigid) got me to be thinking.

She had this wonderful post about the venerable Douglas DC-3,and doggone it, she kind of got me wanting one.

I mean, don't get me wrong--I love my Cessna 172, but you know, it is a touch small for when I want to carry a few folks or stuff, and it's speed and range are a bit on the limited side. Like most pilots and plane owners, I would like to be able to travel farther and fly faster than I currently can. And everyone says that a twin-engine is the way to go. So I got to be thinking.

And then I found this--The coolest DC-3 website ever. The've got pictures, history, even articles on how to fly a DC-3.

And then I started finding these:

1945 Douglas C-47/DC-3 for sale.
No log books, but the price is nice.

And this one:

1946 Douglas DC-3 for sale.
This one has some (but not all) of it's log books. It's just in Mexico, but it'll be delivered here just as soon as it's paid for. What could go wrong there, right?

If it's not asking too much, would the usual suspects who've talked me out of buying all of the other way-cool-but-totally-impractical aircraft that I've set my sights on whack me with the reality bat one more time, please?


  1. I say buy it for Murph's sake. He'd have his own airborn "doggie run" for those long trips!! Add a bit of astro turf over a litter box of some type . . . . you're travlin' in style sir!!!!

  2. Quickest cure? Whip out your credit card and pay to refuel one.

  3. Don't know if we SHOULD talk you out of it, sir. My single round-trip in a DC-3 was in '73, from Great Lakes Naval Station, IL to a parade in Ohio (the city escapes me).

    The left engine caught fire upon landing, and the crew rushed out with extinguishers to fight it. Then they told us, "It always does that." Sure enough, it did it again when we got back to Great Lakes.

    Noisy & unpressurized, but ... dang, it was fun!

  4. @ WSF: Yeah, that 90-100 gallons per hour fuel burn is a bit of a turn-off, but compared to the 180 GPH fuel burn of the Douglas A-26 that I really love, it's downright thrifty!

  5. No different than somebody selling their house to buy an RV. Your whole house would be one big bug-out bag!

  6. How tall are you? Saddest day of my Flying Buddy's life (to hear him tell it) was the day I introduced him to an acquaintance with two DC-3's. The owner shook his hand, looked him up and down, and said, "You can fit in that cockpit, and finish your commercial, you can fly 'er."

    Flying Buddy's 6'8", and he couldn't get his knees out of the way enough to get the yoke even halfway back. I swear the poor man was thinking of double-amputation, as he struggled and struggled to find some possible way.

    Now, let me talk to you about a grumman albatross...

  7. Mmmmmm...Albatross!

    And if the cockpit is too tight, one leg does come off!

  8. Albatross is too big. Get a Goose.

  9. Not a jeep, but might be better.
    Do a search on the GSA auction site for a GMC705
    This is the sale / lot number 51QSCI13152011

    They had a up to date inspected turbo DC-3 awhile back too, but I think it went into 7 figures.

  10. FUEL- ANNUAL- HULL INSURANCE... Do I need to go on???

  11. The most beautiful restoration I've seen is right here locally at the C. R. Smith (American Airlines) Aviation Museum - from back when airline flight was a swanky affair - not like today's airborne Greyhound buses.

    My Dad almost bought a DC-3 back in the '70s. If memory serves, it was in the $20,000-30,000 range. I suspect, though, that had it happened, I would today be lacking a college education - the overhead and maintenance on that kind of craft would have been crushing and probably would've forced us to subsist on beans & franks.

    A Staggerwing, on the other better than a beautiful woman. I do wish he'd bought one of those.


  13. There's a DC-3 based at the Long Beach Airport (LGB) that still flies in revenue service.

    It's owned by Catalina Airways, and flies perishable stuff and FedEx/UPS items out to Catalina.

    And it was probably built on the other side of LGB where the Douglas palnt used to be.

    The Boeing building where a lot of the C-17 work is done still has the "Fly DC Jets" sign on it. They were going to take it down, and the local aviation community raised such a stink that Boeing actually paid to have it refurbished.

  14. A DC-3 would be nice but I've always loved this aircraft, don't know why, just do.

  15. Oh the memories. As a kid in the 1960's I used to ride my bike after school over to our small town airport to watch the once a day landing of the Hughes AirWest DC3. There is no sound quite like a big bore radial. But as an earlier comment has it, just try to fuel one. And remember, those leaky old radials drink more oil than fuel.
    I'll just have to be grateful that my old Cessna 172M is still airworthy. I can't really justify its ongoing cost, but flying is a passion.

  16. @ Greg: PLease don't refer to a 172M as "old". Mine is a G.

  17. One of my fondest memories was walking up to the Aero Virgin Island Air terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1980s for a hop to St Thomas V.I. on my honeymoon. Behind the counter was a picture captioned "DC-3, Fifty Years and Still Flying". Now if only the luggage had made the flight with us it would have been perfect. It did arive the next day. I still grin when I think of walking "UP" the aisle to our seats on that old tail dragger. Pleasant flight even in tropical afternoon air.

  18. Hi Lagniappe!!!,
    Did you say,"DC-3??" From the mid 1970's thru the 80's the venerable "3" was the backbone of most major Dropzones (Skydiving Centers) in CONUS. With the interior gutted you could get 30 jumpers to 13K in about 30 minutes!! There are still a few around but not regular fliers. I think Skip Evans still has N26MA! Nothin' like being one of the last jumpers in the lineup (#29 or 30) of the human catterpillar from the front bulkhead to the door, hear the count, "READY, SET, GO!!!!" and by the time you get to the door you are in a full run, out the door, head down dive and head for the Base!!!!! Yup, DC-3's, anyone remember N157U??? Better known at Scare-Us-Valley as 57Ugly!! There's several "U-Toob" vids of the last flight of N157U!! 'Could've been worse!!! Crashing sux!