Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3…“Where it all began”

Airline transport, military recon, aerial bug and crop spraying, navigation training, ice patrol, aerial mapping, geophysical surveying, fire bombing, and the checking of navigational beacons & instrument approach systems. Carrying passengers, cargo, freight, live stock, military personal. The DC-3 is suited for the job and the load.

Sporting a maximum payload of 7, 000 lbs, a range of 1200 statute miles and a normal operating speed of 159 kts the aircraft is truly a unique addition to the Buffalo Airways fleet. The airline currently has 6 DC-3’s:

The aircraft have flown from one end of Canada to the other, south into the United States, and as far north as Greenland. The Douglas DC-3’s at Buffalo Airways normally operate on wheels, but when it comes time to land on the snow-covered lakes of the Canadian North, some of the aircraft have the wheels removed, and replaced with skis.

The DC-3, otherwise known as the C-47, Dakota, Dak, Skytrain or Gooney Bird, it made its first flight on December 17, 1935, over sixty years ago. It was a day that made history in every corner of the globe. The aircraft went into production at a time of war, the Second World War. Because of this, the durable airplane saw service with many of the world’s air forces.

American Airlines were the first to use the very warm and comfortable DC-3 commercially and with the advent of the war orders came pouring in both from the military and commercial airliners. Production soared and Douglas produced almost 600 DC-3/C-47's per month. Between 1935 and 1947 Douglas had built a total of 10,654 of the type and 63 years later there are still almost a 1,000 in flying condition. Between 400-500 are commercially flown. Buffalo Airways passengers admire its comfort and reliability. “The seats are wide and plush, providing leg room that has been long been lost in the economics of airline travel.”

As workhorses for airlines and the military the DC-3’s role in aviation competes with the modern Jet era. There is no true replacement for the most immortal plane of all time. The truly remarkable aircraft has flown from the warmest deserts, to the coldest, snow-covered north and south poles. The DC-3 has been everywhere.

“There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like flying in a DC-3.”
Trev Morson, May 1997.


Douglas DC-3, SIS3-G

TYPE: The Douglas DC-3 is certified in the transport category. A variant, the C-47 is designed for Military Transport

PERIOD BUILT: 1935 to 1947

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States of America

ENGINE: Two 895-kW Pratt and Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp radials at 1200hp


  • Wing span: 95ft
  • Length: 64ft 5_ in
  • Height: 16ft 11_ in


With Passengers
Cargo Only
Maximum Gross Take-Off Weight
26, 200 lbs
26, 900 lbs
Maximum Operational Landing Weight
26, 000 lbs
26, 900 lbs
  • Empty: 16,865 – 17, 500 lbs


  • Maximum Cruising Speed: 180
  • Normal Operating Speed Limit (Vno): 159 kts
  • Never Exceed Speed (Vne): 190 kts
  • Wing Flaps Extended Speed (Vfe): 97
    (Maximum speed with wing flaps fully extended)
  • Wing Flaps extended _: 135
  • Wing Flaps extended _: 99
  • Wing Flaps extended _: 97
  • Landing Gear Extended Speed (Vle): 138
    (Maximum speed with the landing gear extended and locked)
  • Maximum Lift-off and Critical Engine Failure Speed: 84
    (110% minimum control speed)
  • Minimum Controllability Speed (Vmc): 76
    (One engine inoperative, T.O. power or less on operating engine)
  • Minimum Initial Approach Speed for Landing: 85
  • Ceiling: 23, 200 ft
  • Range with maximum fuel: 1200 SM
  • Fuel Burn: 90 imp gal/hr
  • Minimum Landing Requirements: 2500 ft
  • Minimum Take-Off Requirements: 2500 ft
  • Minimum Ice Thickness for Ice: 20 inches


  • 2 flight crew members
  • 28 Passengers or a Combination of Passengers / Cargo
  • Cargo Load: 7000 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity:
    • Aircraft Capacity: 670 imp. gal
    • Bulk Fuel Tanks: 900 imp. gal

There's an old saying:"The only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3" and as I write this today, I believe this still holds true.
Trev Morson

Visit the Buffalo Airways page to learn more about our new DVD featuring the DC-3





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