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Heroes of the Sky



The Planes: 1939 Douglas DC-3

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Length: 64' 6";
Wingspan: 95'
Weight (empty): 15,800 lbs.

Construction Materials: Aluminum, fabric on ailerons, elevators and rudder
Builder: Douglas Aircraft Company, Santa Monica, California
Cost: $110,000 new; $35,000 when bought by North Central Airlines in 1952
Number Built: 10,926 in U.S. (10,123 military, 803 civilian); about 3,500 additional Japanese and Soviet versions
Engine Type: Two Wright Cyclone, 9-cylinder, 1,000-horsepower, radial, air-cooled internal combustion engines
Engine Builder: Wright Aeronautical Company, Patterson, New Jersey
Configuration: 1-pilot/21-passenger tractor monoplane
Maximum Speed: 190 m.p.h.

Flying into the Record Books
As an airliner for Eastern Airlines and North Central Airlines, this DC-3:

  • Flew more than 12 million miles in 83,032 hours
  • Used 550 main gear tires and 25,000 spark plugs
  • Wore out 136 engines
  • Consumed almost 9 million gallons of gasoline
  • Taxied over 100,000 miles
  • Flew an additional 1,843 hours after being refitted as a corporate plane

When it was donated to the Museum in 1975, it had spent more time aloft than any other airplane in history. That record has since been broken by another DC-3.



the planes   make a paper airplane  
Teachers, get lesson plans and see the curriculum ties to the Heroes of the Sky.
See the planes on exhibit, check out the specifications and get a sneak peak in a few cockpits. Try one of these high- flying designs at home!


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institution not affiliated with the Ford Motor Company or the Ford Foundation.