Super DC-3 goes on selling tour | Aviation Week, October 17, 1949


With its first orders on the books, Douglas Aircraft Co. plans to keep its Super DC-3 selling program in high gear for the remainder of 1949.

A sister ship of the prototype Super DC-3, which has made a 10,000-mi. demonstration run, is expected to go on an exhibition tour shortly.

This second Super DC-3 will have 30-37 seats instead of the executive-type interior arrangement of the prototype. It will have 1450-hp. Pratt & Whitney R-2000 engines rather than the 1475- hp. Wright R-1820-C9HE engines on the prototype.

Douglas hopes to complete Super DC-3 certification tests by November. 

Capital Breaks the Ice - Sale of three planes to Capital Airlines broke the ice in the Super DC-3 sales campaign. By the end of 1952, when its 24 standard DC-3s must be retired from scheduled service under existing civil air regulations, Capital hopes to have 20 Super DC-3s as replacements.

Other domestic airlines which have not yet acquired postwar twin-engine aircraft are United Air Lines and TWA with 69 DC-3s each, Eastern with 51, Delta and Mid-Continent with 20 each, Braniff 15, Colonial and Chicago & Southern with 13. Including feederlines, the domestic carriers still have over 400 conventional DC-3s in service. 

Foreign Markets - With an eye to foreign markets, Douglas included Canada and Mexico on the itinerary of its first Super DC-3 tour. Dollar shortages and currency devaluations complicate foreign sales prospects, but an answer to the problem is being sought. 

Licensing of Douglas service centers abroad to make the Super DC-3 conversion in Europe and South America has been under consideration. With this arrangement, complete kits of parts would be sent abroad.

Financial circles have reported that Douglas might enter into a working agreement with Canadian Car & Foun- dry Co., Ltd., Montreal, for manufacture of the Super DC-3 in the Dominion.

Performance - Latest Douglas data on the Super DC-3 claims the craft will cruise at 250 mph. (50 mph. faster than the standard DC-3) at 15,400 ft. with the 1475-hp. Wright engines and at slightly lower speed with the 1450- hp. P&Ws. Top speed is listed at 270 mph. using either type engine.

The new plane's maximum gross take- off weight of 31,000 lb. is 5800 lb. greater than the conventional DC-3. Capacity payload of over 7000 lb. is more than 2000 lb. over the standard DC-3.

With its higher-powered engines, redesigned outer wing panels, lengthened fuselage and larger tail, the Super DC-3 is more than 60 percent a new plane, according to Donald Douglas. But he has resisted efforts to give the ship any of the entirely new names that have been suggested.

Douglas has spent about $3 million in tooling and development of the Super DC-3. The company is prepared to turn out about 10 of these planes a month.